Marketing to Baby Boomers Busted at FCS Education Summit

More than 100 marketing, communications and media professionals gathered on the 30th Floor of the Reuters building on April 11th for a full morning of discussion around Baby Boomers. Attracted by the spectacular view overlooking Times Square and engaged by the visions shared by the presenters and panelists, the audience was the largest ever for the annual FCS Executive Education Summit.

With the theme, Baby Boomer… Or Bust: How to Market to and Influence the 50+ Consumer, the Summit staged four hours of presentations and panel discussions along with compelling Q&A with the attendees.

The agenda kicked off with a keynote talk by Brent Bouchez, industry veteran and co-founder of Five 0, a strategic communications agency created specifically to help client firms reach, understand and influence the Baby Boomer generation, a demographic that earns more than $2.7 trillion annually.

Titling his presentation, “Framing The Issue, Why The 50+ Target Counts,” Bouchez shared numerous eye-opening stats with the FCS members and guests, including:

He went on to highlight other anomalies between the perception of “the older generation” and reality. For example, there’s the perception that “age breeds financial conservatism,” when in fact 50+ investors have helped define new product categories in financial services. He also pointed out the fallacy that “older people don’t try new brands” – yet it is the Boomer generation which grew up with brand experimentation and proliferation. Bouchez continued to punch holes in the false beliefs that “the golden years are for rest and relaxation” (is anyone in their 50’s really ready to retire?), and that “over 50 isn’t cool because we live in a youth-driven culture” (he cited countless 50+ celebrities who remain leading influencers across the arts).

Bouchez made two major points that drove home the challenges for financial services – and all industries – in reaching the 50+ consumer.

  1. 1 While a Baby Boomer claims to feel 10 years younger, it doesn’t mean he or she thinks like a 40 year old.
  2. 2 The world has changed – along with age perceptions of the 50+ consumer… BUT, marketing has not changed in step.

The first panel of the day discussed “Best Practices in Marketing Financial Services to 50+ Consumers.” The stellar line-up included:

Here are a few highlights:

The second presenter of the Summit was Dr. Joseph Coughlin, Director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of the on-line publication Disruptive Demographics. Through his work, Coughlin seeks to understand how demographic change, social trends and technology converge to drive future innovations in business and government. His presentation was called “Retiring Retirement & Crafting a New Story of Financial Services & Longevity.” Among the findings that Dr. Coughlin shared with the audience was that a person’s well-being was at its lowest during the period of age 37 through 57.

He used numerous factoids to help paint the profile of the Baby Boomers – a study in contrasts from popular perception and expectation. One example was that the fastest growing segment on the Internet is women aged 45 and above.

Coughlin also spoke to the notion that Boomers are not looking for retirement to be a period of idleness. He noted that the most popular retirement communities in the U.S. have been created in established “college towns” or near colleges – because “Baby Boomers want activity, they want intellectual stimulation.”

The second panel at the Summit spoke to the topic “Using Digital to Reach the 50+ Financial Services User.” The line-up of executives included:

Here's a roundup of their comments:

Lou Rubin returned to the stage to wrap up the Summit, providing his observations and a synthesis of the many excellent lessons shared throughout the event by the speakers and panelists, as well as the audience.

This year’s Summit was generously sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, and hosted by Reuters.

About the Financial Communications Society (FCS):

The Financial Communications Society (FCS), a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to improving professional standards in financial communications. It provides professionals in the industry with a forum for gathering relevant information, sharing ideas and building relationships with industry colleagues. The FCS hosts the annual FCS Portfolio Awards, for creative excellence in financial services advertising, a monthly luncheon series featuring prominent industry speakers, and numerous educational events. The capstone of the annual charity-focused activities organized by the FCS is the FCS Race for Kids ( which has raised more than $1.85 million for three children's charities since 2000.

For more information on the FCS, please visit: or send an email to

Press Contact:

Kevin Windorf