WAY back when I wanted to buy a laptop for myself, I decided to buy an Apple model. Much of that decision was based on the fact that the Apple computer was far more ergonomic and easier to manoeuvre than other brands.

Then, when my mother got one after she saw mine, she was surprised at the ease with which she could navigate Apple's user interface. When she'd get confused by a problem, she'd just surf onto Google and find out what she needed.

Her church friends - and of course, us children - thought she was extremely savvy and decided to nickname her 'iPat' before iPads even came out.

Product marketing, as opposed to niche marketing, is precisely the approach companies should take, says Mr Kim Walker. The 56-year-old chief executive of the Silver Group has held various positions in Asia-Pacific marketing and media companies.

It occurred to him one day that companies that invest in too 'niche' a market are, by definition, cutting themselves out of that larger majority market.

What made him sit up and take notice was the World Population Ageing report issued by the United Nations. It had said: 'Population ageing is unprecedented, without parallel in human history.'

As a marketing consultant, it was a statement that had him flummoxed. If it were true, shouldn't companies be widening their catchment net to include the older baby boomers, and not just concentrate on Generation Y?

So he's been studying marketing and its effects on baby boomers - quite the opposite from the approach of most marketers, who invest a lot in reaching out to Generation Y though viral marketing.

However, a small number of companies have no difficulty appealing to the elderly, and direct their efforts at reaching the young instead.

For example, Brand's Essence of Chicken recently launched an advertising campaign geared towards engaging youth. Its brand, admits Ms Geetha Balakrishna, the general manager of Cerebos Pacific, which owns the brand, tends to be skewed towards older folk.

After getting submissions for a 30-second television commercial, it finally decided on a campaign that tested people's mental alertness. Apart from the usual posters at bus stops or in retail spaces, the outreach effort set out to engage the younger generation - including the setting up of a Facebook page that allows users to play a game to test their mental alertness. It also got the help of 60 local bloggers to take its whole campaign to the digital space.

Said Ms Balakrishna: 'Through these efforts, we hope the next generation grows up with us the way their parents have.'

According to Mr Walker, however, segmenting customers into demographics might not be the best method.

He explained: 'Investing in shares of companies that boast 'age-friendly' business lines may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make money from this booming opportunity.'

According to his research, the number of people in Asia above 60 years of age is expected to be 1.2 billion by 2050. They will control 80 per cent of personal financial assets and more than 50 per cent of discretionary spending power. In fact, they will be responsible for more than half of all consumer spending, and it is said they will amass an estimated wealth of $11 trillion in the Asia-Pacific alone.

Bringing home the concept of 'age-friendly' businesses to Singapore, he identified Osim. Said Mr Walker: 'Its massage chairs were naturally geared to the more mature crowd, but it has gone out of its way to project its 'ageless' culture. Anyone can use its chairs.'

SMRT Corp is another 'age-friendly' company. He pointed out that some train stations have benches with arms at the side to help the elderly stand or sit easily.

'It's these little things that make the customer experience friendly for older customers.'

The reason it is important to be 'age-friendly', Mr Walker said, is that the baby boomers of today are going to be around for quite a while. Ignoring this universal phenomenon would be a big mistake on the part of companies, as the current members of Generation X get older, while Generation Y numbers start to fall.

'This is so important, not just in Asia but across the globe. Currently, in the United States, for example, there are more people over 65 than people under 20. The problem is very few companies are aware of this,' he said.

Returning to Apple as an 'age-friendly' company, he said the clarity of its website, the clean design of its stores and advertising that focuses on the product, and not a person, all goes towards an 'age-friendly' environment.

Going through his wishlist, he added: 'All it needs is a few older sales people and maybe some chairs for the older people to rest.'