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Guidelines for Marketing to the Older Population

If your target market is seniors — generally people aged over 55 — don’t be easygoing with your marketing. Many think that senior marketing is as easy as using photos of older adults and increasing font sizes.

However, marketing to this age group requires just as much creativity as marketing to Gen Z. While the jargons used by this cohort do not change at blinding speed, marketers still need to perform comprehensive research to target their prime motives. Remember, seniors are the wealthiest age cohort in the world because they have spent decades earning, saving, and investing.

With brilliant marketing strategies, you can benefit greatly from their spending power.

A Look a Senior Spending Power

The role of seniors in the spending economy will increase in the 2020s. Older people tend to have higher incomes than the younger generations, and their needs increase with every passing year, including medical and palliative care. Moreover, the senior population grows rapidly. Today, there are 750 million older adults across the globe, and they’re projected to cross the 1-billion mark by 2030.

As such, seniors are considered major consumers. Dubbed “the silver economy,” the age group’s contribution to the spending economy is enormous. In fact, seniors are estimated to spend about $15 trillion by 2030, jumping from $8.7 trillion in 2020.

Staunch Brand Loyalty

It is, however, difficult to earn their business. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Business & Economics found that elderly’s consumers strongly resist brand-switching. Once they have established a favorite brand, they are less likely to try out other brands. This is in contrast with younger groups, which are more open to experimenting with different brands.

Marketers who want to cash in on the silver economy would have to use creative and effective marketing techniques.

Strategies to Market to Seniors

It isn’t easy to create a blanket marketing strategy for seniors because they can be further segmented into more specialized segments. For instance, we can divide seniors into:

  • Pre-Retirees (Ages 50-65) — Many 50-year old professionals start planning for retirement by the time they reach their golden age. A lot of financial changes start at this milestone.
  • Active Retirees (Ages 65+) — These include people who no longer earn active income through their profession. However, they have money from Social Security, pensions, income-generation assets, savings, and more.
  • Late Retirees (Ages 65-75) — These include seniors at the standard retirement age but are still working.

senior people

Despite different financial circumstances and motivations, there are general techniques that could win all of them over.

Keep It Short and Simple

The older generation is used to a straightforward language. While the younger markets, like Gen Z and Millennials, have a passion for quick wit, fun, and drama, seniors simply want to know what your product or service would do for them.

The right marketing strategies will steer clear of trendy language and internet slang. Else, the joke will be lost on older adults.

Provide a Personalized Experience

The silver economy grew up without automation or self-service. Instead, they always had access to personal attention. This personalized experience, therefore, is what they value. While personal customer service is the gold standard across all age groups, it’s even more important when you’re marketing to an older cohort.

As such, it’s best for brands targeting seniors to invest in better, more personalized customer service than, say, TikTok marketing.

Choose Visuals with Vitality

Most people see themselves 5-10 years younger than they really are. This is an important factor when choosing images for a marketing campaign — the best photos are the ones that resonate with their audience.

So choose photos brimming with vitality. During this age, there’s a lot of focus on living life to the fullest, so make sure your campaign photos portray seniors with the energy of people ten younger than they are.

Take Advantage of Multi-Channel Marketing

In 2020, about 86% of Americans aged 50 to 59 years old and 81% of 60- to 69-year-olds had smartphones. People who were 70 and older don’t lag behind — 62% use smartphones.

But don’t let these figures fool you into using only mobile-powered marketing strategies. Seniors still live much of their lives in the offline world. And they grew up on TV ads, billboards, and physical catalogs in the mail. So instead of relying solely on internet marketing, brands could explore multi-channel marketing, where they could reach older shoppers both online and offline.

Marketing to the older population presents unique challenges, and it’s up to the marketing team’s creativity to reach them. But by sticking to these tenets, your brand has a greater chance of success.

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