The end of lifestage marketing?

Lena Roland

Marketers have a stereotypical view of consumers over 55 years of age, a view that is often unrepresentative and patronising. That was the overriding message presented at Life Less Linear, an event organised by RAPP, the UK full-service agency, and held in central London in July 2014.

"Lifestages are changing," said Paul Philips, head of media strategy at RAPP, "and having a pre-packaged set of expectations and behaviours is provocative". While age is a useful indicator of lifestyles, preferences and choices, it is not the only measure and marketers need to rethink their lifestage marketing strategies.

A study conducted by RAPP and the Future Foundation, the consumer insights company, revealed the over-50s, often referred to as Baby Boomers and defined as those aged between 55 and 64, are not one homogenous group and perhaps surprisingly they have similar attitudes, expectations and motivations as the younger "Generation Y" cohort – defined as those aged 18-34 years old. As Philips, put it, the over 50s "are not reaching for the pipe and slippers just yet".