Tag: Brad Ball

Targeting California Seniors? CMOs Should Pick Women Over Men.


Women are California seniors’ economic power. Period!

Joseph F. Coughlin’s powerful book on aging and its implications on marketing, The Longevity Economy, said it best,

“The future is female.”

For California brands and services, the future is in California senior females. Overall, California’s female population is slightly more than half the state’s total 38 million–over 16 million women. Soon the largest segment will be women who are 50 and older.

We understand that for many CMOs, business is status quo – targeting the tried and true 18-49 year olds. But the huge age wave of seniors representing rich opportunities is knocking down the door and about to change the way products have been marketed. CMOs need to wake up and get started before their competitors beat them to it.

50+ Women are good for business:

  • Longevity is on the side of the female
  • Life expectancy means they’ll be potential customers 7 years longer than men
  • Women, even today, manage most of the household financial duties and the majority of upkeep around the house, shopping, etc.
  • They are on an empowerment upswing, gaining more access to senior leadership positions and larger salaries
  • Women tend to be the caregiver to other family members – this requires shopping across segments and industries.

Boston Consulting states that just 15% of companies have any sort of marketing or business strategy focused on older adults. Not shocking until you see it expressed in terms of who’s being targeted. Advertisers spend 500% more on millennials than on all other age groups combined. With California leading in virtually every demographic or economics statistic, women as consumers are the dominate force in California and this includes those 50+ and over.

All of this makes females the easiest place to start a focus on a senior  strategy in California. Women are better consumers given their dual duties in the workplace and at home. They are better shoppers out of necessity, having carried shopping duties due to the fact they are better, smarter, and more experienced shoppers. And their longevity makes the marketing investment worth every penny.

Tom Peters pointed out 36 years ago in, In Search of Excellence/’82, “women are the prime decision-makers in 94% of major spending decisions”  Women buy. Women rule. But it doesn’t stop there. They also influence or make:

  • Vacation decisions
  • House purchase decisions
  • D.I.Y home project decisions
  • Home electronics decisions
  • Home computer decisions
  • Car purchase decisions, (they are influential in 90%)
  • Bank account decisions
  • Household investment decisions
  • Small business loans and business starts decisions
  • Health care decisions

Retirement prospects for men focus around leisure and relaxation. Women are planning to grow old. This means they focus on solving the needs and challenges that come with living longer. Today’s marketers should make a concerted effort to address the different attitude of women and men as they approach retirement.

The time is now to build a California senior strategy. Women hold most of the cards and cash, which makes targeting them the best first step.

Photo by Monkey Business Images

It’s Time for CMOs to Think About Retirement!


Why targeting California Seniors should become a priority.

CMOs should think more about retiring – not theirs, but those 65 and older who have more time and wealth than any other segment! Population growth in California is a fact of life. And for California seniors, there’s a lot more life ahead of them to drive sales and share for decades to come.

The growth trends are significant:

  • Since 2010, California Seniors have increased 112%
  • During the same time period, 38 California counties will increase 150% by 2020.
  • And another 26 California counties will increase by 200%

With growth happening like this, one would assume that the largest and wealthiest population segment is in the line of sight for CMOs across every business segment. In truth, seniors are only targeted with 10% of paid media buys. And given the capability of more increased customer data than ever before, it is baffling to see such a “rich and ready” target essentially remain invisible to so many brands.

While pharma and travel rank high among senior spending, the vast majority of product categories that seniors buy are nearly identical to those younger consumers purchase.

Opportunities to focus on new, emerging targets is not new, especially in California.

Back in the 1980’s, the practice of specialization by agencies targeting highly measurable consumer groups began to appear in California as the ethnic demography began to change. An early agency specialty was Hispanic consumer marketing, followed by African-American and Multi-cultural marketing. General market audiences, while important, continued to shrink as a  percentage of the total shopper mix, especially in California. But the smart CMO, and the agencies they hired, went beyond the mere translation of general market creative. To have relevance in this new space, Hispanic marketing expertise was acquired by the general market agencies and Hispanic-centric agencies started growing. They successfully captured blue-chip clients seeking authenticity in the advertising aimed at the Hispanic consumer and the billions they had to spend.

Today, only a of handful of dedicated senior-focused agencies exist – a hugely disproportionate number considering the soon to be largest population segment in the country.

