Tag: Brad Ball

California Seniors are Driving Cannabis Growth

shutterstock_1054640075 From hippies to hip pain

32 states have passed cannabis usage into law for medical purposes. California was the first over 23 years ago.  10 states have done the same for recreational use. You may be surprised to learn that Seniors are leading the charge  embracing the benefits of medicinal cannabis as well as indulging in the pleasures stemming from recreational use.

Our conventional image of ‘pot’ users dates back to the 60’s when today’s Seniors were experimenting with all kinds of drugs. Despite the legal consequences and risk of incarceration back then, those free-spirited offenders, now in their sixties and beyond, thought the risk was worth it. These people are now your parents or grandparents!

The stigma once tied to marijuana or cannabis usage has given way to Starbucks-like retail dispensaries – well-lit and well stocked with products designed to enhance your mood, sex life, daily exercise regimen, and address a variety of aches and pains.

According to a national survey of nearly 50,000 responders, the Drug Use and Health study of patients 50-64 found using marijuana daily or weekly rose 58% between 2002 and 2014. Patients 60+ have shown an increase in use of 250%. These growth rates by the original adopters are fastest among all user groups. Talk about influencers!

Such response to legal use has not gone unnoticed by the financial and investment community despite marijuana continuing to be classified as a schedule 1 drug along with heroin. All of Canada will sell legal cannabis for medical and recreational use this October. And year over year growth is stoking the fires of American firms anxious to invest here.

While the debate around addiction to opioids goes on, Seniors and  the medical community have embraced usage of hemp-based CBD products as well as recreational use of cannabis products.CBD products, whether edible or in liquid, lotion or tablet form, provide needed relief from disorders associated with aging that up to now have led to a pill popping addiction.

AARP has created a list of ‘alternatives to pills’ for Seniors over 65 wary of the side effects from a heavy dependence from their medicine cabinet. This includes dependence for medical issues such as:

  1. Heart failure
  2. Increase in blood pressure
  3. Stomach bleeding and ulcers
  4. Confusion
  5. Toxic kidneys
  6. Seizures
  7. Hallucinations
  8. Stroke
  9. Tremors

Replacing as many as 5 or 6 pills with a CBD derivative product is driving acceptance among Seniors and they’re sharing the results with family and physicians.

All this adoption by Seniors is speeding the process of legalization in the remaining states to help fuel the projected to growth to $50 billion by 2025 (Grand View Research). When you realize that 100 years have passed since prohibition ended and today the US liquor industry will generate $81 billion sales in 2019, it won’t take many growing cycles for the cannabis industry to reach or exceed that number. Especially considering that the brewers of Corona and Heineken are among those developing ‘infused beverages’ using a low percentage of THC.

Marketers sitting on the fence about targeting aging consumers will soon realize that those who are 55 and older are not that different today than they were 10 to 20 years earlier. The exception being they have extra years of wisdom, significantly more wealth, and the freedom to live the next couple of decades doing exactly what they want.

Smart marketers should follow the money trail Seniors are blazing in the cannabis industry and many other product categories missed by holding to tightly to the 18-49 crowd. Their marketing insights  may point to the vast sums you’re leaving on the table.

It Takes a Skilled “Geek” to help California Seniors Age in Place

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Best Buy jumps headfirst into The Longevity Economy by adding the aging population to its strategic tech targets.

Advertisers and brands are starting to wake up as the impact of aging on the world’s wealthiest countries point to significant new revenue targets. Joseph Coughlin, founder of the MIT Age Lab and author of The Longevity Economyputs it this way:

“The emerging population isn’t just big, it’s so enormous it’s as though a new continent were rising out of the sea, filled with more than a billion air-breathing consumers just begging for products that fulfill their demands.”

Best Buy has put their money where their phone chargers are and in doing so, made it clear they intend to play a big role targeting this huge opportunity.  By offering new monitoring services and in-home tech,together with strategic hospital partnerships and acquisitions like Great Call last August, Best Buy is doubling down on Boomers, their aging parents and caregivers. This isn’t about a media buy, it’s the leading tech retailer pivoting to execute a defined senior marketing strategy.

We are trying to position the company for the future” says Best Buy CEO, Hubert Joly,There is going to be greater and greater differentiation between winners and losers. And so, this is clearly the time to invest.” 

90% of those 65 and older have said they don’t want to move from their home into an assisted living community. This refrain has inspired Best Buy to create Assured Living and Best Buy Home.

Assured Living is aimed at Boomers who want to honor their parents request to remain independent as they age in place. The ability to ‘monitor and check-in’ via any internet connected devise is the gift of peace of mind to both generations.

Best Buy launched Assured Living is validated by their expertise and core competency in the consumer retail technology sector. Services focus on monitoring, real-time alerts, insight into daily activity levels, sleep patterns, and diet, all presented via a personalized dash board. All starting at $29.99 a month. Tech support from the Geek Squad has been enhanced as part of the new Best Buy Home offering house calls to install and train.

