The Stock Market Has Lost Because Of Yrade 1.5 Trillion Five Common Misconceptions About Marketing to Seniors

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Five Common Misconceptions About Marketing to Seniors

With all the possible target markets, why would anyone want to sell to the elderly?

Some think they are a “lost cause”, they are labeled as too old, too disabled, too careless or too frugal. While these monikers may apply in some cases, it’s surprising how wrong these perceptions are when you examine the reality of today’s buying public, despite a deteriorating economy, real estate crisis and unemployment at its worst levels in decades.

Suddenly, the elderly seem very attractive to some, if not all, marketers because of a few basic facts:

Misconception #1: Seniors are in the minority

Fact: The 76 million baby boomers in the United States are now turning 65, making the elderly the majority. According to data on February 6, 2011 New York Times In an article about the business of aging, these new seniors differ from previous generations by expecting a life expectancy that will be longer than in the past – a period of at least another twenty years. Worldwide, the segment of the population aged 65 and over will more than double from 523 million to 1.5 billion by 2050, according to United Nations estimates. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the country has more women than men, with the Northeast leading the way, as well as the largest share of people in the 65 and older age group. While more people will delay retirement in the interest of maintaining a stable income, those who choose to retire will have a long time for which the only escape is employment. And extrapolating the truth from reality, employment means that seniors will make up one of the country’s largest markets, too vast to ignore and certainly too affordable to dismiss.

Misconception #2: Seniors are too old, technologically challenged, and computer phobic

Fact: Since “elderly” is defined as someone who has reached the age of majority (but, to this writer’s amusement, some dictionaries still describe it as “ancient”), the bulk of the baby boomers will be a relatively young group (ages 65-74) until 2034 year. That’s a good twenty years for marketers to capitalize on. Baby boomers aren’t some wallflowers intimidated by the prospect of going out dancing. Indeed, it is our device-savvy, forward-thinking, mature and savvy movers who have been major contributors, if not initiators, of today’s technologically advanced lifestyle for most of their existence. Unlikely to fall out of society, these connected people are aware of the ramifications of social media and Google rankings, alternately engaged and exasperated by the entourage of political missteps and world events, and swayed by the consequences of job loss and home foreclosure. These are well-informed consumers of the most formidable growth.

Misconception #3: Seniors are too “cheap” to spend money

Fact: Seniors are the biggest spenders today. According to estimates based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, baby boomer households in the United States spent about $2.6 trillion in 2009. That’s a 45% year-over-year increase, according to a Gallup poll cited on June 10, 2010. New York Times an article by Kathryn Rumpel titled “Who’s Spending Again? Rich and old.”

While it’s true that seniors tend to be more conservative in their tastes and thrifty in their choices, it’s also true that their spending habits are heavily influenced by the wants and needs of those who matter to them: children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. If, for example, an elderly person’s son has lost his job and can no longer support his family at the level of comfort they used to enjoy, Grandma will not watch them suffer. Many older Americans have welcomed the younger generation back into their homes and are now spending lavishly to keep them fat and happy, so to speak.

But there is another reason why the elderly have loosened the reins of their often extremely large sizes. Recent gains in the stock market have a psychological effect on how retirees think about their investments, even if those investments are based on bonds or annuities, leading them to conclude that they are richer. Add this sentiment to the rationale that older people may feel that life is too short and now is the time to waste away before it’s too late. Some of these seniors, bolstered by years of moderately successful finances, bolstered by the meager benefits of Social Security, enjoy significant wealth and plan to experience life’s luxuries before time runs out.

What does that mean? That means vacations, cruises, luxury cars, and shopping for home entertainment. This means shopping for clothes, jewelry and gifts for the kids. This means spending on hair and nails, plastic surgery and a new smile. That means dining out and having an evening of fun. All on a regular basis. Once they start, it’s hard to stop.

