Marketing to seniors has to include a level of empathy. Take, for example, American senior citizens looking forward to their 73rd birthday this year. They have a lifetime of memories and experiences that date back to what many youngsters (and quite a few middle aged folks) would have difficulty even imagining.
In 1940, the year they were born, among many other things, there was no:
- Jet aircraft travel. TWA didn’t begin intercontinental routes until 1946.
- Cell phone or direct long-distance (or overseas) service.
- Television, either color or satellite. (There were no satellites.)
- Internet or email.
Today’s seniors are also largely immune to high-pressure sales pitches. They grew up listening to radio advertising with catchy jingles followed by five or six decades of television advertising. According to Elizabeth Wilson in her piece in Entrepreneur:
“…As we mature, we become much more savvy consumers and are more likely to ask ourselves ‘do I really need this?’ than, say, a 14-year-old. …”
The senior market is separate but diverse. The “do I need this” question is particularly poignant, because, as illustrated above, seniors matured before technology and the instant obsolescence of gadgets, gizmos and iPods. That realization should be the impetus in getting to know the territory of the elder market, bearing in mind that the elderly are by no means a great big homogeneous group.
Seniors are but an older segment of their community, and marketing has to be tailored accordingly. They come in vast varieties, distinguished by their education, ethnicity and technological savvy.
Also, bare in mind that today’s baby boomers heading into their 60s will likely stay healthier and more active than their parents. They will likely have to remain on the job longer because of the economic downturn during the past few years.
Want to learn more about marketing to seniors? Contact us at Focus on Aging.
Marla Levie, BSW, MA, is the President and Founder of Focus on Aging, an established Chicago-based marketing, consulting and recruitment firm. For more than 20 years, Marla has successfully been providing consulting, social media and recruiting services to the elder care market and to other service professions. For more information about Focus on Aging, contact Marla at info@focusonaging or at www.focusonaging.com.