How to advertise to people over 55

Publication date: 15 May 2019

Remember the last time you saw a person over 55 in a good advertisement. If you look at our society from the point of view of advertising alone, you will see the society without older adults. They do not work, do not drink beer, do not drive cars, do not play computer games, and do not bet on sports.

But according to forecasts, older people will outnumber children by 2020. They constitute a rather large share of the market, ignoring of which will lead to serious losses.

What does age tell about?

Marketers have been obsessed with age for many years. People have always been grouped by age as if purchases, motivation, and lifestyle depend solely on how many years a person has lived: for example, people aged 18-34, 35-50, and over 55. Nevertheless, this connection between age and stages of life is getting less tight now. McCann and The Paley Center for Media conducted a research in 2018 and asked people of different age when, in their opinion, it is too late to acquire an education, to start a business or a romantic relationship. Most of the respondents answered that it is never too late for anything. It calls into question whether age can be a reliable indicator of consumer habits.

A strategy focused on young-adult consumers has its points. A research by Forrester has shown that 55% and 54% of people under 31 and 31-39, respectively, say that they “like to buy new brands and products”. This percentage falls to 39% among people aged 54-63 and to 31% in the 64-74 age group. Given that, the most creative campaigns are aimed at young-adult consumers, while the older-adult-oriented marketing follows senseless patterns and outdated stereotypes that older people are helpless.

How does older-adult-oriented marketing work?

A research conducted by Havas Group in 2018 showed a significant increase in online activity of users aged over 55; about 68% of them order something online every month.

More and more companies are starting to interact with older people actively. And not without reason, since 70% of all available income in the US is possessed by people aged over 55.

Direct communication with older adults should not be disregarded because of not only the income older people possess but also the fact that this population group is usually more sincere. Older people want to be provided with content that is educational and informative rather than entraining. When older adults like something, 68% of them tell others about it.

Why else you should pay attention to this audience? The research by McCann found out that everybody thinks about aging. People in their 20s fear death the most; in their 30s, people think about aging the most; after 70, people care about it the least and start enjoying their life again!

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