Dec
10

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 10.18.07 PMThis article on mainstreet.com – What Pre-Retirees Fear Most and Talk About Least – sheds some light on what’s weighing on the minds of pre-retirees. Three-quarters of them, according to a survey from Harris Interactive, say their top fear in retirement is the cost of health care. And nearly two out of three pre-retirees want to understand Medicare coverage better.

These concerns translate into meaningful opportunities for healthcare marketers to step up and do something that their customers really care about. To help them navigate a future that is filled with anxiety.

We know that emotion drives attachment to brands. And as it relates to healthcare, boomer’s emotions are running high. So healthcare marketers – be there for them when they need you most, beyond the expected transaction.

In turn, you have the opportunity to earn the trust and loyalty of the millions of boomers who will require more healthcare services than any other generation of Americans.

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Dec
05

Over 81% of Ameimagesricans over the age of 50 have become more conscious of what they eat.                              

Overall consumer interest in selecting food and activities geared toward wellness is increasing.  Consumers are realizing the effects that their eating habits and on-the-go lifestyles are having on their ability to maintain a healthy, sustainable life. They are becoming more selective in their product and lifestyle choices and increasingly understand the connection between their diet and health. Health and wellness is not a fad — it is becoming a way of life.

While most people pursue some form of health and wellness, the extent of their interest and engagement varies considerably – meeting consumers on their terms will motivate change and influence partnership with brands. Let’s face it, it’s not surprising that consumers vary in their commitment to exercise, dieting habits, and product choices, and that underlying demographic characteristics influence these decisions – a Gen X’er is far more interested in a stress reliever than a Boomer who may be looking for a memory supplement.

So what are the triggers that continue to motivate consumers to partner with health and wellness brands, and drive this industry forward?

  • Increase in consumer acceptance to a broader set of health and wellness solutions, including non-traditional treatments (herbal remedies, supplements, etc.).
  • Accessibility to more health information than ever; 96% of American adults who use the Internet look-up health information and they are not just looking, they are buying.
  • Growth of high opportunity segments like Boomers, a population expected to grow 41% by 2020, who will seek out solutions to maintain their vigor. And, on the other end of the spectrum the new generation (infants and their families) who will seek products for healthier development.
  • Government, health association, and employer advocacy of healthy eating and wellness initiatives are on the rise – an effort to temper increasing healthcare costs.
  • Broadening of health & wellness offerings at retailers in multiple channels, across various markets – everything from nutrition assessments, to testing services and preventative screenings, to spas and in-store clinics.
    • Take a look the next time you visit a Target, or even ShopRite store, you’ll be surprised at what you see.
  • Emergence of new players and partnerships are creating innovative solutions and expanding definition of the health and wellness space. Brands as diverse as Nestle, DuPont, and even Google are entering the sector.
    • Nestle is investing in gastro-intestinal health; Google in organization of personal health information; and DuPont, through purchase of DSM, in dietary supplements.
  • Accessibility to healthier products is optimal. Manufacturers are continually developing new, healthier products… just look at the supermarket shelves where new products appear everyday.
    • Supermarkets are becoming one of the leading channels for distribution; other channels, such as mass merchants, warehouse clubs, natural food stores, convenience and drug stores, continue to play a formidable role.

And, technology is helping to lead the way with digital, social, and mobile applications providing a more efficient and effective experience between consumers, healthcare providers, insurers, and health and wellness brands  – propelling consumers to connect, learn, and engage in more interactive experiences. 

The Proof Is in The Numbers

The trends all point in a single direction – more and more consumer spending on health and wellness. In fact, if the pace continues wellness could be the next trillion-dollar industry (Euromonitor International). Let me leave you with these stats:

  • Today the average household spends $148.48 per month on categories that have a wellness halo.
  • Over half of all consumers (54%) say they have recently changed their views on health & wellness.
  • 85% of consumers believe that certain foods have health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition and may reduce the risk of disease or other health concerns.


Health and wellness is the new way of life… for consumers and brands, those who adapt will ultimately succeed.

 

 

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Dec
02

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The growth potential for marketing to boomers – for brands that move quickly, empathise and engage with this audience is great.

“Liberated for the first time from their obligations, turning their attention to new hobbies and interests is why we refer to them as ‘The Unstoppables’. And it’s why companies should sit up and take notice of their needs. It’s a win-win. And not one to be ignored.”