What those ‘daring’ enough have discovered is that today’s older consumers respond to creative and messaging that is relevant and respectful of someone who has been a consumer for the past 40-50 years. Imagine giving specific attention to the most experienced shoppers on the planets – ones who do their homework and seek value, but aren’t only looking at price.

This is the audience CMOs should embrace and make the effort to speak to on their terms.

CMOs should carve out a portion of their budget and  tailor the message with as much consideration for authentically as if it were for a Hispanic, African-American, multicultural or millennial target. The time is now since by the end of this decade, California will exceed 50 million in population, equal to 14% of U.S. total. With California seniors buying power and their desire to continue to consume almost anything, CMOs need to rethink their position on older audiences as new acquisition targets. Just imagine what success and added growth could mean to your own retirement someday.

Photo by Koldunov


History Repeats Itself. California’s “Silver Rush” for Seniors is on. 


In 1848, they were called California prospectors – today, they’re called CMOs

The history of California is all about the Gold Rush. 1848 Sutter’s Mill. Eureka! You know the story. When James Marshall discovered gold in January, ’48 the rush was on. Today it should be called the “Silver Rush” and the mining should be done by CMOs.

California experienced its first immigration wave from prospectors and business opportunists from around the world. Three quarters of the men in San Francisco left the city to pan for their fortune. Ironically, those who benefited the most financially were not the miners but rather than merchants who really struck it rich, selling what was needed to prospect for gold.

The “Silver Rush” is set to dwarf the riches unearthed in the 1850’s as our aging population is set to live longer and healthier and spend more than ever as they do. Consider this:

  • In 1900, life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
  • Today, it’s 80. Researchers predict ½ of babies born today will live to 100.
  • Healthier aging today will add 20 years to a senior’s life.
  • Better medicine, healthier habits, and active, working seniors are set to spend trillions as they age.

California Seniors will be the largest demographic group in the near future. The impact on the world’s 5th largest economy is waiting for CMOs to prospect directly to Californians whose longevity stats, coupled with spending power, mean rich targets of opportunity for CMOs prepared to commit dedicated messaging to them.

The retirement age is nothing more than a number as seniors are continuing to work or start second careers. Marketers have the best tools on earth to better target these seniors and yet, to date, most traditional brands are underspending against them, using the same creative as they use for younger consumers, or ignoring them altogether.

Just as prospectors 150 years ago needed tools to unearth a vein of gold or minerals containing silver, the future is waiting for CMOs who venture out West to mine the richest deposits of age, wisdom, and wealth in history. History can repeat itself in very positive ways for those who learn from it.

Photo by the National Library of Ireland on The Commons The Quays in Sligo via photopin (license)

About Brad Ball

Co-Author of The Silver Rush: Marketing to the California Senior; Partner Silver Advertising- former- CMO SkyZone; VP Entetainment NASCAR, President Theatrical Marketing Warner Bros;CMO McDonald’s, Partner DBC Advertising.

photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia Miners working in a gold mine at Gympie, Queensland Miners Gympie Qld via photopin (license)

A CMO’s Key to Billions in Revenue from California’s Senior Consumers


It starts where older consumers want to live – in their own home.

Aging in place is really just ‘living in the same place as an older consumer’.  

As a former CMO, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of ‘aging in place’ until my parent’s health declined. Over a 7 year period, they went from fully functioning people living in the same home for the past 25 years, to in-home nursing care and then, to full-time nursing care. We promised to keep them in their home as long as possible until medical attention and 24 hr. care necessitated the move.

Looking back, it’s easy to see that aging and consuming have huge marketing potential when viewed together.

The aging of our population is having a profound impact on the economy. For CMOs that embrace the opportunity that comes with a dedicated ‘senior strategy’ vs. ‘we cover them off with our existing budget’, the true winners are a more respected and loyal senior consumer base. Not to mention the enhanced CMO job security that comes with increased market share.

Consider this:

  • Globally, by 2047 more 60+ year olds will overtake those younger in 15, G7 countries.
  • If you reach 60 in ‘full health’, U.S. seniors can live an average of 19 years longer

The financial wealth attributed to those who continue to work and those who stay active is staggering.  In the U.S., seniors control over 50% of our country’s discretionary income.

Aging in place is all about the life seniors led up to this point. They stay in their own home for all the obvious reasons –   closer to friends/neighbors, favorite restaurants and shopping and maybe most of all, they avoid the trauma of starting over.

