California Seniors Consume Almost Everything


CMOs need to consider the buying power of California’s senior adults.

Being a CMO is all about getting into the heads of their prospective targets, shopping habits, media usage and what it takes to build loyalty once a consumer has selected your company’s brand. It would be assumed that the largest and most wealthy population segment is smack dab in the line of sight of CMOs across across the country. But the truth is, the prime target group of consumers across almost every business segment averages only 10% of all paid media buys.And that group is America’s senior population.
Seniors spend 5 times what the coveted millennials spend and California seniors lead the country. Given the capability through customer acquisition data to know more about consumers than ever, its baffling to see such a “rich and ready” target being over-looked.
  • Millions of seniors live in California and they are increasing at staggering levels
  • Compared to the early 2000’s, 38 California counties will see senior growth increase 150% by 2020. 26 other counties will increase by a whopping 200
While pharma and travel rank at the top of the senior targeting industries, the vast majority of product categories that seniors buy are largely identical to those younger consumers purchase. But, when asked ‘what’s your senior strategy?’ too many CMOs appear to hesitate a bit and usually respond that they’re covered by their current targeting methodology. Really?
Back in the 1980’s, the practice of specialization by advertising agencies, targeting highly measurable consumer groups, began to appear.  For example, here in California, as the ethnic demography began to change, the leading advertising agency specialty was Hispanic consumer marketing. Hispanic centric agencies started to capture blue chip client accounts as CMOs sought authenticity in the advertising they created aimed at the Hispanic consumer .
It’s incredible today that there are only a handful of dedicated senior-focused agencies. This is a hugely disproportionate number considering that seniors are soon to be largest population segment in the country. 
There are also few CMOs who have a legitimate marketing focus to reach older consumers. Many lack the creative and messaging that is relevant and respectful of someone who has been a consumer for the past 40-50 years.  Imagine having respect for the most experienced shoppers on the planets – the ones who do their homework, know how to negotiate and seek value but aren’t only looking at price. That’s what I call an opportunity.

Photo by time to rest via photopin (license)

Author Profile

Brad Ball
Brian Morris and I have been good friends and industry competitors for years. We both have run major advertising agencies and both have held top level client-side positions. I am a former partner at ad agency Davis, Ball and Colombatto, and the former Chief Marketing Officer at McDonalds and President, Theatrical Marketing for Warner Brothers. Brian and I are now in our 60’s and came together in 2017 to form a company that understands the Senior market better than traditional ad agencies, Silver Advertising. We are now poised to be passionate advocates for these consumers as they enter their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond.

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