5 Reasons to Start Your California Seniors Marketing Strategy


CMOs should start mining the “Silver Rush” now.

The opportunity to capture share and revenue from California seniors is shocking. Shocking for its size and population of over 7,000,000 and shocking for the spending power they control which is ¾’s of the wealth in the U.S. But wait there’s more! Beyond the obvious categories of healthcare, retirement services and travel, seniors receive approximately 10% of the projected 2018 U.S. ad budget – $232 billion. And that’s way lower than it should be!

Life expectancy for those in their mid-60’s has increased to nearly 20 years.  CMOs must look beyond their 18-49 comfort zone and develop a strategy to embrace the largest audience in the country. In other words, follow the money.

Here are 5 key reasons seniors rule:

  1. Birthrates have fallen. It is projected that the global population will plateau in the next 25 to 50 years at 10 billion.
  2. People are living longer – 20 years + longer than someone born in 1900.
  3. Seniors are healthier than ever – especially in countries with available healthcare and the money or government policies to pay for it.
  4. People are wealthier –the 50+ own  50% of the wealth in the U.S.
  5. Staying in the workforce longer – leads to a higher 65+ year-old participation.

Contrary to what many believe, seniors are not a homogenous group. They include the rich, poor, active and disabled. Most desire to stay in their home. Others chose to move into  senior communities. And depending on their health status, they remain active consumers. Whatever your brand category, ask yourself this. Would a line extension or product innovation that serves a genuine solution to an aging consumer impact growth? Have you looked closer at your strategic planning to expand your target to seniors with dedicated, relevant and respectful communication?

California, the 6th largest economic power in the world, is a smart place to start. And ESRI has just the tool to begin the journey. ESRI has spent the past 30 years linking location to market potential. Lifestyle segmentation through their tapestry segmentation identifies the shopping needs and characteristics of 5 distinct senior groups.

ESRI’s tapestry identifies key measures at the cash register, impacted by life stages seniors go through as they consider housing, shopping, leisure activities and healthcare options. Understanding what seniors are spending their money on and where it fits in their priorities will help marketers identify concepts and specific markets for testing. Here are some target segments to consider:

  • Prosperous empty nesters – they have the money and the time
  • Retirement communities – they live in a new home among fellow aging residents
  • The Elders – these are at the older end – 70 to late 80 segment
  • Senior Sun Seekers – they are driven by better weather and warm climates
  • Social Security Set – fixed income seniors who still spend, although with fewer dollars

California seniors are represented across each of these 5 segments. Targeting each, according to the target’s economic and lifestyle attributes, will identify where to start the senior strategy based on your product and those within the category.

Mining for your share of the California “Silver Rush” requires some additional work. But the rewards that come from increased customer loyalty will extend the “customer for life” model you practiced years ago. And it promises to pay off.

And here’s more good news. Unlike the millennial, California seniors don’t shy away from advertising. They embrace information that solves a problem and is clearly and specifically created for them. In return, CMOs get an experienced consumer with money to spend and time to become a brand loyalist all over again.

Photo by Darren Baker

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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