Aspects of Sales & Marketing

How To Connect With Baby Boomer Women

A 55 year old woman is not just an older version of her 25 year old self

By Jim Gilmartin

Mr. Gilmartin is one of America’s foremost experts on advertising, marketing and selling to Baby Boomer and senior customers. In 1991, he established Chicago based Coming of Age, The Baby Boomer & Senior Marketing Agency, focused upon helping clients capture and keep baby boomer and senior customers. Reprinted with permission. Visit

Part I of a 2-part series

In a recent Marketing Daily commentary, “Advertising’s Gender Problem: Some Brands Are Starting To Get It”, author Jean Freeman writes, “But here is another sad reality about advertising today: Women control an estimated 85% of purchasing decisions in this country, yet over 91% of them feel like advertisers don’t understand them.

Recently, the objectification of women in advertising reached a critical mass with the launch of the #WomenNotObjects movement. ‘Women’ have become the latest buzzword in the ad world, with more focus on the problems and not on the positive examples or solutions.”

As overall consumer demand shrinks and companies look for new segments of growth, the Baby Boomer woman consumer represents a significant opportunity now and in the long term. But, marketing to women doesn’t mean think “pink.” It means you have to understand who they are and that a 55-year-old woman is not simply a 30-year-older version of her 25-year-old self.

Going beyond ‘think pink’

Getting Baby Boomer women to join your brand is not one single step.

There is no magic bullet. It’s a systematic rethinking of how you present your plan to women, consisting of dozens of subtle shifts and fine alterations. Boomer women want you to speak to their heads and to their hearts. And, if you’re successful, women will deliver more profit to you through being loyal and making more referrals.

They want you to understand them. To recognize their needs, values and dreams. They don’t want to do business with a person that condescends to them. They don’t want to be inconvenienced, made to wait, argue or defend themselves. Moreover, women are three times more likely than men to recommend brands when they know friends are looking for a particular product or service. Although men’s brains are wired differently, if you meet the needs of women you’ll most likely meet the demands of men. But not the other way around.

In the book Vibrant Nation: What Boomer Women 50+ Know, Think, Do & Buy by Stephen Reily and Carol Orsborn, the authors say, “…being a Vibrant Woman is entirely different from the lifestages that come before and after.”

About authenticity, life-stages & accurate messaging

Based upon their research, Reily and Orsborn also discuss marketing insights anecdotally summarized here:

  1. If she feels your authenticity, that you have really listened to her and you genuinely care, she will reward you.
  2. They love products that make them feel more creative and help them connect to their friends and family.
  3. If you are looking for better-educated women with more discretionary income, you will find her online. She is not just a passive observer; she is quickly adopting the internet usage patterns of younger generations and posting content herself.
  4. She is free to choose the “best of” from all stages of her life, as well as incorporating new products, services and behaviors.
  5. Marketers in search of aspirational messaging are advised to look higher up Maslow’s pyramid toward new levels of simplicity and altruism and away from icons drawn from the assumption that she spends money only to gain the approval of others.
    As overall consumer demand shrinks and companies look for new segments of growth, the Baby Boomer woman consumer represents a significant opportunity now and in the long term
  6. Boomer women are more than six times as likely to make purchase decisions based upon their personal values.
  7. Perceptive marketers recognize that the Boomer woman knows she has entered and is transiting through a new lifestage and will reward them for recognizing her special needs and interests.
  8. Market to her through women like her. Keep in mind that women want to know that the person offering advice or inspiration is someone from both the gender and lifestage that has personally advanced through the same lifestages and transitions.
  9. She doesn’t aspire to be ignored. They don’t like ads that never feature women 50+.
  10. Show her respect by providing her the facts. A product example is Olay anti-aging products. Olay used an abundance of useful information and straightforward facts about their products with extensive reviews and ratings from other women rather than clever imagery.

Knowledge = Success

Knowledge gives you the confidence to create successful marketing and sales communications approaches:

  • Understand better who Boomer women are and why they are worthwhile customers
  • Understand the why of selling differently to women
  • Understand what actionable tactics are available
  • Challenge your thinking to blast you out of the cave
  • Realize that different is not dumb

Additional tips and insights can be found on our What We’ve Learned page.

Contact Coming of Age for more information about connecting with the Baby Boomer and 50-plus audiences.