A Disruption Marketing Strategy for California Seniors


The time is right for disruptive marketing strategies to the senior market.

If you’re a CMO and market a product with at least 15% of your sales being attributed to senior consumers and you’re not committing marketing dollars to that segment, think about the following:

  • Seniors spend over $5 trillion annually (AARP)
  • The senior age group is, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percentage. And it’s the fastest growing age segment. (2010 U.S. Census)
  • By 2025, one in every 5 Americans will be 65 or older (International Longevity Center)
  • Adults 55 to 64 outspend the average consumer in nearly every category, from food, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, gifts, travel, and many others (The U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey)
  • Boomers outspend younger adults online nearly 2:1 (Forrester Research)
  • Although seniors account for nearly 50% of consumer spending, they are targeted with just 10% of marketing dollars (AARP)

If those statistics got your attention, it’s the perfect time to act. After all, how many times have you experienced a huge target audience with money and the inclination to buy which, up until now, has been untapped by you and been ignored by your competitors? Probably never. So here are some tips to get started:

  1. After a sales audit by consumer segment, and checking on both your own Brand Development Index and Category Development Indexes against the senior target, if it’s clear that there is some “blue ocean” out there, begin the process of learning about what makes seniors tick. If you have the time, staff and resources to do that and to develop marketing strategies culminating in a marketing plan, great. If not, you should look in to partnering with companies that specialize in marketing to seniors.
  2. If there are apparent opportunities and the budget to move forward with a plan, many marketers do some form of A/B testing and in-market testing in a limited geography. The downside of this approach is that it telegraphs your intentions to competitors.
  3. Your media spend needs to be sufficient enough to make an impact. Remember, this is a target audience that may be unaware of your brand and needs messaging that is tailored to them. Plus, don’t cut corners on production costs. Seniors are tired of, and insulted by, cheaply produced, stereotypical advertisements (re: “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.)

And here’s a big idea for a big thinking brand that wants to pre-empt the competition and make huge inroads with seniors overnight. Be a brand that not only advertises to seniors in a meaningful way, be the first main-stream brand that truly embraces them and celebrates them. Do it with a highly creative and well-produced advertising campaign. Like famous past campaigns for Nike (“Just do It” when it was introduced in the 80’s, or Apple Computers when they came on the scene with “Think Different”

Photo by WeAre

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