Magazine article Marketing

Conference Preview: Coming of Age

Magazine article Marketing

Conference Preview: Coming of Age

Article excerpt

The over-50s are an extremely lucrative audience for marketers prepared to invest in research, writes Joe Thomas.

Book now to learn how best to create engaging campaigns for a 50-plus market. Call 020 8267 4011.

Far from being over the hill, the over-50s have come to be recognised as the great missed opportunity for marketers. Long left out of advertising plans, thanks to the stereotypical view that they are less likely to part with their money, this demographic is set to increase, accounting for 50% of the population by 2030, so marketers ignore them at their peril.

The biggest challenge is how to engage with them. Gone are the days when the radio and local newspaper constituted their daily media. Today's older generation are multichannel TV viewers and web-savvy enough for online marketers to have coined the phrase 'silver surfers' to describe them.

B&Q is among the brands that have sought to target the older market 'The 'Can Do' offering has sprung from B&Q's heritage of employing older workers, and giving older customers the opportunity to shop with us,' says Jo Kenrick, the DIY retailer's marketing and customer propositions director. 'Our range includes products to help with age-related disabilities of all types.'

Playing for time

Kevin Brennan, a speaker at next month's Older, Richer, Wiser conference and marketing director at Kellogg, is surprised at the lack of focus on such a big group of consumers.

He argues that they should not be overlooked. 'It is amazing how many presentations there are on targeting 17- to 24-year-olds and yet nothing on the 65-plus age group,' he says. 'At breakfast times there is a dramatic shift from a manic time with kids, to actually having the time to sit down and enjoy the occasion. Breakfast can be more complex in terms of making porridge or muesli - simply wholesome foods.'

Treating older people as a homogenous group is another pitfall, according to Fiona Hought, director at Millennium, an ad agency that specialises in targeting the over-50s.

'When you're looking at an age spread of 40 years or so, ranging from affluent to subsistence living, it is a big mistake to treat this sector as a single entity,' she says. 'You wouldn't talk to a teenager in the same way as you would a senior manager at the apex of their career.'

Millennium has devised a strategic process called 'The new majority' to help its clients communicate better both with customers and prospects.

'By segmenting the 50-plus market by age, and overlaying this with information about their life stage, lifestyle, affluence and financial sophistication, we can reveal which segments will be most amenable to certain products or services,' says Hought. …

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