Marketers Need A Fresh Perspective On The Over 55s

Baby boomer consumer generation

Marketing departments sometimes fail to target consumers over the age of 55 effectively, Rebekah Yock, director at research agency Firefish, notes, drawing on insights gained at the recent Marketing magazine’s conference, “Older, Richer, Wiser.”

This market, panellists at the conference said, is very desirable because older people tend to have more money to spend and more time on their hands. However, when marketers and advertisers target the group, their campaigns don’t distinguish between being 55 and 75 or individual preferences. Most people above the age of 55, for example, don’t classify themselves as old. Moreover, people now live longer, meaning marketers need to abandon outdated stereotypes. The conference panellists came up with five things marketers need to consider about the grey market.

For starters, they should forget the assumption that over-55s are conservative and be braver in creating campaigns for them. Secondly, older consumers are more demanding and will not stick with a brand if it does not offer them the quality they are looking for. Also, marketers need to change the way they portray retirement; it is about reinvention, says Yock, not expiration and campaigns should stop creating visuals that suggest that once you retire you live in seclusion. The older market also seeks functionality, but not if it comes at the expense of style. This is true for a number of products, from cars to clothes and shoes.

Lastly, marketers need to stop viewing older consumers as a stereotype – older people with a desire for youthful vitality should stop being confused with a desire to be young, says Yock.