The Power of Gray Hair

Why marketers ignore aging consumers?

It looks like they are always targeting the young and hip and the young families, even though these segment is a rich vein.

The 50 plus generation is responsible for 40 percent of retail spending in the U.S. and Western Europe.

This is a huge opportunity that many marketers do not explore because many still believe that older consumers are stuck in their behavior and are brand loyal. They can’t see the other side of these myths.

Even though they know that this group has money to spend, they don’t take into consideration the longevity of this spending. A person that is 50 today has at least 30 years of good life ahead. When asked the lifetime value of a customer, you need to consider their different phases. Their children are grown, inheritances were collected and they have reached professional maturity. This makes an audience ready and prepared to explore more brands, products and services that will make them live better.

One reason this happens is because marketers are not prepare to offer campaigns that are unique to this audience. Let’s face it, most companies let the young marketers lead and don’t have mature, experienced professionals that would be able to target this demographic. The dialogue here is totally different from other younger generations.

Very few brands make a different effort, like L’oreal, Porsche Carrera and Fidelity investment.

Let’s take a look on some needs of this audience:

They need products that help them stay engaged. From anti-wrinkle creams to easy to make meals for two, vacations packets and lighter tools. Products with good quality but simple to use. This generation is always willing to pay a little more for things that will improve the planet for future generations.
Communication should be customized. For example, changes in eyesight call for easy to read fonts as well as bigger fonts and high contrast colors. Carefully crafted massages since age breeds cynicism.
Consumers want brands that fit their personalities rather than the ones that try to define them. This is because after 50, self-perception is fully formed and they want brands that match that perception. This is a crucial point because at a younger age, we want brands that define groups we hope to become part of.
When dealing with health and lifestyles it is better to target different aspects of life like retirement, spousal illness and being empty-nest. People don’t go through these phases at the same time, so don’t assume reality is the same for all.
Don’t put everybody under “mature audience”. Today’s 50 plus market lived in very different formative years. Some saw the WW II, others great changes in technology.

You cannot suffer from the same kind of myopia and overlook this segment. Welcome this segment and understand the consumer value they have and adapt some of your marketing strategies to attract this audience.

By Shahar Boyayan

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