California State University, Fullerton

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Students Focus on Marketing to Boomer Generation

May 1, 2013

This spring, marketing and gerontology graduate students are exploring the Boomer Generation as part of a new "Consumer Marketing" course developed to give students an inside look into so-called Boomers and how to reach them as a consumer group.

"Consumers aged 50+ comprise the largest demographic in history and will for the next 50 years," said Susan Cadwallader, associate professor of marketing. "These consumers have $2.4 trillion in annual income and spend $2 trillion on goods and services each year — $7 billion of it online."

In addition to learning about this consumer age group, students are working on what Cadwallader calls a "Consumer-Centric Collaborative Student Project," a multi-discipline, semester-long learning experience in which student work with business professionals, gather information from nonprofit and government data sources and tap into the expertise of campus individuals who study the aging process.

"For example, Melanie Horn Mallers, assistant professor of human services, conducted a workshop on the biological, psychological and social aspects of aging for the students and will continue to advise them as needed," she said. "The groups also recruited members from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on campus to contribute first-hand, consumer-centric perspectives on wellness, leisure, fashion and housing: topics deemed key to Boomers."

At the conclusion of the semester, each group will produce:

  • an industry-specific strategic marketing white paper published and available on the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics website and promoted via public relations efforts
  • a press release announcing the availability of these publications
  • a presentation to those people who advised the students and other interested parties.

"This project represents for me a completely new means of instilling deep learning," notes Cadwallader, who received a Mihaylo College of Business and Economics curriculum innovation grant to development the course. "The course offers students an immersive learning experience resulting in an appreciation of the needs of this fast-growing and currently least understood consumer market, as well as connections with businesses, associations, nonprofit and government agencies serving the needs of these consumers."

By: Pamela McLaren, 657-278-4852

Tags:  Academics & ResearchCommunity