Seniors are becoming a significant segment in many developed countries. They have a large amount of disposable income; they’re looking for guidance to help live longer, healthier lives. Marketing to seniors is different from marketing to other segments in general, as they may have additional requirements and preferences.
In many countries, the seniors have a lot of buying power, but they are generally not marketed to as a segment. Most of the seniors do own their properties, and they have a lot of disposable income. There is also a trend for seniors today to spend more on non-essentials and their hobbies.
There are generally three different groups of seniors:
i) Pre-retirees: (Aged: 50-65)
These are groups of people who are planning for retirement and are making retirement plans. Some slightly younger couples with older spouses may also be preparing for retirement are in this group.
ii) Grandparents: (Aged: 50+)
Grandparents and older relatives fall into this group as they are also buying things in other segments as gifts.
iii) Active Retirees: (Aged: 65+)
This segment of seniors no longer receives an active income. Their money comes from savings, assets, pensions, or allowance from their children.
Businesses who want to market to seniors come in 2 categories:
a) Companies that are making senior-care products or offering senior-friendly services as part of their product offering.
b) Companies that want to attract seniors to buy their products as gifts for others.
For this article, I will focus on the first group of companies making senior-care products or offering senior-friendly services.
1) Marketing Visuals.
If your customers are mostly seniors, make it easy on them by using larger fonts and higher contrast visuals. For visuals, many seniors identify themselves as 5 – 10 years younger than they are. Selecting the right image is essential to have clients connect with the person they see in their advertisements. Avoid using images of older people sitting around using a product – try thinking of ways to show activity.
2) Tone and Messaging
Seniors are more likely to be influenced by strong, straightforward messaging. The keyword here is simplicity. Seniors do not want too many options and prefer a clear sales message.
Succinct, direct messages are most effective. Avoid using teenage jargon or other unrelatable languages.
Exclusive offers and promotions targeting only seniors can be compelling. Promotions that resonate can be simple things like birthday gifts or free delivery.
4) Build Trust
When collecting information and personal details, seniors need more assurance that their data is safe and secure. Both testimonials and money-back guarantees can also help build trust. Explanations and product endorsements are especially appreciated.
5) Customer Support
Unlike the younger generation, seniors do expect a person on the other line to address their issues. A phone number for them to call in is vital to building that trust and relationship. They expect their trusted brand to be helpful and responsive, and the seniors will become very loyal customers.
6) Offline Support
Although technology has progressed, there can be easily 50% of the seniors that are not using their smartphones to solve their problems. They still prefer calling or visiting a customer service center to get their issues resolved.
7) Targeting other decision-makers
For some products, the Seniors may be using it, but their children do the purchasing. The messaging of these products will now have to target these older adults who are buying the products for their parents, and they need to know that what they are buying is the right product.
For many of these decision-makers who buy the products for their parents to use, their main concern would be — ease of use. They want to know that their parents can use it easily.
For example, if the product is an adult diaper, the decision-maker would probably want one that is easiest for him to put it on his parent.
8) Use other Multi-Channel Marketing
Many seniors still live in the offline world. They still browse catalogs and not jump on their mobile phones to get their information. Physical printed materials are always favored over digital for many seniors.
9) Other Segments for the Product
We have worked with many companies that market their products to seniors. Increasingly, many of them are lowering the age of their customers to get a bigger market. But when the benefits are clearly spelled out to benefit seniors, the visuals with slightly younger people could also allow the seniors to relate.
Case Study: Anlene
Anlene is an adult milk formula that can help with bone health. Traditionally, many milk companies have visuals to depict seniors using their products as they think that would appeal to their target market.
Old Anlene Ads
Traditional Milk Ads
Anlene has research that shows that people above 40 can benefit from their products. And by adapting their visuals to reflect this, Anlene can target a wider audience and reach out to a wider market.
With clear messaging on the benefits, this message “Move More, Live More” also appeals to seniors, making it more effective and allows multi-generational use of the product, while not forgetting about the seniors.
10) Address Concerns
Even though seniors may have more disposable income than others, they are very concerned about value when it comes to buying decisions.
As many of them are close to retiring or have retired, they need to know that they are not wasting money. Seniors often need a compelling message of “reasons why” to help them make that buying decision.
When it comes to new products and services that they are unfamiliar with, they need to be assured that they can use the product. Demos, samples, and other hands-on means of getting them to try the products and services will be essential to address their concerns.
11) Make it Familiar
People are drawn to familiar things. Since seniors grew up receiving advertisements and physical catalogs in the mail, it makes sense to market to them through this channel. For retail and shopper marketing, “take-one” boxes and other brochures where they can read at a later date are still relevant to them.