June 20, 2012 Leave a Comment
As an organization that has built a solid reputation in marketing strategies across the board, Direct Choice Inc. has researched what the ins and outs are for marketing products and services to key demographic groups, and through this blog, we will be covering some of the basic ideas and strategies we have discovered and utilized, which has allowed us to become a premier marketing agency across several industry sectors.
We want to talk about the intricacies of marketing to one of our favorite groups: the senior community.
From this year through 2025, a person will turn 60 every seven seconds. Think about that statistic (and as you do, say a quick happy birthday to whomever the new member of the “Senior Tour” is).
Whether it is indifference or lack of expertise, when marketing to the senior community, most make the mistake of categorizing them into one large group once they hit a certain age, and creating a broad plan that way. This is like trying to cover kindergartners and teenagers with the same marketing strategy. In our view, the demographics in the senior community can be divided into no less than four groups, and while a one-size-fits-all strategy will not necessarily work for each of these groups, there are some common threads as to how they purchase:
- The World War II Generation: People born before 1933 (77+ at the time of this post). Their consumption of goods and services has slowed, just as their desire to consider changing from what they are used to. For obvious reasons, this group is not the sweet spot for most marketers, but they are still in need of goods and services, so creating a marketing philosophy around those that buy on their behalf will work for this age group.
- The Swing Generation: People born between 1933 and 1945 (ages 65–77). This is the pre-Baby Boomers generation and the most successful – in the sense of accumulating wealth – in history. They are the pop culture architects, who have seen amazing things in their lives, and have now reached their Medicare years. These folks vote, buy, and lead businesses and cultural institutions, and they do this because they still have strong opinions and ideas of how things should be based on their decades of experience. Marketers that understand that members of the “Swing Generation” still believe they have a great deal to offer will flourish with this group.
- The Big Boomers: People born between 1946 and 1954 (56-64) are the original Baby Boomers. The so-called “Me Generation” has exchanged their disco shoes for senior director and managerial positions. At 33 million strong, they represent 17% of the U.S. population and are the live-for-today types that drive the economy. Most are still accumulating material possessions, and compared to their parents, are spending money in much larger quantities. Marketers not focused on age-specific products should continue to consider this group in all of their planning as they are typically interested in the newest trends and definitely have the capital to purchase.
- The Little Boomers: People born between 1955 and 1964 (46-55). These are the younger brother and sister Boomers, and their number is approaching 50 million. They are in this blog for seniors, but many are doing non-senior activities like parenting younger children. In general, members of this group are big spenders, too. Together with their older Big Boomer siblings, they represent a virtual river of money. It is estimated that “Boomers” overall control 77% of all personal assets in the U.S. and half of all discretionary spending (about $750 billion). In addition, they own 40 million credit cards, buy 48% of all the luxury cars sold in the U.S., and spend $610 billion on health care (including 74% of all prescriptions filled in the nation’s pharmacies). Despite these overwhelming statistics, fewer than 10% of general advertising impressions are targeted at them, despite studies showing that they are more receptive to advertising than younger consumers. The younger boomers are especially open to influence for those products that are considered to be targeted as Gen X or Gen Y products because they still like to consider themselves part of the younger generation.
Stay tuned for future blogs where we’ll discuss strategies on how to address one or more of these groups. Although each group has its own unique characteristics, there will be one common thread to the ideas, which is respect. DirectChoice understands that a unifying concept amongst all seniors is that they spent 4 ½ – 5 decades not being a senior (and being treated as such in the marketplace). They have come to expect a certain level of treatment over half a century, and we know how to adhere to it.—
Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn