Tag: Brian Morris

Grandparents: The Marketing Potential of Targeting these California Seniors

Silver Advertising California Seniors

Grandparents are the Gifts that Keep Giving

A demographic target audience which is solely based on age, gender, and income only tells part of the story. Smart marketers realize that behavior and the life stage of consumers can often times determine buying habits that are more revealing and actionable.

And today’s media—especially online media, can pinpoint potential life-stage consumers precisely. Such is the case for the big and fast growing consumer group consisting of grandparents—a sub-segment of seniors that is spending billions of dollars a year and is ready to spend even more in a variety of product categories. To say that there is untapped potential with grandparents as a consumer segment is quite an understatement. The numbers, extrapolated from an AARP study, are staggering:

  • It’s estimated that there are approximately 90,000,000 grandparents in the U.S. That’s about 12 million in California alone.
  • About 75,000 Americans between the ages of 45-69 become grandparents each month
  • 89% of grandparents say they enjoy buying gifts for their grandkids
    • 25% say they spend up to $250 per year
    • 24% say they spend between $250 and $750
    • 25% spend over $1,000 annually
  • As for what they spend on their grandkids, the categories vary:
    • 95% say they buy birthday and holiday gifts including toys, books and clothes
    • 53% help with educational expenses
    • 37% contribute to everyday living expenses
    • 23% help with the cost of medical/dental expenses
    • 41% spend for the child’s overall well-being
    • 43% spend on activities that are fun to do with them

Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO of Grandparents.com, put it this way:

“The grandparent life stage accounts for a multi-billion marketplace ranging from products to services to educational investments. With grandparents today being more active and aware than ever before, the avenues for spending are varied and deep.”

On a personal note, I’m about to become a grandparent for the first time in a couple of months. And our future grandson is being spoiled before he’s a day old. We’ve already purchased a car seat, a stroller, a baby seat for the back of a bicycle, and a number of books, toys and clothes. And all this coming before the baby shower! I must say we’ve never spent money with such pleasure. I was even tempted to buy a little baseball glove, a tiny surfboard, and a miniature set of golf clubs until I was reminded that I was a few years early on those. My grandparent friends smile at me because they get it. No shopping is as fun or as rewarding as spending money on grandchildren.

My wife and I don’t understand why we’re not being advertised to by marketers who are spending their budgets on parents, while largely overlooking grandparents. Creating a specific grandparent strategic plan consisting of creative and media with them in mind seems like the easiest and smartest way to grab the lowest hanging fruit. Grandparents are receptive and anxious to spend. And that could mean big profits for CMO’s everywhere.

Photo by Monkey Business Images

 

A Fun Way to Market to California Seniors

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The marketing opportunity to educate California seniors about the benefits of having fun and how your product fits into that fun lifestyle.

In a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal written by Clare Ansberry, she quotes Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Way,

“Seniors have more time to have fun—7 1/2 hours of leisure a day compared with 35-to-44 year olds, who have only around 4 hours.”

He goes on to presume that “older adults are at a loss for how to fill that time” which he says may explain why the average retiree watches 48 hours of TV each week. (Nielsen)

Ms. Ansberry goes on to write

“But many adults forget how to have fun. They’ve spent the past 40 years showing up for work every day, paying off mortgages, getting kids through school and taking care of aging parents. Having fun and being spontaneous – key elements of fun and play—get lost. Fun is important at every age, but can be even more beneficial as we grow older. The very things associated with it—laughter, levity, enjoyment and diversion can act as antidotes to stress, depression, and anxiety.”

In California, year-round outdoor activities can add to a fun, healthy and happy senior lifestyle. In an article entitled 7 Reasons Why People Age Better in California, Ann Brenoff writes that

“Californians, in general, are happier. Among other things she says, “exposure to sunlight combats depression and lifts spirits.”

And there are so many opportunities here to hike, bike, ski, play tennis and golf, enjoy the beach and enjoy the latest craze, pickleball. Maybe the California active lifestyle is a big reason why the life expectancy of 80.8 is the 4th highest of any state. And more importantly, California’s “healthy life expectancy”, which factors in illness and injury, is 67.7 which ranks 3rd in the U.S.

Of course, outdoor activities aren’t the only way to have fun. People have a wide variety of choices of how to have fun and play. As a California senior, while I enjoy outdoor activities like playing golf and going to the beach, I also love to go to movies and restaurants with my wife and friends, hang out with my kids, relax with a glass of wine or two, and get ready for this, I have fun at work. Without a passion for something, without a fun and active life, you’ve got a sedentary lifestyle. And a sedentary lifestyle is associated with decreased mental alertness, higher levels of stress, poor sleep quality, low self-worth, higher rates of disability, and diminished quality of life (Worldatlas) Now does that sound fun?

