If you ask Brent Green who he is, he knows the answer. “I’m an impassioned individual committed to the development of a more egalitarian society that extends to treatment of the generations.”
Amen. He’s also a recognized baby boomer marketing expert, a speaker and author, and host of a superbly researched and produced online radio show about all things boomer-relevant.
Growing Up Boomer
Oh, and a quiet word to the wise: Don’t mess with (“denounce”) us boomers or you’ll hear from Green, an eloquent Denver, Col. resident whose focus remains the broad social and cultural aspects of the “boomer phenomenon.” Green spoke and wrote volumes about boomers before most of us knew that’s what we were growing up to be!
His mission, he says, is thought leadership and commitment to our demographic. He’s even written two books about us: Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers and Generation Reinvention.
“We don’t have a Gloria Steinem of aging, no Martin Luther King—and maybe we won’t, given the nature and diversity of our voices. We need a collective will to change the future of aging, to be part of this conversation and do something about it.”
So how do companies view us as potential targets for their products? Green first distinguishes between three classic marketing genres within the context of aging and boomers:
- ageless marketing: Rather than being based on age, this approach focuses on values and desires, in an intergenerational way, across generational divides.
- life stage marketing: As an empty nester, your kids are gone, and you have new freedoms and time to explore the world, to do things that really matter and redefine what’s important. Contemplate your own “generational age.”
- generational marketing: Underlying drives or motivators are associated with different generations, and marketers know generation members share those: political, cultural, technological, etc.
The latter category, generational, commands Green’s focus and here’s why:
- Generational values tend to be shared widely and collectively, especially during times of great turmoil, he says. “Boomers have a propensity for a strong sense of generational identification, even though we’re so diverse.”
- Generational messages in advertising can reach to the deepest parts of emotional processing. Emotion sells like nothing else can.
- Generational branding feels more authentic and real and reflects who we are. Don’t think of brands and products, but as personalities conveying the relationship each human has with another.
“Generational marketing can create and elevate, and propel personality,” he says. To learn more quickly about Green’s take on generational marketing, read this. He says a couple of things make our generation different—really.
“We were a huge cohort, representing 40 percent of the U. S.population under the age of 25 in the 60s…all coming of age. There were only three TV networks: Can you imagine that now? We underwent a critical formative period between age 12 and early adulthood, when peer groups took over from our parents and our generational personality was formed.”
Green’s generational personality is infectious: No wonder so many companies, lusting after the boomer market, are going “Green.”