If marketing is the art of identifying and then enticing the most enviable customers for your product, it is looking increasingly like for all sorts of products the most enviable customer are people born before some year whose third digit is at least a 6, if not a 5. The middle-aged and up, in other words, might be whom you should increasingly be focusing your marketing dollars and effort on.
Such, anyway, was the conclusion of this New York Times article, which reports that the famed 18-to-49 demographic is giving way to the 50-and-over one. There are two main reasons. One: the recession has put extra pressure on the indebted to cut spending, and people who have been around (or, more precisely, who have been independent adults longer) are more likely to have paid off student loans and mortgages--they have, as one person in the article put it, "assets, not allowances". Two: there are simply a ton of 50-and-overs right now historically as compared with younger generations. For this, as for so much else, you can thank the Baby Boomers.
In fact, the younger edge of this older demographic--which is to say, the Boomers--appear to represent something of a marketing sweet-spot. They have the wealth and clean balance sheets of...less-extremely-young folks*, but the inclinations, hipness, and even tech-savvy of those 18-to-49ers. As one ad man put it, “I’m old enough to have experienced TV without remote controls, cable and commercial clutter, but my mindset and consumption patterns are very different from my parents’ at the same age.” (We'd say this is about as prototypical--some might say cliched--a Boomer statement as you can find.)
So what does this mean for you? It means that even if you sell a product that would traditionally be thought of a young person's game, it might be worth taking a look at those slightly more advanced than your typical consumer--or at your typical consumer's parents--in crafting your marketing strategy.
*We're trying to be nice with the age-related language, as some of us have parents who are in this demographic (at the much younger edge of it, to be sure!).