What Marketers Need to Know About Women Over 50

We're like teenagers with money

Think about it. Our hormones are changing. We have a growing sense of independence. And we're hungry for new adventures, new relationships, and a redefined sense of self. 

Honestly, all we want to do is focus on ourselves now. 

Advertisers need to understand that midlife is a second adolescence. Only this time with money, time and opportunity.

There's even a name for it. It's called Middlescence. 

It's defined as a transitional period, between ages 45 and 65, that is one of the richest, most potential-filled times of life. 

"Many of us have heard statistics that we are living longer, but have assumed that we have added those additional years at the end of life, when we're 'old'," notes Barbara Waxman, author of the Middlescence Manifesto. 

But adult development doesn't stop at midlife. We're not slowing down; we're just getting started. Even at age 65, most women, who outlive men on average by five years, still have 40 percent of our lives ahead of us. 

Now consider that women over 50, dubbed "super consumers" by Forbes, hold $15 trillion in spending power. We control 95 percent of the household purchasing decisions and 80 percent of luxury travel purchases for our partners, parents and even our grown children. 

And not only are we buying for our millennials, we're buying millennial stuff for ourselves. We spend 250 percent more on the same merch—iPhones, Ubers, sneakers, hoodies, and whose Netflix subscription do you think they're using anyway?

As a group, we're more educated, healthier, active and purpose-driven than ever. Women ages 40-59 make up 62 percent of female business owners.

More and more, we're working with dynamic female founders who are set on changing the narrative about age for their second act. 

Our client Jill Angelo, the 48-year-old founder and CEO of Gennev, the first telehealth clinic for women in menopause, started her company after a long career as chief of staff at Microsoft. In 2020, she was named to Inc. Magazine's Top 100 Female Founders for taking the shame out of menopause. 

So when Gennev came to us to create a stigma-smashing video campaign, we couldn't wait to take out our sledgehammers. And show women of all ages what menopause really looks like. 

We showcased real women in every stage from perimenopause to post-menopause to tell their stories. The good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly. The confident, the candid, and the confessional. 

Most of all, our target recognized themselves in it. Because everyone involved on the agency and client side had lived it or was in the midst of it. 

In the process, we helped launch a movement, #IAmtheChange, that in Gennev's words, "is taking off like wildfire." 

I could never have guessed that one of my proudest moments after decades as a big-agency creative would be a rousing menopause anthem.

Maybe the new youth market brands should be chasing is women over 50? 

Or, as the trending hashtag on Instagram calls us, #Queenagers.

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Susan Lee Colby
Susan Lee Colby is co-founder and co-CCO of Grace Creative LA, dedicated to activating the spending power of women over 50.

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