There was this YouTube video of Paddy and Nico doing a salsa dance that went viral. It hit about 55,262,684 likes – a really huge number. The reason why this video went viral according to me is that it features an 80-year-old woman, Paddy doing the salsa.
Salsa is a dance known for its moves – the sensuous and also the quick ones. Imagining Jennifer Lopez doing the salsa like in the movie, ‘Shall We Dance?’ is easier compared to Paddy! Now, this is called successful marketing.
Talking about movies, there is this American movie featuring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway called ‘The Intern’. Going by the name and the age of these two accomplished actors, it’s natural to feel that the person interning is Anne Hathaway. Surprise!! It is Robert De Niro. Age didn’t stop him.
Then there is Judy Dench. Not another bond movie. This time she plays the role of a widow who travels to India and in a strange twist of tale becomes a teacher. She teaches call center employees key aspects of English language and culture. Age and experience only helped her choose wisely.
Movies got it Right!
In all the examples presented to you, the image of ‘old’ people has radically changed. Old people, who are generally seen as physically unstable, emotionally depended and financially strained – This is not always true. The movies got it right.
In so many ways movies influence society and likewise. This trend of empowered ‘oldies’ (with all due respect) is present in the society too.
Millennial & Baby Boomers are Different Breeds
An often heard term in marketing circles is Millennial. Millennial, in layman terms, are the people born after 1977 and before 2000. There is so much buzz about them that there is even a segment known as Millennial Marketing.
Baby Boomers is another set of important people, both in the sense of history and also marketing. Baby Boomers are people born after World War II between the years 1946 to 1964. These are the really aged population out there; a section that is vastly ignored by the Marketing world.
But, the reality is, Baby Boomers are a different breed.
They are neither weak physically nor poor financially.
Marketers, Take Notice!
There is compelling data about Baby Boomers that marketers should not ignore.
A Nielson report states the following facts:-
- There are close to 78 million Baby Boomers in the USA
- Boomers comprise close to 40% of the consumer packaged goods expense
- Boomers have very active online spending just like the 18 to 30-year group
- The ad spend on boomers is just 5%
While the first three facts show the potential that the Boomer Market offers, the last fact shows how much this segment is ignored.
Why 50’s and above is a better segment for marketing?
Healthy, Wealthy and A Will to Live
Unlike their previous generation, Boomers were born into times that offered great promise. They are healthy, wealthy and have every intention to enjoy life.
‘Old is Gold’ – This isn’t going to change!
United States Census Bureau reports that poverty rate has dropped from 35% in 1960’s to less than 10% as of today in Americans over the age of 65 years.
Senior agency International specializes in marketing related to the elderly. It observes that three-fourths of financial assets in the developing world are owned by the over 50’s. They constitute more than 50% of the discretionary spending power. More than two-thirds of this populace has paid off their mortgages.
Just in the USA, the over 50 population controls a major part of the savings and accounts for two-thirds of the shares on the stock market.
Have a look at the data showing the presence of people above 50 in the stock market –
Boomers are also living longer than their earlier generations. According to the United States Census Bureau, boomers are living close to three decades longer.
From a marketing point of view, the over 50’s are a segment that should not be ignored. They have the money, time, spending capacity and the will to enjoy life. They practically have no hang-ups.
Las Vegas Figured out Boomer Money
Where there is money, gaming is not far behind. The casinos in Las Vegas figured this out soon enough. The super-rich oldies anyways make their way to the casinos. But the genius of the casinos lies in mobilizing the wealthy oldies in the neighborhood – they use a bus to get them to play in the morning and send them back in the evening.
This example might sound like a one-off instance of getting the over 50’s money into circulation. But it is a powerful enough example to take note and learn from.
Not just the money is being used, but also a sustainable channel is designed to keep the money flowing. It is a lesson that marketers who are obsessed about the 18+ segment marketing should note.
Seniors and Online Presence
Compared to the 18 to 30-year-olds, technology adoption is slower in the over 50’s. If the former takes it up with full gusto overnight, the latter moves through it. But, the key difference is the depth of understanding. The over 50’s might take to the internet slow but they go deep with their learning.
According to a PEW internet study, six out of ten seniors have a strong internet presence and more than half of them use broadband. This adoption to the internet is irrespective of annual income.
Yet another report from PEW says that internet use in the older generation has seen a rise of 150% from 2009 to 2011. The percentage has further increased. In a 2012 report, the PEW research report puts seniors at 71% who go online every day and 34% of them to use social media.
The reasons to go online are mostly to stay in touch with their children, read the news, but a fair percentage of the shop too. It is estimated that close to 77% of seniors going online regularly shop online too. They find it convenient and hassle-free.
