History Repeats Itself. California’s “Silver Rush” for Seniors is on. 


In 1848, they were called California prospectors – today, they’re called CMOs

The history of California is all about the Gold Rush. 1848 Sutter’s Mill. Eureka! You know the story. When James Marshall discovered gold in January, ’48 the rush was on. Today it should be called the “Silver Rush” and the mining should be done by CMOs.

California experienced its first immigration wave from prospectors and business opportunists from around the world. Three quarters of the men in San Francisco left the city to pan for their fortune. Ironically, those who benefited the most financially were not the miners but rather than merchants who really struck it rich, selling what was needed to prospect for gold.

The “Silver Rush” is set to dwarf the riches unearthed in the 1850’s as our aging population is set to live longer and healthier and spend more than ever as they do. Consider this:

  • In 1900, life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
  • Today, it’s 80. Researchers predict ½ of babies born today will live to 100.
  • Healthier aging today will add 20 years to a senior’s life.
  • Better medicine, healthier habits, and active, working seniors are set to spend trillions as they age.

California Seniors will be the largest demographic group in the near future. The impact on the world’s 5th largest economy is waiting for CMOs to prospect directly to Californians whose longevity stats, coupled with spending power, mean rich targets of opportunity for CMOs prepared to commit dedicated messaging to them.

The retirement age is nothing more than a number as seniors are continuing to work or start second careers. Marketers have the best tools on earth to better target these seniors and yet, to date, most traditional brands are underspending against them, using the same creative as they use for younger consumers, or ignoring them altogether.

Just as prospectors 150 years ago needed tools to unearth a vein of gold or minerals containing silver, the future is waiting for CMOs who venture out West to mine the richest deposits of age, wisdom, and wealth in history. History can repeat itself in very positive ways for those who learn from it.

Photo by the National Library of Ireland on The Commons The Quays in Sligo via photopin (license)

About Brad Ball

Co-Author of The Silver Rush: Marketing to the California Senior; Partner Silver Advertising- former- CMO SkyZone; VP Entetainment NASCAR, President Theatrical Marketing Warner Bros;CMO McDonald’s, Partner DBC Advertising.

photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia Miners working in a gold mine at Gympie, Queensland Miners Gympie Qld 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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