This is the takeaway from two recent studies by Added Value. They confirm what we already know about the big opportunity companies have to grow business by taking the time to specifically market to boomers – by understanding, embracing and responding to the functional and emotional needs of the wealthiest and most influential generation in the United States.

In my opinion, the most important finding from this study (again, because it reinforces an extremely important yet overlooked fact about this audience) is that “this sector of the population is a multi-faceted audience with many different needs, motivations and desires, which drive how they engage with brands and, consequently, how brands need to engage with them.”

Other key takeaways from the study include:

Connecting early can reap longer-term rewards. Older people are just as willing as other generations to try new products (contrary to what many marketers believe). But they’ll also reward brands that meet their needs with their loyalty. So purposefully connecting earlier should reap rewards.

Older doesn’t mean different. In the UK, only 8% of people regard 50-60 as being old, while only 5% of those 65+ feel their age. Turning 50 doesn’t automatically mean a whole new wardrobe of brands. But there is a clear (and financially significant) opportunity for brands to think about how they extend their relevance across age bands.

This is a time of positivity. Added Value’s recent UK research shows by far the most admired people are those who make older age look fun and stimulating, e.g. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Sean Connery. Communications strategies should reflect this same vibrancy and optimism (as long as they’re genuine to the “brief”).

But it’s not without stress. Aging is accompanied by a change in physical, emotional and often financial, condition. There is a clear role that brands can play in offering reassurance by reviewing all areas of marketing, e.g. tailored products, services and in particular, customer experiences which are seen as useful but don’t patronise.

You can read the original article about this study that appeared in Marketing Magazine here.

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Nov
22

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Here’s a fun, but also thought-provoking, post – An ‘eye’ on aging – by Joe Pisani on greenwich-post.com.

Read between the lines, and it reminds us of some important “physical” realities of the effects of aging for brand marketers to think about to win the business of boomers, e.g. implications of eyesight on advertising, the web, packaging, product delivery and customer care (these last three being most relevant here).

Takeaway, probably more than Joe intended, is that marketers shouldn’t fall into the trap of concentrating on marketing communication to the exclusion of other marketing mix elements. As aging is accompanied by a decline in physical condition, (including eyesight), designing marketing strategies around the physical condition of an 18-35 year old will increasingly be at odds with the needs of your market.

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Nov
21

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Here’s a good post by Stewart Gandolf over at HealthWorks Collective – Watch, Feel, Share: How Emotion-Fueled Videos Propel (Viral) Engagement.

Confirming what we intuitively know but sometimes neglect to deliver as we get wrapped in our internal vs. external perspective – it’s emotions that make marketing campaigns get noticed, attract viewers and go viral, according to research reported by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Viral videos, HBR reports, “generate high levels of social engagement, sharing, and brand interaction, which can lead to sharp increases in digital brand advocacy.”

The HBR article goes on to make a very important point – if you don’t already have a large built-in audience, you must attract them from elsewhere. Viral marketing is hands-down one of the best ways to do this. Viral marketing:

• breaks through the noise
• creates massive brand exposure and free press
• generates high levels of social engagement, sharing, and brand interaction, which can lead to sharp increases in digital brand advocacy.
• massively improves organic search rankings
• increases brand engagement

Stop by Stewart’s post and the HBR article. Both are informative, enjoyable and use emotion (through video) to fuel engagement.

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Nov
19

Social-Media-1

The different ways we are able to communicate with consumers is evolving at a pace that is staggering. New tools emerge almost daily and others fade into irrelevance in the blink of an eye. But one thing is certain, the digital age has dramatically changed the opportunity to effectively engage, connect and inspire real action among our target audiences.

Content is king

One size doesn’t fit all in today’s fragmented digital world. We all consume content differently, yet we all look for what interests, informs or entertains us the most. And that’s less a function of the channel, than it is the type of content and delivery. Creativity, relevancy, immediacy and credibility play a key role. Think of where you turn to learn, share or simply smile – Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Infographics, Webinars – to name a few. Your customers are no different. Their choices are abundant. So remember, content is still king.

