Quality Time Remaining and Marketing to California’s Seniors

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How understanding “QTR” can give marketers an advantage with California’s senior consumers.

QTR, as an acronym and attitude about life, is growing in awareness and popularity—especially with seniors. Standing for Quality of Life Remaining, those adopting a QTR perspective have a growing sense of their own mortality and a feeling about how many years they might have left to live a fulfilling, enjoyable, and meaningful life. Since every person has their own idea about what makes up QTR and how it motivates their attitudes and behavior, the goal for marketers is to understand how to position your products and services to fit this mindset.

Importantly, QTR is not just about life expectancy, it’s about a healthy life expectancy, which factors in the absence of serious illness or injury. These two numbers can be quite different. For instance, the current life expectancy for California’s 7,000,000 seniors is 80.8 years old. That ranks California 4th in the U.S. But according to the CDC, the healthy life expectancy in the state is 67.7 years old. Remarkably, that seemingly low healthy life expectancy is the 3rd best of any of state. (CDC) With an average age of retirement at 68 years old (Bureau of Labor Statistics), it’s obvious that QTR is not just about what life should or could be like when one stops working. Increasingly, people are typically motivated to adopt the QTR point of view as early as in their 50’s, and for some, even earlier.

Joanna Campbell in her article “QTR-And Why It Matters” outlines some key questions that help define how people can approach the concept of QTR for planning the rest of their lives. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Who and what matters to me?
  2. Who and what take up a lot of time and effort—and are a waste of time and effort?
  3. What joys do I overlook or under-appreciate?
  4. What do I need to accomplish in the time that I have left?
  5. What am I putting off that matters?
  6. What do I need to change that I should change?

My first taste of QTR occurred in graduate school when we were given the assignment of looking into the future and then writing our own obituary. I can honestly say writing my obituary helped shape what I wanted to do for a living, my feelings about family life, and what kind of accomplishments I would be proud of. The assignment also forced me to think about how I wanted to be remembered. Powerful stuff for a 22-year old to ponder. And by the way, I still have a lot to do to make that obituary a reality.

For marketers, the trick is how to gently remind the senior target that the time is now to buy your product or use your service. They need to be motivated to go on that Mediterranean Cruise now. Don’t put off that Harley Davidson purchase a minute longer. Take your grandkids to LegoLand this weekend. Don’t delay in buying that big screen TV, learning to play the piano, joining a gym, eating better, reading more books, seeing more movies, trying new restaurants, learning to speak Spanish, whatever. The point is, someday is not soon enough. Your potential consumers are not going to live forever, but you can help them extend their Healthy Life Expectancy, and just as importantly, help them extend their Happy Life Expectancy.

Photo by Benjamin Morris

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