Next came a partnership bringing medical expertise from the Mayo Clinic. Together they offer aging consumers wellness assessment tools covering everything from various symptoms and basic diagnosis to proper meal planning and physical activity regiments. Driving sales for Best Buy is a consistent introduction of new products.

Apple’s newest Watch 4 is an activity monitor, tracker,and First Alert device on your wrist. Like Best Buy, Apple recognized the magnitude of this aging population wave and made dramatic design changes with their latest model which propelled first full year of sales upward to 32% YOY.

Amazon recently revealed several elements of their senior facing healthcare strategy built around their smart speaker leadership. And Alexa is finding its way into hospital surgery wards as doctors collect critical knowledge about post-op patient recovery and follow up.

While healthcare marketers and their agencies have had patients and industry providers as targets mostly to themselves for years, virtually every retailer who serves a consumer 55+ or their Boomer offspring, can establish a viable senior-centric marketing strategy. The facts are clear, the longer one ages independently, the longer they continue to shop, consume and visit the retailers who ‘welcome’ their business.

Ask yourself these assessment areas as you consider your own senior marketing strategic journey:

  1. What portion of your core product mix is purchased by 55+?
  2. Does your marketing aimed at Seniors speak directly to them as a distinct customer segment?
  3. What products aimed at aging in place consumers could your business leverage?

It all begins by thinking past the trap of limiting your marketing to 18 to 49 year olds!

What marketing to Vets teaches CMOs about marketing to California seniors

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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

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

Career Longevity Steps CMOs Should Consider

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The biggest demo is waiting to be courted – California seniors!

A Harvard Business Review study notes that CMOs can expect on average 4.1 years on the job. That’s frightening, given the impact of losing a gig that according to Ad Age, pays major brand CMOs $1.5 million a year in salary and benefits.

CMOs could improve their job security:

  • Google ‘seniors economic power’ – prepare to find the largest cohort of consumers and why they’ve been underserved by marketers.
  • Embrace 55-85 as the new 18-49 demo
  • Look at senior spending categories (not just healthcare) and find a sweet spot for your brand
  • Get it out of your head that everyone 65 years-old retires
  • Act like you’re starting in marketing all over again – be smart, be bold, be original!

Today’s CMO jobs are tough, if not tougher, than it was when I was CMO for McDonald’s and Warner Bros. Somehow, that title is the first to take the hit, regardless of the department leading the initiative. That’s just the way it is.

But, a great CMO is more than a marketer. Their # 1 job, customer acquisition, comes from being a forensic accountant, private investigator,  possessing innate curiousity, and a voracious student of trends others may not discover until they’ve become norms.

The demographic phenomenon known as the “silver tsunami”, will expand a brand’s market share dominance and could extend a CMO’s job tenure. The number ofCalifornia seniors  will increase 87% over the next two decades. As they’ve hit the magic retirement age, they’re disrupting convention by staying in the workforce.

Joseph Coughlin, founder of the MIT AgeLab and author of The Longevity Economy, describes the problem marketers are having getting their heads around the enormity of this age group

“Oldness as a social construct is at odds with the reality that constrains how we live after middle age and stifles business thinking on how to best serve a group of consumers, workers and innovators that is growing larger and wealthier with every passing day.”

This definition succinctly captures the starting point CMOs can undertake to proactively move their company’s portfolio into consideration for consumers that have another 25+ years of spending ahead of them. And they control 70% of the nation’s disposable income!

California is particularly poised as the best state to develop dedicated senior plans.With a projected 112% increase in senior growth, this segment is increasing at twice the rate of any other state.

  • They’re more active and in better shape. A 65-year old can expect another 20 years of life.  And it’s even longer for women.
  • Shopping online is not just for the young. 70% of seniors are e-commerce users.
  • The number of traditional TV viewing seniors approaches 2/3’s of the population, but streaming as an option is gaining quickly with 78% being internet users.
  • Over 50% aged 55-64 use streaming services.

Finding what senior consumers want is really a simple exercise. Dig into what they’re doing today to stay in shape, earn a paycheck, make a difference in their community and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Study the brands late 30 and 40-year olds were once loyal to and see if they’re still loyal. Tailoring your message to support  seniors who are experiencing service or product innovations will get results. Done right, you may need to ween yourself off marketing to millennials. After all, they don’t have all or even most of the money.

Photo by Monkey Business Images

CMOs Can Build a Winning California Senior Strategy by Targeting Caregivers

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Women aren’t just the caregiver, they’re the money managers too!

Every day for the next 20 years, 10,000 people in the U.S. will turn 65. Many will seek the help of a caregiver. Most will want to “age in place” and stay in their own home. Women will be the likely choice to provide the care and make their home the alternative to a senior care facility.