In his book, The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market, Dr. Joseph Coughlin talks about new ways to redefine seniors as a marketing opportunity.

“We’re living longer than ever and these bonus years are opening up vast new possibilities for products, services, and experiences.” He adds “Building the future of fun in a society where 100 years old is the new normal is perhaps the longevity economy’s largest growth opportunity.”

Photo by Benjamin Morris

Marketing Opportunities with California Seniors

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Like a tsunami, the California “silver rush” is coming and it’s time to develop a senior marketing strategy before your competition beats you to it.

A new California Gold Rush is on the way! This time, however, it’s more of a Silver Rush as marketers slowly, but steadily, discover the sales potential of California’s silver-haired consumers. All 7,000,000 of them! This sub-segment has been virtually ignored to date, but accounts for nearly half of consumer spending in the state. Companies that “mine” seniors first, and in the right way, are sure to be rewarded handsomely. After all, California seniors have been trend setters for years and they intend to stay that way. And importantly, as California goes, so goes the rest of the U.S.

California has a long history of firsts that have mushroomed across the country. Consumers in the state started trends like sushi in the 60’s, yoga in the 70’s, and bottled water in the 80’s. Additionally, they were first to ban smoking in the 90’s, and were responsible for the green/organic food movement of the 2000’s. The surfing culture thrived here, as did multi-cultural fusion of cuisines, drive-through restaurants, the motion picture industry, and of course, all the technical innovations of the Silicon Valley. And many of the consumers who fueled those movements then, are California seniors now.

California marketers that are curious as to whether their products and services are relevant and desirable to seniors should start by auditing their current sales and marketing efforts to seniors and begin to brainstorm what they could do with their marketing budget, product, packaging, pricing, distribution, and promotions to work harder and earn a positive ROI. Perhaps new and targeted creative and media is the answer for existing products. Many times, however, the solution is in new products, line-extensions, sub-brands, or new brands altogether.

Just as a creative exercise, imagine the following:

  • What would a hearing aid look like if it were designed by Apple?
  • What would a senior clothing line or even a hospital gown look like if it were designed by Mossimo?
  • Why can’t wheel chairs look cool?
  • What if those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner in hotel showers had type that could actually be read by seniors?
  • What would a senior product section in a grocery store consist of? Better yet, why aren’t there entire grocery stores designed with seniors in mind?
  • Why aren’t there more TV shows written and produced for seniors that are as good and authentic as This is Us is for its target?
  • Where are more movies like On Golden Pond and Driving Miss Daisy? (Too many fall into the trap of stereotypes and clichéd humor!)
  • What if somebody produced an English drama on TV that seniors could actually hear and understand?
  • What if a marketer produced an expensive and entertaining TV commercial for a “senior” product and aired it on the Super Bowl? Revolutionary!
  • Why aren’t there video games for seniors?
  • Why don’t car companies position or design cars for seniors?

The sad truth is that too many marketers either don’t know about the upcoming California silver rush or don’t have marketing partners to pull it off. The good news is that it’s not too late to get on board.

Photo by wavebreakmedia

About Brian Morris

Partner Silver Advertising, specializing in marketing to Seniors. Co-Author of The Silver Rush: Marketing to the California Senior.

 

The Importance of Having the Right Resources When Targeting California’s Seniors

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When it comes to marketing to California’s seniors, it takes one to know one!

The opportunity is there. 7,000,000 California seniors who are mostly ignored or disrespected by marketers. With more buying power than any other demographic segment, marketers are just now beginning to realize the huge potential of senior consumers and the importance of getting their message to them ahead of their competitors. But knowing about the potential is only half the battle. Having the right resources, with a knowledge and sensitivity to the target audience, is critical to successful selling.

