Tapping into the potential of GenerationYNot
A view from Nicola Clark

Tapping into the potential of GenerationYNot

Older women rarely feature in advertising despite their phenomenal purchasing power. It's high time brands got to grips with 'GenerationYNot', writes Nicola Clark.

Ladies who lunch at L'Assiette Champenoise, a gourmet restaurant in the heart of France's Champagne region, may struggle to pay the bill. A friend who recently took a team of buyers to lunch there found that her menu, unlike those of her male guests, had no prices on it. It appears the restaurant does not expect the fairer sex to pick up the tab, even if one of their number is the host.

L'Assiette Champenoise is unlikely to be the last organisation to underestimate the considerable purchasing power of women. However, if publishing powerhouse IPC has anything to do with it, such mistakes will not go unnoticed from now on.

Last week it unveiled the results of its 'GenerationYNot!' research, a major study focused on open and optimistic women between the ages of 40 and 60. According to the research, this demographic includes 8.5m UK women (one third of the country's female population) and is an affluent and connected group, with a modern outlook.

These women spent an estimated total of £92m on the UK high street last year, yet still appear to be ignored by many organisations. Smart brands are following the example of Andy Fennell, chief marketing officer at Diageo, who says that targeting 18- to 34-year-olds is 'so outdated; marketers need to understand consumers over 35'.

You do not need an economics degree to be aware that many young people simply don't have much money. From student debts to the fear that comes with a place at the bottom of the property ladder, there are several reasons why marketers' fixation with Generation Y doesn't always make financial sense.

The beauty industry has been selling 'hope in a jar' to women of all ages for decades, but the fact remains that older women are often absent from mainstream advertising. To echo the motto of the recent documentary Miss Representation, 'you can't be what you can't see'. Brands that ignore these consumers will be left to foot the bill.

Nicola Clark is Marketing's head of features. Follow her on Twitter: @nickykc.


What marketers need to know about 'GenerationYNot!'

1. They are positive

Members of GenerationYNot! (GYN) are four times happier than women aged under 40. 'GYN women are more open, optimistic and alive to the possibilities ahead of them - more so than ever before,' says Sylvia Auton, chief executive of IPC Media.

2. They are influencers

GYN women are key drivers of word-of-mouth marketing; 74% provide family and friends with advice on brands and new products; 75% use Facebook to better connect with friends and family.

3. GYN feels healthy

Women in this demographic are 80% more likely than the under-40s to feel healthier. Three out of every five women who go to the gym are part of GYN.

4. GYN has spending power

GYN not only has an appetite for spending; it has the finances to act on it. Half of GYN women are the chief earner in their households and 90% earn more than £40,000 a year. As businesswoman and West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady says: 'You tend to feel that when you get to a certain age you don't matter, when in fact you have the disposable income to do things.'