AARP is betting that a new generation of seniors mean more spending by marketers. Scott Tong of MarketPlace Business talked to Lori about the risks and rewards of marketing to older consumers.
Next week a new marketing company linked to AARP will launch to target adults 50 and over. Influent50 is part of AARP’s for-profit subsidiary.
This is a wealthy, arguably ignored demographic. Influent50 says just 10 percent of marketing money targets people over 50.
“There’s also an opportunity to not be good at it,” says Lori Bitter of the Business of Aging consultancy. She says this is a hard group to target well.
As people age, Bitter says, their buying psychology changes: They no longer want, say, BMW to tell them what the ultimate driving machine is. They’d prefer Apple suggest they “Think Different.”
“It’s allowing us to think about ourselves as opposed to being told what the product is about,” Bitter says.
She and others say marketers have been tripping over a few myths about older adults.
One: that they don’t spend money.
Two: that they’re overly brand loyal.
“I’m not going to buy a different brand of mayonnaise — I like my mayonnaise,” independent advertising consultant Chuck Nyren says. “But everything else is open. And people go to the store, and they’re constantly looking for something different.”
Oh, and one other myth: This group wants to be treated as old people. After all, 50-somethings are represented in this demographic.
Is there an example of what works in today’s marketplace?
“The new Viagra spots,” says Paul Gilbert, at the marketing agency Register Media. “It’s a woman in probably her 40s or 50s, talking about the things Viagra is used for. Think about the sophistication: It has great views and is written for that boomer mindset.”
The marketing firm out of AARP wants to reach boomers on behalf of corporate clients in the initial areas of travel and insurance and eventually pharmaceuticals.