One of the most startling demographic shifts in human history is under way, and marketers — completely obsessed with millennials — are paying no attention to it.In just 100 years, the shift in global population from young to old has been astonishing.In the mid 1950’s there were about 3 times as many people under 5 as over 65. By 2050 there will be twice as many people over 65 as there will be under 5.The chart below comes from U.N. data via Business Insider.
The marketing implications of this are a little too esoteric for a dumbass blogger to decipher. But one thing is for sure. Marketers who don’t wake up soon and figure out how to sell stuff to people over 50 — “the most valuable generation in the history of marketing” (Nielsen) – are going to be in deep doo-doo.
The idiotic 30-years-out-of-date legends about mature people (they don’t spend much; they want to be like young people; they won’t change brands; they’re dying off) are already costing marketers zillions.
A friend wrote to me recently about a client of his who wants to target 50-year-old women and thinks they’re grey-haired grannies sitting in rocking chairs knitting. Here’s what I wrote to him:
“50-year-old women are pot-head, rock blasting, sex fiends…
As a matter of fact, 65-year-old-women grew up with the Rolling Stones, smoke weed and watch porn. They ain’t grandma anymore.”
The inhabitants of the marketing industry are astoundingly out of touch with anyone not like them.
As I have said many times: Our industry’s obsession with millennials is nothing but narcissism disguised as strategy. It is marketing by selfie-stick.