Live from List Vision: Catch Customers While You Can

New York—As a group, baby boomers will soon be requiring more services than products. “People over 50 have most of what they want,” declared Peter Francese, founder of “American Demographics” magazine, during a presentation at the Direct Marketing Association’s List Vision conference here on Aug. 12. To that end, he advised finding those consumers, approaching them with appropriate offers, and selling to them before it’s too late.

More than 80% of all household growth from now until 2008 will be in the 50-plus age range, said Francese, demographic trends analyst for New York-based ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. “This means declining residential mobility, but an increasingly mobile society”—making consumers harder to reach.

The 2000 census was the first to show that more than 50% of consumers work in offices, Francese pointed out. So consumer marketers, along with business-to-business mailers, may want to consider mailing catalogs to people at their workplaces. Besides, Francese noted, “more of them are browsing on the Web and buying from their place of work.”

Francese said that today’s consumers are ripe for direct offers. “They are sending a mixed message: Leave me alone, but send your catalog if it has what I want,” he said. “And if it does, I will respond.” At the same time, however, catalogers should be more sensitive to consumers’ need for privacy. “They’re a little angry,” he said, “because their privacy has been violated, their identities have been stolen, they’re being spammed. So they want their privacy and time respected.”

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