This fact alone should encourage CMOs to evaluate their brand offering with a senior strategy in mind and aimed at California seniors. And it starts with caregivers.

Why are women called The Chief Consumption Officers for the elderly?

  • They control 80%of the household wealth –
  • They outlive men, on average, by 7 years.
  • At 65 years old, their life expectancy is an additional 20+ more years.
  • Women will continue to consume and shop long after the passing of their husband
  • While some men act as caregivers, largely as the handyman, women are the nurturers – stemming from their maternal duties parenting.
  • The instinct to care for a child is essentially the same as caring for an adult- feeding, bathing, dressing and driving

Aging and women are at ease together because women possess the responsibility gene more so than men. Long before Siri or Alexia, there was the woman of the household… the one doing the chores, nursing, shopping, carpooling, banking and overseeing the repairs and attending to the needs and happiness of the family.

It’s not just hands-on care: 8 percent of baby boomers, 13 percent of Generation X and 19 percent of millennials are financially supporting a parent to the tune of $12,000 a year, according to a survey of 1,000 adults released this summer from TD Ameritrade.

Of the two sexes,  the women is the natural planner.  It has been said, when it comes to retirement, men are looking forward to relaxing – women are planning to grow old. 

Which is how they approach the role of caregiver. They develop a plan – what to buy, where to shop, and how to make that budget last. For CMOs, this consumer behavior is easy to track and target. By focusing on the women controlling the plan, the opportunities open up every day for new product entries.

But with the growing need for caregiving, there is both a talent pool issue and a silver lining on the horizon.

According to an AARP Public Policy Institute study, the ratio of caregivers to adults is dropping – now at 7 to 1. By 2030, this number nearly cuts in half to a ratio of 4 to 1. Caregiver tools and services are waiting to be innovated or created from an existing brand, with a senior benefit and dedicated marketing commitment. One opportunity could focus on California caregiver recruitment and retention. For those willing to follow the money, the potential is real.

Photo by Photographee.eu

California Seniors are Driving Well into their 80’s and Car Dealers are Noticing!

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What CMOs can learn from more years of consumption on the road ahead.

Few things are more devastating when you age than giving up your driving privileges. For the family, it means more shuttle duties. But to the senior, it can shorten their life. From your 16th birthday, or whatever the age you attained your driver’s license, your California driver’s license was literally your declaration of independence.

CMOs will be happy to discover that older drivers are not hitting the brakes anytime soon. And with the economic power and sheer population size of California, seniors can expect to drive well past their 80’s.

In the US., drivers 70+ represent 11% of the total population. That’s huge because mobility means money. And seniors hold 50% of the country’s wealth. The ability to continue driving means continuing to lead virtually the same life, consuming as they did in their 40’s and 50’s. California exceeds every data point that involves the automobile. This includes drive-thru restaurants, banks, grocery stores, gas stations, malls, etc. And the car or truck relies on money to stay on the road – from tires to insurance.

With the coming age wave, the opportunity with senior driver independence is only growing.

It’s not surprising the auto dealer business in California outperforms all states.

  • According to NADA data – California’s 1333 dealers have annual revenue of $120 billion
  • California drivers hold 12% of all registered cars in the country.

These data points speak directly to the auto ecosystem and the impact California seniors are having on the economy. And it’s going to get even better as the growth in senior drivers continues.

California, like most states, encourages longevity in one’s driving privileges. Licenses are renewed every five years, and until age 70 drivers may automatically be granted two five-year renewals by mail or online. Starting at 70, drivers must renew in person, taking a written test and eye exam.

And the data supports the accident rate among seniors/boomers to be dropping. And California Senior drivers are safer than all others on the road. Here are the key reasons:

  • They obey the speed limits and are less distracted
  • They tend not to drink or text while driving
  • Seniors drive fewer miles – 45% fewer annually than a 40-year-old
  • Seniors drive primarily during daylight hours

Auto insurance costs for seniors reflect their safer statistics on the road.

The average insurance quote for a 21-year-old is $2,124, while the average for someone aged 60 to 64 is $1,159. And the rate only goes up to $1,381 for someone 80 to 84.

Since 1997, Baby Boomers have swelled the 70+ population, but car accident fatalities per capita among older people has decreased 47%. And since 1975 it is now at its lowest level.

The Silver Rush in California is being driven in part by aging drivers. Having the freedom to go and shop wherever they choose should accelerate marketer’s decisions to join this “Silver Rush” now. It should be quite a ride.

Photo By Clark 1948 Cadillac via photopin (license)

Retailers – Best Buy, Amazon and CVS are Targeting California Seniors

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Some retailers are already embracing California’s “Silver Rush”

Seniors in American will top nearly 100 million over the next 20 years. And Best Buy, CVS and Amazon are not waiting to invest and build a relationship with the wealthiest consumer segment in the country.

