On my 45th birthday, I want to know if I am a baby boomer

Am I a baby boomer or not? Today is my 45th birthday, creating a rather unique marketer’s quandary. Researchers differ in how they consider those born in 1965. Some consider them baby boomers, the last of the group whose members started being born in 1950. Others draw the close of the baby boomer wave at the end of 1964.

birthday cake with candles litThe distinction is important, at least to advertising and small business marketing consultants, because so much of the demographic data segments baby boomers. Failing to know or understand who is included could lead to faulty assumptions and results.

This much is clear. With the restoration of peace after World War II, a flood of babies were born. Those babies who grew up to have greater spending power and different shopping motivations than their parents, most of whom were heavily influenced by the Great Depression. Advertising executives coined the phrase “baby boomer,” the products of the baby boom, in 1974, after witnessing this shift.

While the distinction may seem minor, it could affect small business marketing consultants like me because we often talk about baby boomers, despite the confusing definition. Baby boomers spend more than their parents, are far more active in their retirement years and, if the financial markets recover, could end up leaving a great deal of money to their children, members of the Generation X.

If it were up to me, the baby boomers would be anyone who truly can remember John F. Kennedy as president, Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall and the Beatles appearing in Shea Stadium. I wasn’t alive for any of those events – nor, because my memory no longer serves as well as it used to, a number of events that occurred since 1965.

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