For years, we’ve heard about the graying of our population from the baby boom years. Our current class of senior citizens inductees (the population born during the Baby Boom after World War II from 1946 to 1964) is going to make up close to 20% percent of the total US population by 2029 according to the US Census Bureau. What often goes unmentioned is that this mature population also controls one of the largest percentages of disposable income. As a group, senior citizens are and will be for some time the most affluent Americans. They hold about three quarters of the nation’s financial assets worth approximately $1 trillion in disposable income annually.
Again, that is $1 trillion dollars in disposable income annually.
Many product and/or service oriented businesses have taken the long view and begun marketing various products and services geared specifically to the older consumer. Despite this recognition on the part of a few marketers, this financially secure, mature group of consumers remains largely untapped by educational companies and services. Take for instance the onslaught of new technologies that seem to pop up like daisies in the spring, out of all consumer groups, our seniors, are usually the last to be courted. While it may be true that certain technologies are better suited for younger tech savvy consumers (I am reminded of my elderly grandmother who purchased an unlimited text messaging package on a small phone without text messaging capability and did I mention she had arthritis), it doesn’t mean that this market is entirely unsuited for those educational businesses and services that use technology to deliver their product or service.
For a supplemental education service tutoring provider, this mature consumer group is wide open with far less competition and minimal requirements in the way of overhead expenditures. Two of the much-needed services that senior citizens in particular lack are computer training and technology acclimation. Many of the services supplemental education companies can provide, are the ones that are most often overlooked or taken for granted, i.e. using the internet, opening up an email account, social networking account registration, etc. If you are reading this article, you can definitely offer those services and more. Suppose for a moment you feel uncomfortable with your level of competence in offering a few of these services, let me repeat what I said in my previous article, Niche Marketing Strategies for Tutoring Businesses Looking To Attract Parents of Students Taking State Standardized Tests, you do not have to be an expert in the subject matter in order to provide supplemental services in the subject matter, you just need to hire people with thorough experience related to the field.
The reason for the lack of competition in this age group is precisely because this mature audience is a bit more discerning with their spending habits and a more sophisticated approach is required to gain their attention, loyalty, and dollars. However, it is for this very reason that supplemental education service providers should dive into this market with fervor and enthusiasm. Education is, and has always been a cornerstone for any age group. The value that the 50 and over age group places on education should not go unnoticed. Along with education, communication plays an important role in everyone’s lives and its role only expands as one gets older. In the past, many grandparents would send letters to their grandchildren and eagerly await their response. Grandparents yearn to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. Why not offer the ability to stay in touch while simultaneously helping an older population learn and acquire new skills? Imagine grandma’s joy every time she logs on to her e-mail account and sees a message from her grandchild or when she receives a tweet. It’s truly a win-win proposition!
Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the type of services supplemental education providers can offer up in addition to computer training. Curriculum and/or activities marketed to senior citizens can range from learning a new language to scrap booking to ballroom dancing. If you’re looking for ideas on what senior citizens are interested in learning, you can find a compiled starter list below. Since most of your organized activities and programs will consist of a variety of group sizes, you will have the ability to market age specific specials and discounted tuition fees accordingly. Remember, you run a supplemental education service business that should be able to teach and tutor in multiple disciplines. You do not need to have any expert knowledge in any of these areas, just hire someone who does. It is highly unlikely that Sam Walton knew how to repair the diesel engines of every tractor-trailer that brought in a load of merchandise to his stores, but his business (Walmart) hired people who did have that expertise.
The best part about marketing to this age group is that they are fairly accessible if you know where to look. Putting up postings/flyers at local community church bulletins, visiting the adult education departments of local community colleges, and contacting the Facility Director or Onsite Coordinator at various assisted living facilities to propose your computer training or other services to their residents, is a good way to start. If interested, there are plenty of online directories that list full contact information for assisted living facilities narrowed by zip code or state.
How about the Bingo nights? They are usually held at lodges, halls, churches, and schools/community colleges.
Hold the presses! Yet another great source that has been largely abandoned by the younger generation is the newspaper. Here’s a little known fact about the newspaper industry – 65% of its readers are over the age of 55. By advertising in this medium you are reaching over half of the newspapers readers – Now that’s worth another read!
When it comes to reaching senior citizens, let your creativity lead the way, your opportunities are limitless. For the astute, forward thinking individual, this is a unique opportunity to service an undeserved demographic and separate your business from the competition. Remember, thinking outside the box never gets old!
Activity Ideas for Senior Citizens: · Computer Training · Dance · Yoga · Painting · Sewing · Journal Writing · Knitting or crocheting · Photography · Discussion Groups · Exercise · Knitting · Foreign Language Conversation · Needlepoint · Pinochle · Quilting · Tai Chi · Writing workshops · Crafts · Bowling · Bridge
S.K. Tilton has served as a program director, site coordinator, area director, and as a SES business consultant to various SES (Supplemental Education Services) tutoring companies across the United States. S.K. Tilton has written numerous business plans for SES start ups and filed many approved applications on behalf of SES tutoring companies. As a consultant, S.K. Tilton has been responsible for presenting and implementing successful marketing plans and helping first year start ups achieve success normally enjoyed by seasoned SES veterans. S.K. Tilton’s latest work combines practical experience of the best and worst SES practices to bring you the only SES success guide book available. For further information on the SES Made Easy book and the author, please visit http://www.sestutoringbiz.com.
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