If you think the senior citizen market isn’t dynamic, then you’re really out of touch with marketing. Thirty-five percent of our population is over 55 years old, and these very affluent seniors control almost 45 percent of the disposable income of our country.
Neither Madison Avenue nor the advertising agency down the block takes this group seriously, and as a result, the market is virtually untapped. Here are four suggestions on how to target your business efforts to penetrate this market.
o Gain an understanding of this large market… Throw out everything you ever heard about the over-55 group. These people are vibrant and full of life. They are looking for new ideas, challenges, and new and innovative ways to enjoy life. Thanks to Social Security, wise investing and good retirement plans, they have the money to pay for what they want. Most senior citizens want what you want: health, happiness and security. Many want excitement, romance and adventure. They want to maintain close ties with their children and grandchildren.
o Target products and services… Yes, senior citizens want to know about cruise ships, vitamins and wheelchairs, but so do thousands of people under 55.
The difference is that seniors are looking for solutions to problems. They want to make their life easier and more enjoyable, and they have the money to pay for the services and products that can help them achieve these goals. If your product solves a specific problem, you will find this market is for you.
o How to advertise to seniors… Forget the flowery phrases, cute word plays and fast-action ads. Senior citizens want to know the facts and what benefits those facts will provide for them. Your products and services are just the carrier of benefits, not benefits in themselves.
Seniors want to know how your offering will make life easier or better or more fun. Problem solving is high on the list of benefits wanted, and proof of claim is requirement. Straight talk is appreciated, and as usual, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Two-step advertising works well in the senior market. Seniors have time, so snap decisions are seldom made. Advertisements that offer more information work especially well. Always be positive in your advertising, and never talk down to your audience. Most seniors are a lot smarter than you or I.
o Things to avoid… It is not a good idea to sell marginal ideas to senior citizens such as work-at-home projects and get-rich-quick business schemes. The senior lobby had watchdog groups looking for scam artists, and these two topics top the list of no-nos. Get on their list and you will find your business in trouble.
If you’re looking for the best source of information as to how to advertise to the senior market, read what they read. Buy some of the newsstand magazines on retirement, vacations, travel, cooking or investing targeted toward seniors, and read both the articles and the ads. Find copies of Modern Maturity. This and other magazines and periodicals will provide valuable insight into how to advertise to this lucrative market.
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