Mobile is transformational

With technology booming, we are always ‘on’. Literally, and figuratively. We sleep, eat and transact with our phones by our side. Gone are the days where multi-channel marketing required a visit to a store or purchase on a computer. Ultimate convenience and sales are a tap away. Currently there are over 115M smartphone users in the U.S., with 2012 spending exceeding $24B in mobile commerce sales – 11% of total ecommerce sales, and growing (source: Internet Retailer). Mobile presents a vast opportunity, as long as the experience is optimized. Mobile works best when integrated with social networks to deliver value and targeted offers, simply based on indirect user activities like check-ins or visits to a location. Consumer context is key – whether geo-targeted, user-preference based, or behavior driven. Additionally, the experience you create is paramount, from prioritizing information shown on the device to ensuring that the checkout process is seamless. Mobile is truly disruptive and transformational – and it’s in your hands.

Data is power

The world of digital advertising is based on sophisticated data collection and profiling. But digital advertising is no longer a science – it involves science. Data has revolutionized the way we reach our targeted customers and ensures that the content we present is relevant – from behavioral targeting, remarketing and look-a-like profiling – to the advent of real-time bidding on ad exchanges (also called programmatic advertising) – allowing every impression to be cost effective and placed in front of the right person, at the right time. This approach extends to RTB mobile and video as well to ensure advertisers have control over their entire advertising campaigns. But it’s not just the effective delivery of campaigns that comes from this rich data, but the insights gained once implemented. Data allows advertisers like you to see what variables are most effective – from content types and websites visited to location information and user interests. From this analysis comes the best targeting opportunities – who is likely to respond to specific messages at specific times. Data really puts the control back in your hands.

Some things haven’t changed

We know it’s easy to get caught up with all the new shiny digital tools at our disposal – to entertain, involve, educate, share… But it’s important to remember that the backbone of great content and creative remains the same as it was before the advent of all this technology. Truly understanding your customers and the emotional connection that is key to reaching them. The specific channel is less important than the relevance of the content that inspires them. So as you start to think about your next brand or marketing program – think less about the tool or platform, and more about who you’re trying to reach and what’s important to them. Then let old-fashioned consumer insights and creative thinking guide the way.

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Nov
13

 

Social Secur Card Pix

It happened again. I got ‘that’ direct mail piece in the mail. How many times will they mail to me before I am flagged as a perennial non-responder (aka not-interested, at least not for now). It’s one of the few pieces of actual direct mail that I did NOT opt-in for ­– unlike my Bloomingdales and JCrew catalogs and offers, as these companies know that I’m actively engaged with their brands and in turn reward me with relevant information that I look forward to receiving.

Now back to ‘that’ direct mail. As you may have guessed, it is habitually sent to me from AARP – the largest non-profit advocacy group serving people 50+ (who themselves rebranded to evolve their outdated identity: American Association of Retired Persons). When I turned the magic five-0 (which I was proud of), my membership packet magically appeared. Not requested, wanted or needed. Or so I thought.

This was still my parents’ American Association of Retired Persons. I thought they just didn’t get ME – and I guess I just didn’t get THEM. Maybe some of that relates to my perception of AARP’s past brand marketing and brand image. But more importantly, I didn’t want my ‘milestone’ (age) to define who I was and what was important to me. But we’ll get back to this…and why it is so vital to create marketing strategies and messages that connect with the boomer generation of today. People like me!

 

BOOMERS ROCK: 50 really is the new 40

As a baby boomer myself, I relate to the real power (economically, socially, culturally, politically…) of the largest generation in history (over 77 million), born between 1946 – 1964. While many brand marketers have ignored them to focus on the “sexier” Generations X and Y, boomers are actually the most influential and affluent group, constituting about 1/3 of the U.S. population, with discretionary purchasing power of over $2.1 trillion per year. Boomers are redefining many aspects of American life, as they re-imagine their own. They are not to be ignored.

And we don’t. Fifty really is the new 40 to us at Trajectory! We understand boomers are multi-faceted, vibrant, informed and super active – and that 50 is only someone’s chronological age. We have been working with clients across health, wellness, personal care, and leisure who understand the reality of this generational shift – and what its real implications are. Because we (and our clients) understand FICTION vs. FACT as it relates to marketing to boomers. If you care about capturing the vast expenditure generated by some of the most affluent members of society, you should too.

 

BOOMERS: Separating FICTION vs. FACT

  • Boomers are all alike

How can they be when they span so many life stages and lifestyles. One size (one very large age band) certainly does not fit all. Today’s boomers are as contemporary as they are diverse, raising kids, becoming grandparents, taking care of aging parents, getting (re)married, retiring, going back to school, finding new hobbies, giving back, starting new careers, and much more. Boomers (like me) can’t merely be defined by age alone.

