2019 Trends In Marketing To The Over 50s

What’s in store for marketing to the Over 50s in the coming months? Here are my top 5 predictions

Over 50s Marketing Will Take Centre Stage

This is perhaps the most significant trend for 2019 and beyond.

The past three to four years were spent educating companies and brands on the relevance of the over 50s market. Today, nobody doubts that the over 50s, 60s, 70s and Seniors are an economic powerhouse. They control a large chunk of savings, wealth and spending.

Marketers now recognise the impact that this demographic has on both, top line revenues and bottom line profits. We are seeing advertising agencies starting to specialise in this age group and company CMOs are seeing the need to have different strategies for different generations.

Happily, it is the end of the era when advertisements aimed at older people seldom understood the emotions and information needs of the target audience. Consequently, the imagery and messages involved in the marketing process were stereotypes from ages long past and could sometimes even be downright condescending.

2019 will see better constructed and executed marketing plans that are designed for this demographic rather than as an after thought or add-on.

Marketers will start treating the over 50s as individuals and not a uniform group

Successful marketers will no longer base their campaigns on a single persona for this age group, but will rather see the over 50s, 60s, 70s, 80+ age groups as a diverse group of customers with varying needs and preferences.

What a 50-year-old needs and wants is very different from the requirements of a 70-year-old, but somehow this rather easy piece of logic was ignored in the past. Whilst this rather basic mistake is unlikely to be repeated in 2019, there is not a lot of relevant historical data on which to base marketing decisions, because these age groups were indeed lumped together in the past.

Two factors will help. First is a sometimes forgotten fact that Generation X started entering their 50s some four years ago and because they were so recently in their 40s, there is a mass of information about their buying and lifestyle habits. Secondly, the very high incidence of mobile phone ownership, tablet ownership and membership of Facebook in the older demographic, will yield knowledge about their habits very quickly; especially with the growing use of AI in making marketing and advertising decisions.

The return of story telling to build brand loyalty in the 60 to 70 group

The marketers who have experimented with special campaigns for this group would attest that this demographic is generally harder to influence, but once they try and adopt a product, they are very loyal. Unlike the millennials where influencers are a pathway to brand trials, for customers in their 60s, 70s and older,  it is all about telling a compelling story that resonates with them. Once, brands prove their value to these customers they are more likely to recommend it to their peers and continue engaging with the brand.

The success of storytelling as a marketing tool is not really surprising. Afterall, people in these age groups grew up with a staple of stories – through reading books and serialisations in magazines. Even the television successes were serials and sitcoms whilst today the TV successes amongst younger generations are reality shows.

Using story telling in marketing will work for this age group, provided the medium is right. Digital has proven a disappointment as far as long focus and attention is concerned. The increase of story telling as a successful channel for the over 50s , will also mean an increase in print, TV and  movies as preferred channels.

Stories are in the DNA of the 60s, 70s ad older age groups. Expect more creative ways of storytelling in the marketing armoury for this age group in 2019.

More innovation in age-friendly media

With the heightened interest in the Over 50s demographic, 2019 will also see more innovation in the media that are already popular with this age group such as Print, TV and Radio. However, perhaps more excitingly, we can look forward to quicker developments in new media for this age group, for instance Virtual Reality (VR)

Right now, VR is not a plug and play technology that is easily deliverable to individual consumers, but it is cheap enough and convenient enough to be used at exhibition booths or for in-store promotions. The industries that can really benefit from VR straight away are travel, property developers, retirement villages and charity fund raisers.

Just think of it – you can show an enticing pamphlet or video about a cruise; or you can transport the customer right on to the ship in the middle of the pacific for a few minutes. They can walk around the ship, look out on the open sea, enjoy an exciting show, hear the friendly chatter in the fine dining restaurant on board and virtually reach out and open the cabin door – No Contest.

Expect VR to gain a foothold in the exhibitions and promotions space in 2019.

Advertising ROI Will Improve for this demographic

With all the improvements in marketing to the over 50s I have listed, every CMO who has been paying attention to this demographic can expect a better ROI. If marketers stop neglecting this audience as they have done in the past; understand them better through better segmentation and AI assisted information gathering and finally use techniques such as storytelling, print and VR that the Over 50s can relate to – then, but only then – improved ROI is the natural result.

Navin Pasricha, Chief Editor, Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide