Lessons from Hollywood: Enhance Your California Senior Marketing Strategy

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For CMOs seriously looking to create a senior targeted strategy, the insights gleaned from older movie goers offers valuable clues.

Clearly the Film and TV industry is listening and addressing slate decisions for theatrical releases and those viewed on streaming platforms. While millennials remain the coveted target group of the studios, to win the box office ticket derby they also need to reach the 50+ audience. They account for nearly 32% of all ticket sales and 49% of all film/TV consumption.

With entertainment brands like Netflix reporting that their fastest growth rate is coming from the 50+ market, their senior adult strategy appears to be working.

Traditionally, studios are risk adverse. When a hit emerges, the studios rush to produce their own versions of the storyline.

Netflix, during its infancy, needed significant offerings licensed from other studio vaults. But seniors are credited with driving the disruption that has allowed them to produce their own content because of the improved investment returns.

  • Seniors enjoy all movie genres but lean toward ‘art house films’ accounting for 75% of the average audience
  • Seniors account for 56% of the audience for Faith &family titles and 50% of indie films
  • For All-audience films, including the blockbusters such as Star Wars, seniors account for 27% of the total

CMOs can apply many of the insights from the entertainment industry to adapt to their own senior marketing plan. Here are 6 that may win your brand an Oscar!

1) Seniors have been movie viewers (consumers) their entire life:

• They’re hooked and loyal but can smell a “bomb” a mile away. They base purchase decisions on earlier ‘good and bad’ choices.

Insight: Prior experience matters. Your brand equity should be leveraged to resonate with longstanding users.

2) Subject matter or storylines are more important to seniors than other movie attributes:

• They prefer biopics, historic themes, or classic literature because they have had meaningful and sometimes emotional experiences with the content.

Insight: Brand and product experience, and don’t forget value, are the most important purchase decision criteria for seniors.

3) The 55-plus audience seeks out peer-reviewed films

• They pursue ‘Word of Mouth’ commentary, aka ‘influencers they trust’

Insight: Seniors do their homework. They are now skeptical of a lifetime of hype and sales pitches. Instead, they focus on a product’s real benefit before they purchase.

4) Senior movie audiences act and buy with predictability: 

• The Film and TV industry applies this predictability to their product development and marketing.

Insight: A performer’s career, much like a brand’s, will have some wins and loses – but it is ‘body of work’ over time that matters and should be drawn upon to differentiate and reinforce the sale.

5) Seniors favor leisure time options:

• They prefer mid-week days and non-peak hours for their entertainment choices.

Insight: This knowledge can benefit retail brands that should consider shifting their day-part offerings to capitalize on older customers who are “watching” when others are not! 

6) Seniors are nostalgic for performers they’ve grown up with:

• Seniors respond to actors/filmmakers who have success and longevity. Think Clint Eastwood or Steven Spielberg.

Insight: Customer retention and repeat visits come to brands that consistently sell products that deliver results and are relevant to the buyer. It helps to market to seniors using familiar experiences aimed directly at them – not a ‘one size fits all’ strategy.

Photo by Nestor Rizhniak

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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