  • Boomers don’t have money to spend 

Not all boomers are wealthy, but they control most of the wealth in the U.S. – which means more money to spend on your products and services, if you understand how to connect to them. In fact, the median net worth of $112,048 for HHs headed by someone 55-64 is about 15x greater compared HHs under-35 at $7,240. Those 50+ represent 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households. And in terms of spending, they outspend younger adults online 2:1. So why are you neglecting them?

Sources: U.S. Census, MetLife Mature Market Institute, U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, Nielsen, Forrester Research

  • Boomers can only be reached through traditional methods

Boomers grew up on TV and print, but have also embraced electronic and non-traditional marketing methods. It is important to note that 96% of boomers are active with word-of-mouth (WOM) and viral marketing by sharing product or service information with friends and family – as brand recommendations from trusted sources are important to them. We’re actually in the midst of developing a unique WOM program now for a healthcare client who wants to facilitate more meaningfully connections among this audience.

Boomers also have a major impact online – constituting the largest group on the web at over 30% (of 195.3 million U.S. Internet users) ­– spending an average of $7 billion annually. Convenience, coupled with easy comparison-shopping, reviews and relevant online offers, are contributing factors.

Sources: ThirdAge, JWT Boom, Jupiter Research, SeniorNet, Pew, Forrester

  • Boomers are always brand loyal

Not the case. In fact, boomers are more willing to experiment than their younger counterparts (maybe by virtue of experience), and are actually predisposed to trying new products. Over 50% believe “In today’s marketplace, it doesn’t pay to be loyal to one brand.” Remember, boomers are transitioning through many life stages, with needs changing along the way (health, family, careers, personal, etc.) – providing brand marketers with a great opportunity to address changing behaviors, goals, and life perspectives.

  • Boomers only care about themselves

Boomers, by way of circumstance, are probably the most caring generation, both in terms of their time and resources – caring for their aging parents, children moving back or still living at home (over 1/3 still have children <18), and always giving of themselves (socially conscious).  They define what it means to give back.

  • Boomers don’t adapt well to new technology trends

Boomers were on the front lines for the first computers (working on a PC and booting up DOS), e-mail (which was mostly used internally) and the Internet (which was the wild west, no interfaces or organization). They were really the first to understand how technology would change our world, and lives. Now, more than 80% of boomers routinely use the Internet – for instant messaging, downloading music, videos, financial activities, and gaming. In fact, 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their phones, and adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users.

So it’s not hard to believe that the top four website for people 60+ are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube. Of boomers 50+ on the Internet, 82% research health and wellness information (as well as travel and leisure), 65%+ buy from e-tailers, and 65% engage in social media ­– and these numbers are only growing.

Sources: AARP, Pew Internet and American Life Project, (WSL/Strategic Retail), comScore TabLens

  • Boomers are all slowing down

Only about 10% of boomers will actually stop working entirely when they reach retirement age. And it’s not because the majority of them have to, but they want to stay actively engaged. And engaged they are, with the typical boomer regularly involved in at least ten activities, and over 66% planning on spending more time on interests and hobbies than they do today!

So this is a ‘heads-up’ to leisure marketers – with disposable time and income comes the desire to be adventurous. In fact, adults 50% make up 80% of all luxury travel spending, over 50% take one trip annually, and those 55+ spend half of all vacation dollars in America. And we can’t forget that over 22 million of them attend live sporting events each year.  So it is not surprising that 55-64 year olds outspend the average consumer in almost every category including, entertainment, gifts, eating out, shopping, and even personal care.

Source: ICSC, Pew Internet and American Life Project, US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey

 

BOOMERS: A Big (Missed) Marketing Opportunity

So, let’s get back to me.  Boomers are big business! And while so many branding and marketing strategies have failed to connect with them, companies in every arena are course correcting and trying to figure out how to make that lasting emotional connection. From beauty companies like L’Oreal and Revlon, to packaged goods leaders like General Mills and Procter and Gamble, financial services like Wells Fargo and Fidelity, luxury car companies like Lexus and online providers like Amazon (with their new 50+ Active & Healthy Living Store).

The most important, and indisputable, fact that brand marketers need to come to grips with is that a consumer’s age alone is of little use in determining their marketing strategies (unless there is substantiating evidence to the contrary). Rather, values, beliefs and behaviors matter most. The sooner that marketers change their perception and approach –– the sooner that those serious about growing their business will be able to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nov
06

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 8.29.25 AMWhether your a CPG brand marketer, personal care or beauty marketer, leisure marketer, or healthcare marketer, your sweet spot is increasingly someone who wants to feel better, look better and play better, and a brand that fulfills these aspirations and goals.

It’s a growing market fueled by consumers of all ages on the lookout for products and services that promote healthier lifestyles and a better quality of life. And it’s demand spans all demographic segments and cuts across all sectors of the marketplace.

Case in point, consider the boundary-pushing feel better, look better and play better benefits of these exemplary cross-category brands.

1. Nike+ Fuelband (single universal way to track your active life)
2. Philosophy (products that inspire you to live a better life)
3. Nestle (nutrition, health & wellness)
4. Nestle Fitness – International (eat right, stay active – and by the way, good tone/burn videos)
5. Zumba (spreading fitness and happiness across the world)
6. Nature Valley (from natural ingredients to encouraging getting out and enjoying nature)
7. Intercontinental’s Even Hotels Brand (delivering health and fitness to wellness-minded travelers)
8. Zico Coconut Water (get the oomph you need, naturally)
9. Lululemon (cultivating an athletica community)
10. Walgreens (reinventing the pharmacy by being at the corner of happy & healthy)

Implications for Brand Owners

1. Seize the day. People are fired up about living better and healthier lives. Make your brand more relevant by inspiring and supporting them in their quest to do so.

2. To do #1, you need to re-think your purpose. Re-focus your story. Re-work your value proposition and priorities. Re-energize your customers and you’ll re-energize your business.

3. Understand what fuels your different audiences. Attitudes, motivations and behaviors vary by age. Young people are into fitness, competitive sports and weight loss (but not into eating as healthy). Parents and beginning boomers are into health, with activities focused around social and recreational activities. Middle boomers, with more “me-time” on their hands, engage in activities around health, recreational sports and increased attention to diet. Older boomers activities revolve around health and leisure.

4. Look beyond your current borders. See the world from the vantage point of your customers and their changing, needs, aspirations and preferences. Consider new partnerships and platforms that allow you to create new and greater value and help consumers to become more active participants in improving their health and quality of life. With who? What Action? Where?

5. It’s the little things. Which together, can add up to big gains. And they’re easier to put into practice. So think in simple ways. How can you help people to reach their health and wellness goals by saving them time, making it easy, making it fun, making it a shared experience.

The brands that help people to reach their full potential – to feel better, look better and play better – will be the brands that will win their hearts, minds and loyalty.

Where do consumers place your brand in their interconnected world of health, wellness and leisure?

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Nov
01

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How is a book written over two hundred years ago still relevant to brand marketers today?

‘Twas the year 1813 when Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice first hit the bookstands and danced its way into the hearts of many a young woman (and man).  Two hundred years later, Pride and Prejudice has become one of the most popular books in English literature and spawned countless film/TV show adaptations. Truth be told, it’s actually my mom’s favorite book and we watch every series that’s ever been made or adapted.

How is it that a book written over two centuries ago, can still be found at the top of “most beloved books” lists today? It’s enduring power lies in its relevancy and recipe plotline. Human nature hasn’t changed, the characters you meet in Austen’s novel are people that can still be recognized today. They are relatable, and the reader forms an emotional connection with them. Similarly, brands that want to endure, must find that classic formula to stay relevant and form an emotional bond with their customers.

Making Your Brand Relevant To People’s Lives

Be Purposeful. Have a purpose, tell a compelling (but still genuine) story and deliver on it. Like Jane Austen via her classic novels to her readers, get your customers to become emotionally involved in your brand – to fall in love with you, to feel connected to your purpose and what you are trying to accomplish. Whole Foods – more than just a grocery store, has a greater purpose in mind:

Our motto—Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet — emphasizes that our vision reaches beyond food retailing. In fact, our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people — customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general — and the planet.

Be healthy? Help the world? That’s something I can and want to support.

Be Useful. Be a brand your customers can’t live without. Cliched, but Apple comes to mind for this one. Personally, I’m not an avid fan of the brand (can get into this another time), YET, for my tech needs, I own mostly Apple products – MacBook Pro, iPad, iPod, iPhone. Why is that? Because Apple’s products are durable, they offer seamless integration, they are simple to use and make my everyday easier. I like anything that makes my life easier.

