The Market Opportunity You May be Undervaluing ... or Worse, Overlooking

As next year’s presidential election heats up, candidates are embracing policies and scheduling campaign stops at senior centers in a bid to appeal to older Americans. These politicians may be a step ahead of brands exclusively targeting millennials and ignoring older consumers, consumers who – by today’s standards – aren’t even that “old.”

Are marketers missing an opportunity with a new breed of active aging consumers, whose spending power presents huge revenue-generating potential? This was the topic of conversation at a recent 360PR+ roundtable with brands and agencies serving an array of categories and guest speaker Jeff Weiss, CEO of Age of Majority, who shared results of new research with U.S. consumers 55+.

The research found that a full half (52%) of older consumers are open to switching brands when they shop. That also includes embracing new technology, with 4 in 10 having purchased or planning to purchase a smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Echo in the next two years.

They also turn to tech for their media consumption, spending 18 hours a week online and carrying their mobile phone everywhere they go (78 percent), according to MRI data, as pointed out by 360PR+ Director of Insights and Brand Strategy Alison Swift.

So, if they’re trying – and buying – new things, and they’re consuming media where marketers already are targeting, why are these consumers largely being neglected? “Fear of Marketing Older” – or FOMO as Weiss calls it – may be to blame, according to Age of Majority’s research, which found that half of marketers believe targeting older consumers could alienate younger ones.

If done right, including active aging consumers in your brand’s marketing mix can build deeper connections with new and even existing audiences. But many brands who market to this group are getting it all wrong in the delivery, says Weiss, whether that’s by labeling products “for seniors,” as if age is their defining characteristic, or depicting them as old and fragile, when many are in fact hitting their physical and financial stride. That may be why only 25% of consumers 55+ think marketers are doing a good job of engaging them. The other 75%? With the purchasing power and appetite to switch brands, they’re yours for the taking.

 The takeaway: When you’re tackling your next marketing challenge, don’t overlook the untapped opportunity with consumers 55+.