Misconception #4: Older people have no brand loyalty

Fact: Older people show much more brand loyalty than today’s younger generation, who tend to be fickle, switching from one thing to another at the drop of a hat. While fads, trends and social influences lure young people from one product to the next, older people are considered more valuable customers, according to the September 26, 2007 New York Times Matt Richtel’s article on “Gorgeous Old Men.” A senior will need time to carefully evaluate the decision and will generally stick with the commitment longer.

Although older adults have life experiences to draw from, a wealth of knowledge on a range of topics, and valuable skills that represent a variety of careers, such wisdom is viewed with some caveats in today’s rapidly changing world. First, old age tends to cause forgetfulness and memory loss. Second, when it comes to accessibility of knowledge, Google provides answers to anything and everything in milliseconds, which is hardly a level playing field for the elderly (or anyone for that matter), no matter how smart and experienced they can be. Finally, the skills that older adults have learned are usually applied to things we no longer need or use, such as yesterday’s engines or outdated entertainment equipment that has now been replaced by state-of-the-art wireless computer technology. Even if seniors have kept up with all the technological developments over the years, their motivation to stay abreast of such changes after retirement is greatly reduced, as is their ability to maintain. The younger one has an advantage here.

Mistake #5: Seniors don’t buy anything unless there’s a discount

Fact: If there’s one thing seniors absolutely dominate, it’s the health care market, with or without discounts. No one purchases more health-related products than seniors, making them the most valuable market for businesses in this industry, to the exclusion of others. In old age, by nature, there are difficulties with balance, dexterity, autonomy and mobility, as well as with maintaining and containing the senses. Some of these conditions contribute to social isolation. Industries dedicated to protecting the elderly from physical and psychological demise can only hope to reap the rewards of their manufacturing and marketing acumen. Still, it’s clear that the prospect of investing heavily in developing products that can serve this purpose is causing anxiety among companies poised to benefit. The reason for this is that the seniors market is still untested territory that has not shown that it will buy new technologies that preserve health and well-being, even though there is a strong need for it. Rather, companies like Ford Motor, which has a hands-free parallel parking system that alleviates the need to strain the neck (a common aging trap), combined with blind-spot detection and a voice-controlled audio system, take solace in their ability to sell to a mass market, rather than just targeting mysterious seniors for product success.

While writing this article, I happened to be contacted by a local nonprofit, Aging in Place, who said they needed a marketing plan to help increase paid memberships. Aging in place is a term used by national seniors’ groups to describe efforts to help seniors stay in their homes as long as possible while receiving help from a variety of third-party services when needed to find solutions for any inconvenience or problem encountered. This may include assistance with medical, social, financial or nutritional needs, to name a few.

At the same time, many development companies across the country have embraced the idea of ​​building senior living or retirement centers that incorporate new technologies to monitor the health and safety of residents, as well as on-site social, dining, entertainment, fitness and physical facilities. therapies are a safe choice for senior marketing professionals.

Of course, either scenario makes sense as long as all marketers are tackling the age-old question: What’s the best way to reach seniors? Or, on the contrary, the question arises, how to reach the adult children of the elderly? While the choices remain the same as trying to reach the entire market, all of which are expensive when there is always an unknown response rate, there are ways to target seniors through intuitive reasoning. Think old fashioned if you want an older demographic; think creatively to reach the newly inducted “junior” senior baby boomer or their grown children. Among a whole range of strategies, old-fashioned means advertising in the daily newspaper; on conservative talk radio programs; or sponsored marketing and live presentations with handouts at senior fairs and events at community or faith-based centers. Creative marketing might mean using the Internet to reach more tech-savvy seniors through an e-campaign; or sponsored ads accompanying relevant Google searches to barely touch the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Probably the safest route to an older person is through their mailing address, lists of which can be purchased through age selection and a number of other parameters that may be appropriate.

And as with all marketing, one effort may not be enough. A diversified approach, as well as several attempts, is what usually means a more successful result, vigilance to measure the response at each stage of the process. But keep one thing in mind. Older people fall prey to scammers more often than we care to admit. While some may still be helplessly vulnerable, others have become even more wary, distrustful of every marketing offer they come across!

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