A senior strategy is very much the same idea.
When my partner and I started blogging about the power and opportunity of marketing to seniors (55+), the sheer size of this audience spoke volumes. Seniors are the largest and fastest growing consumer segment, and are the wealthiest asset holders. They’re also the most experienced shoppers on earth.
Every marketing executive we’ve encountered says essentially the same thing –” this makes so much sense, why aren’t more brands focusing on seniors?”
It’s hard to believe that just 40 years ago, marketers finally realized they needed to have a separate budget dedicated to California’s growing Hispanic population and one that was led by those of Hispanic origin. The need to target seniors as a distinct consumer segment has had years of the same reluctance by CMOs. But not when it comes to targeting Veterans.
Major brands in virtually every business sector are embracing marketing programs aimed at Vets. Lowe’s, AT&T, GM and businesses such as restaurants, travel providers, grocery chains, and insurance companies have committed dedicated marketing programs and media spending to build and reward Veteran loyalty. American Airlines was an early player by giving Vets priority boarding access. It was all about respect and appreciation for their service– as well as being good for business.
The similarities of marketing to a 55+ audience and the 18,000,000 + Vets in the US, may encourage CMOs to come to the same conclusion. Here in California, marketing aimed at seniors is not just good business, it will be critical as the age wave grows.
- Seniors and Vets are large, identifiable demographic populations
- Current US census data reports 18.1 million Vets
- 50% of Vets are 65 or older
- By 2020, 100 million Americans will be 55+. Over 7 million will reside in California.
- Seniors and Vet’s population are growing in every state:
- California, Texas and Florida rank as the top three states for both segments
- Half of the counties in California will see their senior population increase over the next 2 years; 11 counties will see their 65+ population grow by 150% and for those 85+ years old by nearly 300%
- Education is important to Vets and Seniors – they are smart consumers!
- More Vets than non–Vets earn a high school and advanced degrees
- By the time they are 65, seniors will have earned their “MIL” (masters in life) They’re equipped with 45 years of job skills!
- College graduation rates for women Vets out-pace civilian females by a 30% to 25% margin
- Seniors and Vets believe in staying in the workforce and earning a living:
- Seniors aged 65 -74 are projected to grow the working ranks by 4.5% by 2024 vs. younger workers aged 18-25, where a drop of 1.6% is estimated
- Vets median HH income is $35,376 vs. non-vet HH income at $24,521
- Working seniors and Vets seek new career paths by leveraging the training they received in the military or non-military workplace.
- After 40+ years in the workforce, seniors often take their career experience and pursue a passion or start a second career. Others volunteer to share their knowledge and wisdom.
- Vets leave the service with training and experience that make them desired employees –skilled, disciplined, respectful of authority and focused on completing the task
- Value and discounts are an important driver to both seniors and Vets. And they do their homework to make informed purchase decisions.
- More than most, they care about the mission of the organization and the integrity and level of service the company delivers.
Brand marketers looking to initiate a senior strategy have examples all around them when it comes to targeting a segment like Vets. Lowe’s offer 10% discounts for everyday purchases made by Vets which totals nearly a billion dollars in savings annually. But the impact on Lowe’s bottom-line and customer loyalty is significantly more. That’s what we call a win-win situation!
Photo by Roberto Galan
- 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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