First, few people know the definition of pre-boomers. It is those of us born between 1930 and 1945, from the beginning of the Great Depression through the end of World War II. Second, no one seems to know how many pre-boomers there are. The latest estimate is more than 30 million, which is three times more than the rest of those over 65. And last, what’s unique about the pre-boomers? As a sandwich generation, we are the bridge between the so-called Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers.
We do not remember the pain of the depression, but most of us have vivid memories of WWII and the years immediately following it. For the most part, we were too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam. We did not march in the streets for civil rights, women’s rights or to protest any wars. What we did was grow up believing America was the greatest land on earth and believed in the opportunities it offered those of us who worked hard to get ahead. So we were the driving force behind what ultimately became the longest period of peace time prosperity in the nation’s history. Oh, and don’t forget, we invented rock and rock too.
Our elders (parents, teachers and the community) taught us to be patriots, believe in one another, and believe in ourselves. We still cherish these lessons and practice them to the best of our abilities. It was the pre-boomer who taught the boomers, but some place along the line they didn’t latch on to the American values the way we did. The “me generation” became the symbol of status and the generation of “more.” This pleased the marketers of goods and services, and as the boomers came of age there was a huge group of consumers’ eager to buy what others were selling. I know, because I was one of the admen who targeted the baby boomers and later wrote a book about marketing to them, “The 50+ Boomer: Your Key to 76 Million Consumers.”
After retiring a few years back, I continued to research and write about marketing issues. In so doing, I realized how people under-valued my generation. Marketers, advertisers, the media, you name it; they simply forgot about the pre-boomers. A quick search of Web sites or online articles shows few are directed at my peers. Yes, there are people writing to “seniors” about investments, real estate, retirement planning, and insurance; but there’s not much in the way of current events or nostalgic interests specifically for pre-boomers. In fact, most people use pre-boomer and boomer as interchangeable terms — not all but enough to indicate they don’t have an understanding of the audience they’re trying to reach.
So I decided to start a blog to reach out to my generation with thoughts, comments and opinions. My hope is to spark thinking, foster discussion and stimulate debate on a variety of topics including the nostalgia of our times. Pre-bommermusings.com has been live for a few months. The reception has been heartwarming, but I’m looking to get more of us involved with more dialogue on more issues.