As for me, being referred to as a “senior” doesn’t bother me. After all, I share some common characteristics with this consumer segment including:

  • I’m 65 years old, but think of myself as 10 to 15 years younger (until I’m buying something online and need to scroll and scroll downward to find 1953)
  • I’m still working and don’t plan on stopping any time soon
  • I’ve become less brand loyal and less status conscious
  • I expect deals and discounts. And I’m not embarrassed using coupons.
  • Now that the kids are out of the house, my wife and I downsized and simplified
  • I exercise more and eat healthier than ever
  • I get most of my news online, but still enjoy an occasional newspaper
  • I’m nostalgic about music and events of my youth, but try to stay current and contemporary

As far as the advertising and marketing industry is concerned, too many ad agencies believe that older people don’t understand social media, they’re too expensive, and they need a younger staff to work on large, youth-oriented categories such as fast food, soft drinks, beer, video games, and telecommunications. According to Nancy Martin, Director-talent at TBWA,

“There’s a commonly held conception that to be creative, you need to know what’s hot, what music is cool, what website is all the rage, and with age, you become less aware of those things by and large”

That might explain why the average age of the staff in ad agencies is 38 and why more than 60% of employees in the ad industry are 25-44. What’s more, the average age of a creative is 27, and just 5% of agency employees are over 50.(Forbes Magazine) Meanwhile, there’s a large and skilled talent pool consisting of older advertising professionals that has been pushed out of the business. No wonder 32% of advertising professionals say they experienced ageism and 79% say they work in an ageist industry.

Assuming there’s some truth to younger employees being a better fit for products aimed at younger consumers, there are still huge brands and companies that market (or should market) to consumers aged 55+. After all, seniors represent half of the population and control over 50% of the nation’s disposable income. And importantly, they account for $46 trillion in wealth! (Forbes Magazine) It’s time for CMOs to question the experience of their resources for their older customers and time for older and experienced advertising and marketing professionals to help them understand and communicate to this large, untapped, and growing demographic.

Photo by Benjamin Morris

Marketing to Healthy-Eating California Seniors

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Healthy eating by California’s seniors can lead to healthy profits for marketers.

California has a reputation for being the home to people who eat healthy, have an active lifestyle, and have an upbeat attitude. But is this reputation deserved or more of a myth? And if it is true, how does it apply to seniors, and what does it mean for marketers trying to reach this target audience?

There is evidence that supports many of the “stereotypes’ of the state. According to The United Health Foundation, California ranks 3rd in the nation in “health behaviors” which measures such things as diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, and preventative care visits to doctors and dentists. So it’s not surprising that the state has a life expectancy of 80.9 which is 2nd in the U.S.

As far as diet is concerned, Californians are known as healthier eaters. They eat more servings of fruits and vegetables than residents of any other state. But for California’s 7,000,000 seniors, it can be a different story. Consistent with the rest of the country, approximately 1 in 4 older Californians have poor nutrition. And as they get older, their nutritional needs, appetite, and food habits change in many ways. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that seniors need to be mindful of the following:

  • Seniors need to eat more foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Many seniors experience a loss of appetite with age. It’s also common for seniors to have their sense of taste and smell diminish. These factors lead to malnutrition and health problems.
  • Since seniors often do not notice when they are thirsty, it’s especially important for them to make a conscious effort to stay hydrated
  • Many seniors have less social interactions which can turn mealtimes into a chore rather than an enjoyable experience

Marketers can help educate and provide seniors with solutions to healthier eating. The National Institute on Aging suggests:

  1. Help make eating more of a social event
  2. Provide them with healthy meal planning and portion control solutions
  3. Add more flavors to their food using herbs and spices
  4. Provide foods that are softer for their teeth and gums
  5. Develop products that are specifically created to address the fiber, vitamins and minerals that seniors need

The adult nutritional section in stores is a sad place. All too often, food is being marketed too much like medicine. Packaging, product names, graphics, and nutritional information are presented in a boring, clinical manner that appears anything but delicious or appealing. Packaged-goods marketers can easily stand out as a brand that “gets” seniors. And in California, with the most Hispanics and Asians in the country, imagine the opportunity for senior-oriented products created just for them. The opportunity starts with the right products, but should continue with the same “senior sensitivity” in pricing, advertising and distribution.

In the U.S., seniors account for nearly $230B of consumer sales. And much of this is made up of food-related products. The 2010 U.S. Census shows the senior age group is, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percentage. And it’s the fastest growing! It’s time for brands to address this target with more products with them in mind. And there’s no better way to do that than to provide nutritional and delicious food products that add healthy years to their lives.

Photo by Goran Bogicevic

Quality Time Remaining and Marketing to California’s Seniors

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How understanding “QTR” can give marketers an advantage with California’s senior consumers.

QTR, as an acronym and attitude about life, is growing in awareness and popularity—especially with seniors. Standing for Quality of Life Remaining, those adopting a QTR perspective have a growing sense of their own mortality and a feeling about how many years they might have left to live a fulfilling, enjoyable, and meaningful life. Since every person has their own idea about what makes up QTR and how it motivates their attitudes and behavior, the goal for marketers is to understand how to position your products and services to fit this mindset.