It’s also about remaining independent–to drive, shop, travel, and socialize as if they were 25 years younger. Mobility and one’s home are life extenders.

With 2.3 trillion dollars in their possession on a national level, seniors retired or not, never fully retire from consuming goods and services. In fact, seniors outspend in almost every category compared to what younger consumers spend.

Aging in place means  keeping the aging family member in their home longer. Home builders are listening. Remodeling businesses and DIY home centers are the big winners, especially for those who are passionate about doing it themselves and have the time and money. And it signals they’re planning to continue their life’s routine – work, travel, and fun. In other words, they continue to spend as they stay independent.

A higher percentage of 65+ continue to work. And spend, controlling over 50% of discretionary income in the U.S. As they work well past the retirement age, advances in medicine, and more active, healthier living, mean marketers can look to another two decades of targeted, personalized and appreciative shopping.

Aging in place offers CMOs real opportunities to continue marketing across multiple categories to consumers who don’t view another birthday as a sign to call to the movers!

Photo by Fotoluminate LLC


California Seniors Consume Almost Everything


CMOs need to consider the buying power of California’s senior adults.

Being a CMO is all about getting into the heads of their prospective targets, shopping habits, media usage and what it takes to build loyalty once a consumer has selected your company’s brand. It would be assumed that the largest and most wealthy population segment is smack dab in the line of sight of CMOs across across the country. But the truth is, the prime target group of consumers across almost every business segment averages only 10% of all paid media buys.And that group is America’s senior population.
Seniors spend 5 times what the coveted millennials spend and California seniors lead the country. Given the capability through customer acquisition data to know more about consumers than ever, its baffling to see such a “rich and ready” target being over-looked.
  • Millions of seniors live in California and they are increasing at staggering levels
  • Compared to the early 2000’s, 38 California counties will see senior growth increase 150% by 2020. 26 other counties will increase by a whopping 200
While pharma and travel rank at the top of the senior targeting industries, the vast majority of product categories that seniors buy are largely identical to those younger consumers purchase. But, when asked ‘what’s your senior strategy?’ too many CMOs appear to hesitate a bit and usually respond that they’re covered by their current targeting methodology. Really?
Back in the 1980’s, the practice of specialization by advertising agencies, targeting highly measurable consumer groups, began to appear.  For example, here in California, as the ethnic demography began to change, the leading advertising agency specialty was Hispanic consumer marketing. Hispanic centric agencies started to capture blue chip client accounts as CMOs sought authenticity in the advertising they created aimed at the Hispanic consumer .
It’s incredible today that there are only a handful of dedicated senior-focused agencies. This is a hugely disproportionate number considering that seniors are soon to be largest population segment in the country. 
There are also few CMOs who have a legitimate marketing focus to reach older consumers. Many lack the creative and messaging that is relevant and respectful of someone who has been a consumer for the past 40-50 years.  Imagine having respect for the most experienced shoppers on the planets – the ones who do their homework, know how to negotiate and seek value but aren’t only looking at price. That’s what I call an opportunity.

Photo by time to rest via photopin (license)

California Seniors Adopting the Digital Tools They Invented!


Use of digital devices by seniors continues growth trend.

OK admit it, you laugh a little when you see a senior with a cell phone whose buttons are the size of a quarter.

But, remember this, that device with its special ‘age consideration features’, was imagined, engineered, funded, produced, and marketed by those people you now consider “old”.

30 years ago, seniors were the millennials even though that term didn’t exist.

  • eMarketer estimates 78,3% of boomers will be internet users this month.
  • U.S. internet users 55-64 who use video services and devices hit 48%, while those 65+ hit 34%.
  • 64 -year olds watch almost 43 hours of live or time-shifted TV per week.

With the U.S. population about to be dominated by boomers 55+ over the next 10 years, CMOs would be wise to remember that many of the products we all take for granted were created by the prior generation. They not only dreamed them up, they made them a reality – from jet travel to remote control television sets. But now, this same generation are the most populace and economically equipped cohort in the U.S. Clearly, this is a segment CMOs should work harder to embrace.

And with all the content viewing of seniors, largely undistracted by multi-tasking, it makes them ideal targets to advertiser messaging aimed at them. Seniors are the wealthiest target a CMO could hit. How does $2.3 trillion sound?


