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Hispanic Boomers: A Missed Opportunity?

May 24, 2012

– By Angela Rodriguez | Director of Strategic Insights –

We at Alma, recently participated in an AARP/AAF Panel on Boomers and Millennials and it got us thinking, given all the attention lavished on younger segments across ethnicities, but especially among Hispanics given that they tend to be so much younger overall, are Hispanic Boomers being overlooked? And if so, what are the unique challenges facing a marketer who wants to target them?

Boomers are becoming increasingly attractive to marketers across many categories. They are a generation with many uniting traits including a sense of rebelliousness and the rejection of many “traditional” norms. They are redefining aging just as they redefined the moral framework of equality in this country with the civil rights movement that they championed in their youth.

As they enter retirement or in many cases semi-retirement, marketers have found that this cohort isn’t moving away from the consumption mentality that has shaped their lives. They are spending more than ever in many categories, from the obvious like healthcare and financial services, to the less obvious like toys for grandchildren and novel experiences.

But what about Hispanics, where do they fit into this evolving group? Sure, there are similarities like the need for more focused healthcare but there are many differences; especially in their worldview, what drives them and how they view their place in the world.

The defining ideals of Boomers are driven by a shared history, and that is one that Hispanics of the same age don’t share. They did not grow up in America in a time of increasing affluence, practically guaranteed jobs for all, and of youth participating in the social movement that Hispanics now benefit from.

During those same years they were growing up in countries where the economies and political systems were unstable and they were the original pioneers who came to America searching for more. More opportunity, more stability and a system they could believe in.  This alone, is reason enough for a nuanced approach when targeting Hispanic boomers as messaging celebrating the ideals of independence and counter-culturalism… or the idea of holding on to a sense of self that includes those ideals won’t resonate.

Marketers must also consider that Hispanics approach retirement differently. From the financial perspective, they count on their children to be there for them in a much more active way than non-Hispanics do… and their children deliver. Multi-generational families are the norm and seniors caring for grandchildren and contributing to the household to a degree are common.

But that’s not the only difference. Hispanic seniors don’t typically approach their golden years with the goal to reinvent themselves and try new things and face new goals. They want to enjoy the time they have with their family and loved ones and relax from their years of hard, and in many cases, physical work. They want to focus on staying healthy and active, but even there differences abound since Hispanics approach to healthcare isn’t about prevention but avoidance. In an interview, an older Hispanic gentleman summed the mindset up: “Why would I go to the doctor? He’d only find something and say I am sick.” So even in a category which seems universal, nuance again, is required.

These are only a few examples. But it seems clear to us, that there is plenty of room for a savvy marketer to speak to the approximately 7 Million Hispanic Boomers in a targeted and resonant way.

Angela –

– Footage shot at AARP headquarters in Washington, D.C. and simulcast to satellite locations in Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. –

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