I had a birthday recently and am now firmly ensconced in the 55+ demographic. I know that this doesn’t matter to any of you since my youthful spirit shines brightly. However, it seems to matter a lot to people doing research or trying to sell stuff. What a shame.
This really hit home to me as I was being screened for yet another online survey. I take these for a couple of online music services in order to get the service for free. However, although I live in a nice zip code and am an active consumer (with opinions about everything as you all well know), I screen out of a lot of surveys – my opinions aren’t needed – and I’m pretty sure it’s the age screen that determines that. Huge mistake, and here’s why.
First, we baby boomers don’t behave as our parents did at this age. Not only are there a lot more of us (77 million or so) but our health is better and we consume differently. Yet the only companies that seem to be actively targeting the over 50 set are the drug companies. Watch older-skewing programming sometime such as the evening news and you’ll not see ads for much else besides drugs. But boomers buy a lot more than drugs – a lot of cars, for example. We’re also among the biggest buyers of new technology. So there!
I’ve spent enough years in the marketing space to know that habits are built when customers are young and they’re often hard to break. I mean when was the last time you changed toothpaste or shaving cream or brands of milk? I read someplace that unless there is a signficant problem or relocation customers hardly ever change banks. I get it. But I also get that ignoring a market larger than the one you’re targeting that consumes at the same or greater rate is a big blind spot. In the next 15 years the over 65 set will be a group twice the size it is now.
I don’t feel over 55 – more like 35. Why not market to my peers and me as if we still are? You’re missing a lot of full wallets with lots of discretionary and disposable income if you don’t. Our kids are off our payrolls; our houses are almost paid off. We do more than buy drugs and remedies. Come and get us!