Generation Revelation

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A recent Nielsen study offered recommendations to marketers on how to reach and appeal to the generations:

  • Greatest Generation: “Stores should offer better signage, more forgiving package design…”
  • Boomers: “Pursue the upsell into prescription medication…”
  • Gen X: “Time is a precious commodity for these busy young families, so reduce deadline pressure by offering…little indulgences like lattes to make shopping less onerous.”
  • Millenials: “Consider upgrading piped-in music in stores to current hits to attract contemporary shoppers…”

Hmmm. I didn’t know that stores had control over package design. And I thought that everyone already offered prescription medication to Boomers (I get my prescription meds from some dude at the local Jiffy Lube. Oh wait, never mind, those aren’t prescription meds). And I’m sure that upgrading piped-in music will get Gen Yers flocking to Sears.

But the recommendation that put me over the edge was this one:

Marketers seeking to promote products and services to the “Baby Boom” generation would do well to remember that Boomers are still vital and evolving even as they approach retirement age.”

Spare me. Baby Boomers range in age from about 47 to 65. In other words, they’ve been adults for the past 30 to 45 years.

What the hell have marketers been doing all that time? Why are so many marketers waking up in 2010 trying to figure out how to appeal to a generation that has been “evolving” for the past 30 to 45 years?

The lunacy of these proclamations and recommendations is their insinuation that they’re revelations, revealing to us the heretofore unknown mysteries of the generations.

You know those “deadline pressures” the Gen Xers face? They’re the same pressures Boomers faced 10-20 years ago when Boomers were Gen Xers’ age.  The “vitality” of Boomers? My parents and their friends — of decidedly Greatest Generation age — play tennis and golf, and travel domestically and internationally, constantly. The Boomers didn’t invent the “vital” retirement.

Guess what’s going to happen in 10 years. Today’s Gen Yers are going to be 10 years older, have kids, have jobs, vote Republican (you’ll see) and will face — yep, you got it — the pressure of deadlines as they cope with their busy little families.

And you know what else is going to happen in ten years? Some newly-minted marketing expert is going to discover that Gen Z craves instant gratification and wants to recharge their jet pack at the latte bar.

And in 25 years, we will have hit the end of the alphabet and we won’t be able to figure out what to call the new emerging generation. Thankfully.

[NOTE: I was kidding about Jiffy Lube. They’re a very reputable organization, and there’s no one at my local JL doing anything illegal. Well, not to my knowledge, anyway. It was a joke. Please don’t sue me, Jiffy Lube. Feel free to send me coupons, though — I hear Boomers love online coupons.]

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