It is estimated that 64.4% of seniors will be smart phone users this year, a ringing endorsement for the “mobile- first strategy” deployed by CMOs everywhere. Now use it to capture your share of smart phone and digital leaning seniors.

Digital devices, platforms and services designed to monitor health and wellness are among the growth areas CMOs should target. After all:

  • Aging in place numbers are increasing. Devices that connect one to their physician is the holy grail for marketers
  • CMOs can become the tipping point for aging in place seniors to embrace in-home health/safety monitoring
  • CMOs can close the “action needs to catch up with intention” gap. (Source: Scripps Networks Interactive)
  • Under the category of indispensable aging-in-place technology are home alarm systems – smoke, fire, water, burglary. (source: Orlov)
  • Smart speakers such as Echo have already captured over 31% of boomers and is rising.

Boomers were the millennials of the day – the risk takers who created the start-ups and took the jobs to find the ‘next thing’. As eMarketer states-

“It’s easy to forget that boomers were once computer-age pioneers. They were the ones that made the personal computer a common household appliance. The ones who made email a normal means of communication.”

The Golden State is the birthplace of the digital revolution and California seniors are its parents. Silicon Valley and various garages put the “personal” in the computer. With a combined net worth in the trillions, seniors across the country are just waiting to be courted. CMOs need to adopt their own ‘Silver Rush’ sense of urgency to capture their fair share.

Photo by Lazy Focus

California Seniors are Driving New Car Growth


Here’s why older drivers are good news for CMOs!

The Golden State is turning Silver. Seniors (55+) are growing at the fastest rate of any age group in California and across the U.S.. And turning 65-years old brings with it the prospect to retire, start a second career and play more golf. But in every case, the desire and reality of driving your own car remains a key element in maintaining your lifestyle and connections. Over 26 million registered drivers live in California and statistically more and more are 70+.

California has 12% of the total U.S. new-vehicle registrations and its car dealer network at $120 billion in sales a year should get a CMOs attention.  Seniors are a big segment of these buyers.

On a national basis, the older-driver segment is growing the fastest:

  • Drivers over 50-years old reached nearly 93.5 million in 2013 – an increase of 22 percent since 2003 – resulting in 44 % of total licensed drivers.
  • Drivers over 85 years old remain the fastest growing demographic group, nearly doubling from 1.76 million in 1998 to 3.48 million in 2013 – the second-highest amount ever recorded.
  • Drivers age 60 and older represented almost 26 percent of all licensed drivers in 2014, up from 20 percent in 2004. (https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/average-miles-driven-per-year-by-state.aspx)

Given the age wave, CMOs should dig into the importance and psychological impact that driving holds for this older consumer segment. Nothing defines senior independence more than having a current driver’s license and their own car or access to one. Studies have shown an increase in mortality rates and depression among those who have had their license revoked or not renewed.

The California DMV has extended the renewal rate to every 5 years. This is in large part due to a reduction in driving accidents and mortality linked to seniors in California. Seniors are more likely to regulate their driving times, (i.e. more daytime driving than at night) and limit their annual miles driven.

Also, seniors have the financial ability to finance, lease, or simply keep their current car on the road. Given the wealth held by seniors – their outright cash used to purchase is highest of any buyer segment. When it comes to highway safety, Californian statistics further demonstrate that younger drivers are more likely to be in an accident than seniors.

Auto manufactures are making driver-assist safety features that bodes especially well for seniors thanks to these technology options:

  • FCW – forward collision warning alerts
  • AEB -automatic emergency braking
  • LDA -lane departure assist
  • BSW – blind spot warnings act as seat companions for seniors drivers

The opportunity for brands and services built around automobile usage by seniors is another marketing opportunity. As every car owners learns, the monthly payment is just the beginning. – tires, service, parts and fuel as well as insurance, body shops, and personalized accessories marketed with a ‘senior sensibility’ could yield added loyalty and sales.

Seniors are ‘service oriented’ – they appreciate the extra attention often needed when shopping or trying something new for the first time. Imagine a bold, daring idea by one of the big oil companies – pumping gas for senior drivers at the self-service rate. Talk about differentiation!

CMOs can find competitive advantages and build highly targeted and compelling connections with California senior drivers – whether they emphasize the newest driver assist features or reminders that encourage seniors to leverage their independence and go take a drive.

Photo by Russian Guzov