In the early days of the pandemic, one of the most pressing concerns for marketing agencies was to communicate information to people at greater risk- particularly senior citizens. And advertisements did the job effectively.
Unfortunately, many advertisers attempted to portray a particular category- older people as frail, lonely, and incompetent. In doing so, marketing companies, government organizations, policymakers, health officials largely failed to resonate with the target audience.
And to make the situation grave, research by a non-profit organization AARP, shows that more than a third of Americans are above 50 and over. Yet, they only appear in just 15% of media images.
Why is this particular section left out? Where is the problem in Senior Citizen Marketing?
Arguably, the greatest challenge is market segmentation. Older audiences make an incredibly diverse demographic that varies in cognitive ability, expectation, social connection and physical ability, but not necessarily emotionally.
Today, older audiences want to be less lonely and want excitement-filled living just like their younger counterparts.
But the current trends are changing.
Today, brands across the categories are gradually focusing on the senior citizen marketing cohort because they understood baby boomers are more than just people with gray hair and wrinkled skin.
Marketing expert, Brittany believes “this was long overdue. The default target group for advertisers has been between 18 and 45.’
It is a common assumption that young customers drive consumption, but researchers show that seniors also hold equal or more buying capability.
The above data show older people as the active agents of societal development and thus it is important to include, in marketing efforts, to achieve true transformation, inclusive and sustainable development outcomes.
Since objectives direct cognitive processing, perceived future not only shapes decisions but also influences what people hear, want, and remember. For example, take social preferences. When asked to choose between spending time with loved one or social media, older people prefer loved ones, whereas younger generations may prefer new friends.
Senior citizen advertisements are now focussing on emotionally meaningful advertisements that appeal to older adults and are better remembered. An individual study found that “older people preferred an advertisement for a camera with the slogan ‘capture those special moments’ over an identical ad with the slogan ‘capture the unexplored world.”
In most cases, the senior audience is referred to as “older people”. This doesn't mean that older adults do not identify themselves with innovations. A study of over 1,000 online images posted on websites found widespread evidence of age stereotypes. For example, about seven of ten images depicted older adults as isolated.
Even though a substantial number of senior audiences feature gray-haired consumers, there is a good reason to believe that senior advertisements need to be more effective. Big brands like WhatsApp, Costco, Dos Equis, Amazon, etc. have targeted senior citizens in their advertising campaigns where seniors are seen using chat apps or video conferencing services.
Marketers are gradually waking up to the fact that consumption patterns have significantly changed. WhatsApp’s new campaign shows an elderly couple connected with their nurse during lockdown through the app.
It is well known in the marketing world that consumers at 40 or beyond never reflected in the world of modern brands as much as they should. But the trend is changing now. Several brands are creating products & services tailored to suit the specific needs of the seniors.
A latest example is JustWears, a U.K. undergarment brand, that says 55% of its customers are aged 35 and older. Other similar brands like Hanx, Willow, Womaness, State Of, and many more reflect how brands are discovering their customer base is slightly older in age.
It can be a lot of work, but brands that are aiming at senior citizen marketing on board are rewarded for their efforts. A survey recently found that 67% of Gen Xers and 75% of baby boomers become repetitive buyers of a brand they like.
Brands are gradually feeling the need to go beyond the intuitive categories like medical services and allied services. There is a clear demand for a variety of products, but few brands address them. Given the spending power of upper-senior citizens, there is a wide set of opportunities for brands to target this segment with rich results.
As the world’s largest brands continue to explore this lucrative baby boomer consumer market, there are insights on how to innovate services and reach this group.
What are some techniques in which your business has sought senior citizen advertising? Let us know in the comments.