Be Unique. Show some personality. One that people can connect to and get passionate about.  Zappos always comes to mind for me – getting an email that says, “Your shopping cart is empty, and it’s a little sad,” never fails to put a smile on my face and I like a brand that can make me smile…emotional connection, see where I’m going with this?

Offer an experience like no other (brand). And make it uniquely yours. Walt Disney doesn’t just offer a unique experience, they offer customers an opportunity to enter another world. From media entertainment (movies, TV shows, radio channel, video/computer games) to theme parks and resorts, Walt Disney takes children, adults, families on adventures unmatched by any other brand. It’s no surprise they made the number one slot on APCO Worldwide’s Top 100 Most Loved Companies.

Be Real. We’ve become much more interested in doing business with (rather, in striking relationships with) companies and brands who we feel share our same ideals and values. Who are you? What do you stand for? Why should we care? Give us something real to believe in and that we want to be a part of, and demonstrate this through your actions. As our company focuses in the health, wellness and leisure industries, brands like Lululemon, Walgreens (on the corner of health and happiness), Philosophy Skin Care, Chobani and Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Products pretty quickly come to mind.

Thanks to Jane Austen. I bet she never could have imagined the context in which we’d be talking about her book.

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Oct
29

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Many companies still haven’t figured out how to market to boomers, including P&G and its corporate, faculty and student partners in its Live Well Collaborative innovation lab – whose goal is to research and develop product ideas for consumers age 50 and over. While they’ve completed 37 projects, they’ve yet to commercialize a single product.

This article on bloomberg.com – Aging Boomers Befuddle Marketers Aching for $15 Trillion Prize – underscores the enormous (though still untapped) opportunity available to brand marketers who can crack the code on this still underserved segment of 50+ consumers.

Dimensioning The Opportunity

According to Nielsen, more than half of the U.S. adult population in 2017 will be 50+ and they will control a full 70% of the disposable income. By 2050, there will be 161 million 50+ consumers, a 63% increase over 2010. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems to translate into a pretty sexy market. In spite of this, only about 15% of all ad dollars are spent against this demographic (though they account for almost 50% of CPG sales).

And beyond the sheer size of the market, consider just a few media consumption and spending statistics:
• Boomers watch 174 hours of television a month, 63% more than Millenials
• More than 50% are on Facebook
• They’re almost equally engaged to the same level of younger generational groups on all major social media platforms
• They spend $7 billion online annually, and this is quickly rising

So What’s Missing?

Existing 50-plus targeted products aren’t creating a lasting emotional connection with older consumers. Case in point is that nobody aspires to own products like adult diapers and denture adhesives. While some need to spend their money on these essentials (and they are, to the tune of $600 million annually on Depend), they have the dollars and the desire to spend (and splurge) on the things they truly want – the products and services that help them to not only feel better, but to look better and play better. That’s where companies so far have failed.

Cracking The Code

The challenge (and opportunity) is for brand marketers to make their brands more relevant to this massive market. But to do this, marketers need to view this market with a fresh set of eyes, and let go of some common misconceptions.

First. Even a discussion about the 50+ market in general can lead you down the wrong path, as it’s comprised of multiple lifestyle and attitudinal segments. Working or retired, in good health or in need of care, kids at home or empty nesters – these are just a few of the variables that distinguish these sub-groups and impact the relevancy of your marketing.

Second. Older consumers buy the same brands they always have. If that was true, says Ken Dychtwald, a gerontologist who’s been studying seniors for 40 years, ” I would still be driving a Chevy Impala and wearing English Leather.” On the contrary, Baby Boomers might just be the single most vibrant and exciting consumer group in the world.

Third. Boomers and seniors are cheap. Wrong. Boomers spend more than any other group on leisure and lifestyle. Same when it comes to their pets (their kid and grandkid fill-ins). And a survey of 3,000 60+ consumers by consulting firm A.T. Kearney found they’re not particularly price sensitive. Reinforcing this point, consider that more than 40% of Apple products are bought by boomers, according to Nielsen.

The lesson to be learned is that getting caught up in the stereotypes that surround the 50+ market are detrimental to your business. Rather, to your great financial benefit, learn how to cultivate the relationships with these people who have many more years of living and spending ahead of them. Do this by moving beyond their “must-haves” and reminders that time is winding down to creating experience-rich products and services that respond to their wants and aspirations.

Can you fill the elusive sweet spot and be the friendliest 50+ brand in your category? You only have a global market worth $15 trillion by the end of the decade as your prize.

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