Importantly, QTR is not just about life expectancy, it’s about a healthy life expectancy, which factors in the absence of serious illness or injury. These two numbers can be quite different. For instance, the current life expectancy for California’s 7,000,000 seniors is 80.8 years old. That ranks California 4th in the U.S. But according to the CDC, the healthy life expectancy in the state is 67.7 years old. Remarkably, that seemingly low healthy life expectancy is the 3rd best of any of state. (CDC) With an average age of retirement at 68 years old (Bureau of Labor Statistics), it’s obvious that QTR is not just about what life should or could be like when one stops working. Increasingly, people are typically motivated to adopt the QTR point of view as early as in their 50’s, and for some, even earlier.

Joanna Campbell in her article “QTR-And Why It Matters” outlines some key questions that help define how people can approach the concept of QTR for planning the rest of their lives. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Who and what matters to me?
  2. Who and what take up a lot of time and effort—and are a waste of time and effort?
  3. What joys do I overlook or under-appreciate?
  4. What do I need to accomplish in the time that I have left?
  5. What am I putting off that matters?
  6. What do I need to change that I should change?

My first taste of QTR occurred in graduate school when we were given the assignment of looking into the future and then writing our own obituary. I can honestly say writing my obituary helped shape what I wanted to do for a living, my feelings about family life, and what kind of accomplishments I would be proud of. The assignment also forced me to think about how I wanted to be remembered. Powerful stuff for a 22-year old to ponder. And by the way, I still have a lot to do to make that obituary a reality.

For marketers, the trick is how to gently remind the senior target that the time is now to buy your product or use your service. They need to be motivated to go on that Mediterranean Cruise now. Don’t put off that Harley Davidson purchase a minute longer. Take your grandkids to LegoLand this weekend. Don’t delay in buying that big screen TV, learning to play the piano, joining a gym, eating better, reading more books, seeing more movies, trying new restaurants, learning to speak Spanish, whatever. The point is, someday is not soon enough. Your potential consumers are not going to live forever, but you can help them extend their Healthy Life Expectancy, and just as importantly, help them extend their Happy Life Expectancy.

Photo by Benjamin Morris

Exercise and Surfing. Important Factors in Marketing to California Seniors

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How marketers can benefit from the healthy and active California senior lifestyle.

Californians have the led the country in a variety of trends over the years. And none have been more important than the trend of seniors living longer and healthier lives. As stated by Elder Options On-line Directory (EO),

“As you grow older, an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost energy, maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of aging. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory.”

Similarly, in an article titled 7 benefits of exercise for the Elderly, BT reports that weight-bearing exercise and regular cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking can help people live longer lives, prevent falls, reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack, increase bone density, reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, prevent or delay diseases, and improve confidence.

The California lifestyle is more conducive to exercise because of its weather, geography and youthful attitude. Seniors are walking, hiking, bicycling, skiing, playing tennis, golf, and pickleball to name a few active pastimes. They’re also surfing! In fact, it’s estimated that of California’s 7,000,000 seniors, over 200,000 surf regularly. And according to the San Diego Surfing School, there are some real benefits of surfing for seniors such as:

  1. Seniors who surf will burn up to 400 calories per hour
  2. Since surfing uses all limbs, seniors will have a thorough workout
  3. Surfing is a form of exercise that benefits their minds and bodies
  4. Surfing is a great sport to encourage socializing with fellow surfing enthusiasts
  5. Connecting with nature, particularly the beach, gives seniors a whole new level of experience that makes them feel younger and more vital

Surfing for Life, a 68-minute documentary, shows profiles of some of surfing’s most famous legends riding the waves into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The film highlights Californian John “Doc” Ball who at 93 is the oldest known American surfer. And as “Doc” puts it, “The sea is great medicine. It keeps you young.”

California recently declared surfing as the state’s “Official Sport.” Says State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who sponsored the declaration,

“I think surfing really stands apart not only for being an iconic part of California’s culture, but also for the environmental message of respecting and protecting our ocean and our environment.”

Plus, Muratsuchi estimates that surfing generates more than $6B to the state’s economy each year.

California marketers who picture seniors living sedentary lifestyles need to re-think this active and vital demographic. And there’s an untapped financial reason to do so. After all, seniors control nearly 50% of spending in the state, yet receive only 10% of marketing dollars! (AARP) There’s an opportunity to not only market products that are related to their many and varied active pursuits, but there is an equally important opportunity to market the attitude of a healthy, active and positive older consumer. Just envision a smiling and fit senior coming out the surf holding their board. If that’s not a reminder of the opportunity of this population segment, I don’t know what is.