Having just completed the $800 million purchase of Great Call, Best Buy sees the potential in focusing on an active, aging population.

“Today, 42 million Americans are caring for the needs of an aging family member. Great Call is dedicated to supporting caregivers with the latest information and resources.”

Great Call’s 900,000 paying subscriber base hit $300 million in revenue this year. The Golden State alone represents several hundred million in reoccurring subscription sales from California seniors.

They call it “connected help and personal emergency response” backed with real time, live, medical specialists and a suite of devices for helping seniors to remember their meds, self-diagnose a current health concern, and provide urgent assistance in an emergency.

Best Buy saw the potential with seniors, the wealthiest customer base, with trends pointing to their long life expectancy and continued consumer consumption.

“Now we have the opportunity to serve the aging population by combining GreatCall’s expertise with Best Buy’s unique merchandising, marketing, sales and services capacities.” Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly

Healthcare to seniors has always been a key discipline for the pharmacy retailer community. Just as Best Buy announced their GreatCall deal, CVS, with nearly 10,000 locations nationwide and approaching 900 locations in California alone, is bringing video healthcare to all population groups.

For seniors who have rapidly embraced technology usage, this move from CVS creates a stronger loyalty and link between senior shoppers and their more active lifestyles as well as their quest for information. CVS just increased accessibility for millions of California seniors with its CVS Minute Clinic rollout. This big news means time saving and more personal access to nurse practitioners, physicians, and assistants from their home or mobile device for $59 per online use.

CVS is smart to expand more boomer-oriented services in the medical field. This is because Amazon, the mother of all retailer disruption, is yet another company that is focusing even harder on America’s healthcare system and seniors.

Amazon spent $1 billion to buy Pill Pack, the online pharmacy that provides pre-packed doses, coordinates refills, and assures on time delivery. Needless to say, it fits right into the Amazon model.

Amazon has also formed an alliance with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to help drive down the costs of healthcare to their employees. These moves further underscore the fight over consumer’s healthcare expenditures, and a battle for senior loyalty and market share which CMOs should embrace.

Acquisitions and innovations like Best Buy, CVS and Amazon may seem just like another investment from three high volume players. But it’s driven in part by the ‘silver’ found in California’s hills–the nation’s largest senior adult population.

California seniors will be in their prime ‘healthcare utilization’ for years as many will choose to work well beyond age 65. As a result, CMOs across the retail spectrum should be asking – “what can our brand do to build trust and business from a dedicated senior strategy?” It’s time to join the “Silver Rush”.

Photo by Lakov Filmonov

5 Reasons to Start Your California Seniors Marketing Strategy

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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

California Seniors – “What’s in their wallet?”

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CMOs should consider these 5 dominant forces in their senior strategy development.

They are the aging consumers incorrectly lumped into the ‘old age bucket’. A bucket that labels anyone 65 or older as being on their way to a planned community, assisted living, or worse. And they’re not considered big shoppers. Really?

Every year in the U.S., seniors make informed purchase decisions spending up to $15 trillion dollars.

Since the age wave of 65+ is heading toward 100 million in the next 25 years, here’s more proof why targeting California seniors is a CMO’s best bet:

  • Between 1990 and 2020, an estimated 112% increase in California seniors will occur.
  • California’s senior growth rate is two times faster than any other state the U.S.
  • The growth rate in eleven California counties will exceed 150%

As you ponder where to begin your senior marketing strategy, consider this McKinsey study on the 5 dominant forces over the next 12 years that will effect the consumer landscape.

  1. Changing face of the consumer – it’s all about the aging population explosion
  2. Evolving geopolitical dynamics – economic power shift moves to the 65+
  3. New patterns of personal consumption – focus on health and wellness
  4. Technological advancements- by 2030, 3 out of 4 consumers will own a connected mobile device
  5. Structural Industry shifts – direct to consumer purchasing shifting toward seniors

The California Silver Rush is real. The economic contribution seniors play in the state’s economy should lead any CMO currently targeting the 18-49 to develop a senior strategy – just as was done decades ago for Hispanic, African-American and multicultural consumer segments.

As a CMO, few initiatives are more critical to the success of your brand and your job longevity than more customer acquisition.

Consider these characteristics of the California senior-dedicated strategy and budget:

  • They control the majority of the wealth/savings/assets in the state
  • They have more experience as consumers
  • They have been shoppers for ½ a century – they’re savvy and do their homework
  • Unlike millennials, they see advertising as a service in deciding where and what to buy
  • There’s a good chance they were customers of yours in the past. Are they still?

CMOs must reallocate their resources and move past the traditional barriers to growth and consumer age. They would be wise to go beyond the expected 18-49 target cutoff. In California, seniors are lining up to finally spend their nest egg.

Photo by Wavebreak Media