Johnnie Skiles

Senior Marketing

Part 1

Much of marketing today has been targeted at people under 50. That is a grave mistake. Seniors and Baby Boomers make up a huge market today. People born between 1946 and 1965, and those who are older. Have over 70 percent of all disposable income. When you consider that, it’s a huge untapped lucrative market.

Seniors usually have a higher net worth than the younger generation. Due to investing, saving and having a long work history. These three factors make for a ready market for business owners who have products or services of interest to seniors.

Who Is a Senior?

The term "senior citizen" is referred to people who have reached the age where they can start collecting social security or traditionally retire - in other words, age 65.

But, if asked, most will deny they are "senior citizens," unless it’s to get a good discount, to sign up for Medicare, or to collect social security. For marketing purposes, you may want to define your group of "seniors" based on their interests and or needs rather than only on their age.

If you want to market to grandparents, watch out, people can be grandparents long before they are considered seniors.

For marketing purposes, you may think of the elderly as anyone who is a grandparent over 50 instead of 65.

The idea of being a senior citizen isn't as important as discovering the makeup of your audience, based on the solution you have created for them. If you have a house cleaning service, you can market to all levels of seniors.

A general rule of marketing should apply - no matter what you are marketing. Find out their needs or wants are, and provide it to them, in formats that they can navigate and understand. It’s that simple, with minor adjustments that will allow you to create laser-targeted information for your audience.

Products and Services Seniors Are Looking For?

Seniors typically will buy for their children and their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren as well as other loved ones and themselves. They will eventually buy specialty products such as home health products, burial insurance, funeral plots usually directly after they lose a parent or another loved one.

The question of what goods and services seniors are looking for requires more insight into the target audience. Who has more insight than a “Senior?”

Do yourself a favor create a survey.

Niche down to a subgroup such as grandparents. Then you can niche it down even more - great-grandparents, to grandparents who’s grandkids, are living with them.

Seniors may be looking for the same products and services that other people are looking for based on their stage of life. If they are “empty nester”s or newly retired they may be looking for exciting vacations; maybe seeking to sell a home or move into an active senior community. If they are to the point in their lives that they are having trouble taking care of themselves, or due to health considerations, a Nursing Home.

You simply need to segment your market to determine what they want and need. If you already have a product, then you need to find a way to fit into the niche that needs your product

Who are they? How can you reach them?

Grandparents

Grandparents can be as young as 40 and will need to be marketed to differently than someone who is much older. The things a 40-year-old grandparent does with their grandkids isn't all that different other than it’s likely the 40-year-old grandparent still works at a regular job and can't spend as much time taking children to Disney as the older retired person. Here are some markets that are likely to interest grandparents of any age:

Disney/family vacation trips

Toys

Puzzles

Books

College Investing

Photography clubs

Kids cookbooks

Insurance

Ballet lessons

Karate lessons

Party planning

Clothing for kids

Arts and crafts

Boomers

What type of things are 50-year-olds looking wanting? Perhaps they want to downsize their home due to having grown children who have moved out, or they’re tired, or physically unable of taking care of a large home. Maybe they want to start taking more vacations from having earned longer vacation time at work.

55+ living communities

Senior clubs/centers

Large comfortable vehicles

Comfortable clothing and shoes

Safe investments

Life and Burial Insurance

Travel and experiences

Gym membership

Hobby products

Health-related products

Lawn care

Personal cooking service

House cleaning

Eye care

Books

Seniors are not a standard group of people. They can be anyone from 40 on up the ladder through 95. Break down your audience to determine which seniors fit in with your niche, that need what you offer, and can afford to buy what you are offering.

Senior Marketing Do's and Don'ts

You have likely begun to understand that it’s easy to make a mistake with this audience. The targeted audience is as diverse as any other group of people. It's necessary for you to understand that all seniors aren't the same.

Here are some tips to avoid making too many mistakes.

Segment Your Market:

Market segmentation is crucial no matter who you’re trying to sell to, but it’s even plainer in the senior community. Once you decide who to sell to, and what to sell, individuals over or under 50, you need to segment them down to interests, spending power, and any other demographics you can think of, to ensure that your marketing will be spot on for these groups.

Focus on Lifestyle Not Price:

While seniors like a good discount, they’re not usually overly focused on price. They like to focus on things that add joy to their lives and the quality of things that last a long time over cheap things.

Provide Easy Solutions - Seniors are also interested in solutions to their problems as the younger generations.

Do they need to pick up trash without bending or stooping? Maybe they need a tool to do that?

Do they need to entertain their grandchildren? Perhaps a tip sheet on activities for kids based on ages will work for them.

Give Them Information:

Seniors like to read and learn about things before they buy. They want to know the differences of many similar solutions before they choose a particular one. They’re not going to choose only on price. Quality does matter!

Font size:

The one thing that is inescapable, as people age, their vision gets worse. For websites, you may want to use a 16-point font; for print use the 14-point font for the smallest fonts on the page.

Use High Color Contrast:

For the same reason, as you need to use larger fonts, it’s better to use high contrast color as well. Black and white - excellent for print; for websites use blues, whites, blacks, reds, greens but stick to one or two strong colors with black text and plenty of white space.

Security:

Another thing seniors are concerned about these days is safety online and offline. You should do all you can to reassure them that their information and data is secure when they work with you.

To be continued....​

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