Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Engaging thoughts

All posts tagged: research processes

Nifty at 50 may be new brand mantra

Wed, 6 Jul 2011

They used to say that life begins at 40, but now it would seem being 50 is particularly cool – certainly the 50-plus age group is the one in most demand for marketers.

Why? Official statistics would suggest that, in an economic downturn, they are a demographic worthy of consideration. The over 50s not only hold 80% of the country’s wealth, but also have a 30% higher disposable income than those under 50. The over 50s also make up over one-third of the population and the 55-to-64s have the highest disposable income of any age group.

From a customer insight viewpoint, this has us questioning some of the standard client sample requests for 18-49s or 18-64s, but it also underlines what we have been saying for a long time about the validity of online research for a wide range of demographics. If the social media stats are true and the over 50s are making Facebook and Twitter their natural home, then targeting them online is a great way for brands to tap into their accumulated years of experience.

And there may be a plausible reason why brands will be targeting this demographic through social media. Whilst many brands are keen to target their share of this grey pound, they are wary of being seen to overtly target older consumers by younger people. Brands are trying to ride two horses at once and social media provides a more discreet way of targeting the older consumer now that they are making the medium their natural home.

But I’m not sure it’s a straightforward as this. The master of marketing to the over 50s is, of course, Saga, which has been selling cruises, insurance and other products for decades. I can think of any number of brands that would love to get their hands on Saga’s database and the information that it contains, but marketing to the over 50s is about tapping into a mindset not just an age.

In addition to minding the sensitivities of the younger consumer, brands also need to be aware that some people just don’t want to be reminded that they are getting older in what is increasingly a youth-obsessed world. Only in recent years have brands like Dove broken the mould and used older people in their advertising.

The key, I think, is not to focus on age but to focus on older people’s desire to stay younger. If brands can tap into that, then they may well be able to profit from a new kind of grey market.