A Promising Segment for Digital Marketing
Seniors or the beloved oldies have the access and interest to be online. They have the money to shop and the will to buy. They don’t have to wait for their parents to say yes! This makes them the most promising segment even for digital marketing. Be it email marketing or social media marketing, seniors can be a profitable segment. Even comparatively traditional channels like SMS marketing should not ignore this affluent segment.
How to Get Seniors to Your Online Business?
How to get seniors to your online business? This is a question that will loom large in your mind. One definite way to do this is to generate traffic to your website through senior specific websites. There are a lot of websites out there that cater to different needs of a senior. Humor, jobs after retirement, news, travel, finance and not to forget dating are some topics to get you thinking. Advertising your website on such senior websites will start generating traffic for you.
1. Designing a Senior Friendly Website
Designing a website for seniors is a very different ball game than designing one for regular or a younger generation audience. A very basic step is to size the font on a seniors’ website larger than a regular one. Then there are others things like choosing an easy to read font, smoother navigation, clearly visible call to action buttons and an easy to find opt-in form.
An opt-in form is critical for you to build your email lists, mobile phone lists. Ensure that all your opt-in data of interested customers are segmented into country wise lists, for instance, US emails list, America email listing, Canada email listing and so on.
2. Email Marketing to the Over 50’s
Seniors spend a good amount of time on emails received in their inbox. Unlike the younger generation, seniors take the time out to read details in an email. This is an important factor to consider while designing an email for marketing to seniors. The email design should definitely have pictures. It’s easier for them to connect with the email. The font should be big and readable. A size 12 is good.
3. Guarantee and Warranty
This segment of consumers, the over 50’s are generally a lot more curious than the younger segment. They do not buy on a whim or a fancy. Any decision involving money is made after checking all things. It is important that the email carries better business bureau logos, any guarantees, icons that are connected with the business or even coupons. All these go a long way in creating a sense of trust, which is super important with this segment.
4. Email with Other Media
While seniors are tech-savvy and open emails, it may not be the best idea to depend only emails as far as your marketing campaign goes. It is important to club the email with the traditional old general mail and SMS. Such combination helps convert deals.
Do not address them as seniors or old people or old generation in your marketing campaigns, whether digital or traditional.
If they don’t feel old, no reason why you should feel so about them.
Study your segment enough to know the section that is single and the other that has a partner. Promote your emails with pictures of couples or singles accordingly. This is important for an emotional connection to the email campaign.
5. SMS Marketing to the Over 50’s
The image of a person over 50 today is not that of a gloomy looking person sitting in a corner by themselves. There are so many people over 50 today who have a second innings at a career. The age, experience, time on hand and the luxury of having disposable income have made this segment active and adventurous too.
6. Smart Seniors
Usage of smartphones by people over 50 has doubled since the last year, according to a Pew research report. The trend is increasing. More and more seniors are getting comfortable with using the internet on the go. My dad, for instance, is 64 years old, travels often and is extremely comfortable using Google maps wherever he goes. He shares his pictures with us on social media and voice chats. All this while he pays his bills online without fail no matter where he is traveling. I am also sure he features on the USA mobile phone number list or the Canada SMS marketing list of all major companies.
7. Mobile Phone Directories
SMS marketing to seniors has all the benefits of SMS marketing to a younger generation. In fact, with this segment you can be sure that all your SMS’s are actually being read; something that you cannot be sure of with the other segments.
USA SMS marketing is still one of the leading and most successful marketing.
Companies that are marketing to senior segment should definitely build dedicated mobile phone number lists.
Seniors and Social Media Marketing
Pew Internet conducted a research in 2006 on social media usage. They found hardly any man over 50’s active. The same study was repeated in 2012 to find a never before 40 million seniors on social media. They are active on Facebook, Twitter, news feed and Skype.
Here is a chart below showing how people above 50’s are holding a marginal position in different social media platform.
Clear objectives of Usage
Most seniors start going online to stay in touch with their children. Phones are always there but being part of their children’s social media life connects them to their lives at a larger scale. But, seniors do not just stop at that. They go further to explore. According to a report by All Assisted Living Homes, the over 50’s segment goes online for staying in touch with family and friends (40%), share photos and videos (30%), gaming (20%) and contests (10%).
Market to seniors on their Facebook or Twitter accounts just the way you do to others. The only difference, treat this audience as a separate segment.
Marketing to Seniors in a Nutshell
As a marketer, it’s important for you to understand that the over 50’s present a huge potential for business opportunity. They have the time, money, interest and the independent decision making power to buy. Yes, you need to study them to target them properly. No, you don’t need to treat them as oldies. They are simply the best mature market you will ever have.