Tag: Senior Adult Marketing

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!

Grandparents: The Marketing Potential of Targeting these California Seniors

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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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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