Photo by Rawpixel

 

The Diversity of California Seniors is a Marketing Opportunity

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The diversity of California’s seniors needs to be taken into account when developing a senior marketing strategy.

Like many target audiences, the senior segment has distinct sub-segments which vary by age, income, education, retirement status, and behavior among other factors. In California, diversity is a huge “other factor” that calls for variables such as ethnicity, country of birth, and the level of acculturalization be taken into account when developing a senior marketing strategy.

The population of minorities in the U.S. accounts for approximately 100 million of the 300 million total. And a whopping 20% of the nation’s minorities live in California! (U.S. Census) In fact, California is the first large state without a white plurality. Two major ethnicities dominate the “minority” population of the state. As of 2015, 38.9% of Californians stated they were Hispanic (verses 37.5 percent White) and 14.1% stated they were Asian. Combined, that means nearly 21,000,000 residents of California are either Hispanic or Asian (U.S.Census) Importantly, that translates to nearly 4,000,000 Hispanic and Asian seniors who are under-marketed to or ignored all together by most marketers. Given that Hispanics spend over $200 billion annually in California and Asians add another $163 billion (Nielsen Consumer Panel Services), and considering that seniors could represent nearly half of those amounts, the sub-segment of seniors represents a big opportunity for marketers who recognize its potential before their competitors do.

Here are some other facts to consider when developing a senior strategy for important minority sub-segments in California:

  1. Nearly 43% of California residents speak a language other than English at home—far more than any other state (U.S. Census)
  2. 76% of the Hispanic market prefers to be marketed to in Spanish (Cheskin Research)
  3. Over 200 languages are spoken and read in California (U.S. Census)
  4. Poorly translated marketing materials are a common complaint with minority consumers (Tony Malaghan, U.S. Hispanic consultant)
  5. As many as 50% of minorities who are seniors are not yet acculturated to the U.S. Yet they quickly become brand loyal to popular American products and services. (U.S. Consumer Panel Services)
  6. California’s population has a higher number of Hispanics, Asians, and Whites than any other state. The most seniors as well! (U.S. Census)
  7. Asians are the fastest growing ethnic group in California and are the most affluent and educated of all minority segments (Nielsen)
  8. The Asian market is comprised primarily of people of Chinese decent. Then Filipino, Vietnamese, and Koreans (U.S. Census)
  9. The California Hispanic segment is dominated by people of Mexican decent. Then from countries in Central America, then from countries in South America. (U.S. Census)

Although ethnic groups in California are very different from each other in many ways, they have some common traits as it relates to marketing. Advertising and marketing need to express the right attitude and include the shared cultural values of the target. This is especially true for seniors who are first or second generational. And because their cultures have more respect for their elders than is typically found in America, marketers who show the same level of respect to them will be rewarded quickly. This means creating marketing plans that are developed specifically for them and sometimes with creative in their native language. Marketers must also be aware of cultural differences among the various countries of origin within segments, and know that “one size does not fit all.”

Photo by Andy Dean Photography

Marketing Respect for the California Senior

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If seniors are shown respect and attention, they’ll reward marketers with their wallet—a wallet that is bursting at the seams.

“Respect your elders.” We’ve all heard those words since we were young children. And not only did we hear it, it became part of our belief system for our whole lives. Unfortunately, younger generations don’t seem to embrace it quite like we did, and apparently, neither do many of today’s marketers.

Here in California, 7 million seniors, or should I say consumers, are being largely disrespected or ignored. Sure, we see our share of erectile dysfunction commercials, ads for all kinds of diseases we hope we’ll never get, commercials for romantic cruises on European rivers, retirement plans, and we can’t avoid the king of them all, the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercial for Life Call. Ugh. But where is the advertising for all the products and services with broad appeal across all age groups? In other words, where are the marketing dollars for the appropriate sales levels for seniors?

In California and nationally, seniors account for nearly half of all consumer spending, but are targeted with just 10% of marketing dollars. (AARP) Retail sales in California in 2017 totaled nearly $667B. Yes, they’re buying, but like any other target audience, imagine what they would be spending (on your product in particularly) if they received a proportionate marketing spend.

There are a couple of reasons why seniors aren’t being marketed to sufficiently. In most cases, marketers simply are not aware of the size and potential of the opportunity. Others believe that marketing only to their core or “heavy user” is the smartest strategy. But clearly, young men aren’t the only people consuming fast food, soft drinks, beer, and potato chips. And millennials aren’t the only people buying cell phones, computers, running shoes, cars, movie tickets, and cosmetics. So if a marketer sees 15% or more of their products’ sales going to consumers aged 55+, what’s the right strategy? Here are a few tips:

  1. Realize that right now is the time to establish a competitive advantage. The numbers are too big and the opportunity is becoming too obvious to wait.
  2. Consider testing on a limited scale. Pick a few markets to test an ROI that can be scaled up if successful. Since many trends begin in California, consider California seniors as a place to start.
  3. Develop product, pricing, messaging, media and marketing plans specifically with the senior in mind. Recycling existing pieces of the marketing mix is not usually effective.
  4. Commit to a budget that has a good chance of succeeding
  5. Production values, tonality, casting, lighting, direction, etc. matter. Don’t insult the target by looking like you don’t mean it.
  6. Consider an appropriate/different resource for your senior strategy. The average age of a “creative” in U.S. agencies is 28 years old. Do they really “get” the senior target?

Seniors were once in charge. They’re baffled that they’ve been abandoned as desirable consumers. It’s a perfect time to show them the attention and respect they deserve.

Photo by Benjamin Morris

Look Beyond Age When Marketing to California’s Seniors

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When marketing to the California senior, age is just a number.

A senior is not a senior. Especially in California. Seniors are a group of people who have been clustered together for the convenience of market researchers and trend forecasters. Some define this segment as people aged 50 and over, other use 55+, while even others use 60+. The starting point used makes a big difference because the total population for 50+ is roughly 108M, 55+ is about 87M, and 60+ is estimated at 65M. (US Census) The two groups that consist of 55+ have been named Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964) and The Silent Generation (born from 1928 to 1945). These groups have been segmented based on societal factors (ie: wars, economy, world events, etc.) and their life experiences resulting from their time in history.

The key to understanding “seniors” from a marketing perspective is to go beyond age and to better understand the similarities and differences of the sub-segments within it.

Boomers (aged 54 to 72 in 2018)

In general, Boomers are bound together by political assassinations, the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Rights, and the Vietnam War. Verses prior generations, they tend to be associated with freedom and experimentation. Boomers also tend to value work and see work as being central to their lives.

The Silent Generation (aged 73 to 90 in 2018)

Unlike generations that followed, this group was more of a “we” generation than a “me” generation. After all, they were part of our country’s defeat of the Axis powers in World War II. They have a sense of purpose and duty to country and worked extremely hard to better themselves. Unfortunately, due to the Depression and World War II, they can also be “grave, fatalistic and withdrawn” (Time Magazine)

The broad-stroked similarities mentioned above don’t fully explain how complicated and diverse seniors really are. Dig deeper and one can segment them into a number of attitude and behavioral-based groups that can be much more relevant and actionable for marketers. Here are some titles within the segment that attempt to do just that:

  • I am still young
  • My time to rest and relax
  • Adventure seekers
  • Tech embracers
  • Let’s see the world
  • Cocooners
  • Let’s re-locate
  • Entertain me
  • Still driven to succeed
  • Very retired
  • Still working, still everything
  • New part-time job
  • Looking forward
  • Looking backwards
  • I am who I am
  • I am who I’ll be
  • It’s all about my illness
  • Healthier than ever
  • Active every day
  • Coach potatoes
  • My kids are my life
  • My pet is my life
  • Gramma and Grampa
  • Community activists
  • My hobby is my life
  • Accumulators
  • Simplifiers
  • Give-backers
  • I love my friends
  • Spend thrifts
  • I want my senior discount
  • You look great!
  • Still sexy
  • Status symbols are B.S.
  • QTR (quality time remaining)
  • Live to go to heaven
  • Live to be remembered
  • Perennials (always re-inventing themselves)

For marketers, the goal is to attach your brand to a positive characteristic or sub-segment.

Seniors today are very different from past generations. Importantly, most feel that they’re 10 to 20 years younger than their actual age. (Pew Research Center) They view their older years not as life winding down, but as the beginning of Act II. And this trend is being led by seniors in California who tend to be more open-minded, active and healthier. To a large degree, being old is a state of mind. As Bill Clinton said, “When our memories outweigh our dreams, it is then we become old”. Forget stereotypes and broad-stroked “givens”. This is the Wild West for seniors and those who recognize the opportunity can benefit immensely.

Photo by Syda Productions