Undertow asks ‘is social media (or all media) ageist?’

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AUCKLAND, Today: One of New Zealand’s top independent PR agencies is noticing trends in briefs that favour Gen Z or Millennials, but are swiping left on Gen X and Boomers.

Undertow Media MD Greer Bland says ignoring these cashed up demographics is bad for business.

“Are these groups ignored because campaigns are largely charged to less experienced staff who (naturally) focus on what they know and are not looking at the right data to make the right calls?” she asks.

“Are the briefs from the clients missing a trick on their target market, and those implementing (us) are in turn kowtowing to them rather than challenging them?

“Or is it because there is an age problem in agencies themselves?”

Greer says for those not looking at the right data points, it’s easy to forget about a large, powerful and very wealthy audience sitting “right in front of you” who also live largely online these days.

“It’s easy to forget about a large, powerful and very wealthy audience sitting “right in front of you.”

“Data from Sprout Social shows Gen X is the second leading generation on social after Gen Z. Ninety percent of Gen X use social, often daily.

“While Instagram and Facebook are still preferred, Gen X already represents almost a third of TikTok’s base…yet only accounts for 5% of brand spend on the platform.

“The issue is not that Xers and Boomers aren’t on social, it’s simply that the same rules and standards do not apply around their use of it.

“They’re not out there liking every post that pops up, they’re not spending every waking hour online, they’re not resharing (on purpose, anyway) your shitty competition to Story. But they are digesting, saving, commenting and screenshotting to add to their intention bank.

“Agency Liquorice, who represent a broad roster of social talent, has eye-opening conversations with its Gen X faces and sees legitimate back-end data of them having daily, in-depth and very specific one to ones with followers on everything from shapewear to steam cleaners that in turn create life-long customers for those brands.

“Going against the grain is often the best strategy for cutting through.”

“So if you’re in charge of the company credit card but need some proof points, here’s a few reasons you can copy and paste into your next deck on why ignoring the 40-plus crowd is potentially missing your clients a large commercial opportunity …

  1. “They are loyal: A study on Gen X released by Wavemaker last month shows that Gen X is less promiscuous than other generations. Their purchases are driven by need, and once they’ve aligned to a brand they are more sticky.  This means that longer term relationships with creators would work better for this crowd, rather than flash in the pan projects. The same flies for Boomers. Think about your own parents, they’re largely stuck in their ways and that means big money for the brands they spend their bank with.
  2. They have higher disposable incomes: Boomers are the wealthiest generation of all time, and are set to transfer their wealth (all $70 trillion of it) to Gen X too. Both have reached their peak earning potential more recently compared to other generations.
  3. Empty nests lead to more free time: Not content on just buying stuff, they’re after and have the time for rich experiences too. Gen X is a ‘sandwich generation’ because they’re looking after both their aging parents and often kids. However, as their children leave the house and their wealth increases, they now have extra income and more time. They are looking for experiences that can fill this new-found space. Brands must highlight this moment and offer experiences and lifestyle that are relevant to their current stage of life.
  4. They are active on social media but engage differently: Older generations use social media to keep up with other people, search for information and services, read reviews, solicit advice and do away with the fake and forced. They use platforms to support the different IRL roles – friend, parent, colleague, mentor and many more. The information, content, advice and support on offer in social media acts as a kind of facilitator for these roles. Brands will need to operate in this environment. Briefs from brands that lean into the self-improvement style that matches the need set of Gen Xers and Boomers with softer, more in depth content will connect, in stark contrast to the snackable, direct, salesy tone favoured by Gen Z.
  5. “Your competitors may be shortsighted, focussing limited marketing funds on expanding customer base and increasing the sales funnel. There is strength in the Undertow…

“Going against the grain is often the best strategy for cutting through.”

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