Targeting California Seniors? CMOs Should Pick Women Over Men.


Women are California seniors’ economic power. Period!

Joseph F. Coughlin’s powerful book on aging and its implications on marketing, The Longevity Economy, said it best,

“The future is female.”

For California brands and services, the future is in California senior females. Overall, California’s female population is slightly more than half the state’s total 38 million–over 16 million women. Soon the largest segment will be women who are 50 and older.

We understand that for many CMOs, business is status quo – targeting the tried and true 18-49 year olds. But the huge age wave of seniors representing rich opportunities is knocking down the door and about to change the way products have been marketed. CMOs need to wake up and get started before their competitors beat them to it.

50+ Women are good for business:

  • Longevity is on the side of the female
  • Life expectancy means they’ll be potential customers 7 years longer than men
  • Women, even today, manage most of the household financial duties and the majority of upkeep around the house, shopping, etc.
  • They are on an empowerment upswing, gaining more access to senior leadership positions and larger salaries
  • Women tend to be the caregiver to other family members – this requires shopping across segments and industries.

Boston Consulting states that just 15% of companies have any sort of marketing or business strategy focused on older adults. Not shocking until you see it expressed in terms of who’s being targeted. Advertisers spend 500% more on millennials than on all other age groups combined. With California leading in virtually every demographic or economics statistic, women as consumers are the dominate force in California and this includes those 50+ and over.

All of this makes females the easiest place to start a focus on a senior  strategy in California. Women are better consumers given their dual duties in the workplace and at home. They are better shoppers out of necessity, having carried shopping duties due to the fact they are better, smarter, and more experienced shoppers. And their longevity makes the marketing investment worth every penny.

Tom Peters pointed out 36 years ago in, In Search of Excellence/’82, “women are the prime decision-makers in 94% of major spending decisions”  Women buy. Women rule. But it doesn’t stop there. They also influence or make:

  • Vacation decisions
  • House purchase decisions
  • D.I.Y home project decisions
  • Home electronics decisions
  • Home computer decisions
  • Car purchase decisions, (they are influential in 90%)
  • Bank account decisions
  • Household investment decisions
  • Small business loans and business starts decisions
  • Health care decisions

Retirement prospects for men focus around leisure and relaxation. Women are planning to grow old. This means they focus on solving the needs and challenges that come with living longer. Today’s marketers should make a concerted effort to address the different attitude of women and men as they approach retirement.

The time is now to build a California senior strategy. Women hold most of the cards and cash, which makes targeting them the best first step.

Photo by Monkey Business Images

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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