Ten years ago, senior marketing hardly even existed. Advertising companies ignored the over-65s or simply treated them a single, homogenous demographic. Nowadays, 65 has become the new 50. At 65, people are still young and capable of all sorts of things. How should you relate to the needs of the growing over-65 demographic?
Senior marketing has changed dramatically
In recent years senior marketing has changed dramatically. Many commercials feature ‘elderly people’. Not only commercials for funeral insurance, dentures and hearing aids, but also ads for everyday products like detergents, healthy margarine and culinary mixes. And especially for leisure products such as cruises, theatre performances, museums, electric bikes and luxury relaxation seats.
Who is the typical over-65?
The typical over-65 doesn’t exist. The over-65s form a large demographic encompassing different ages, interests and needs. Whereas a 65-year-old who has just retired might want to do everything they didn’t have time for previously, an 80-year-old might just want to sit back and relax or visit the theatre. But it could just as easily be the other way around because no two people are the same. You are as young as you feel. Some over-65s remain active after retiring. They volunteer for charities or babysit their grandchildren. Others have had enough of all those duties and prefer to spend their time hiking, cycling, travelling, eating out. Life is full of opportunities and if you have enough disposable income, the world is your oyster. What all these different people do have in common though, is this: they want to enjoy life and they have enough time to do so. And you can respond to that.
How to respond to the vibrant senior citizen
‘Help them enjoy life’ is the magic formula. Make you sure you give them good service and high quality. Pamper them but don’t patronize them. You’re not dealing with so-called elderly people, but with vibrant senior citizens who want to make the most out of life.
Segmentalize your target group
Make sure you know who you’re dealing with. Empathize with your customers or guests, identify their needs. Your over-65 guest might want to eat abundantly, while your over-75 guest might prefer smaller portions for a lower price. But it’s even more important not to segmentalize according to age only. Over-65 consumers are as old as they feel. Try to segmentalize according to interests and needs instead. Come up with special arrangements that respond to those needs. For your museum-loving customer, for example, you could organize a deal with a local museum: a free croissant at your bakery with every museum ticket. Or what about workshops for grandparents and grandchildren, offering them an opportunity to learn how to make chocolate, decorate cakes or bake bread while spending quality time together?
Show them you’re offering high quality
Over-65s don’t like marketing jargon and promises, they want to know the real deal. Make sure you deliver high quality and provide good service, so they trust you. Don’t limit yourself to telling stories, but showcase your work. Make the area where you prepare your bread, pastry, chocolate or meals visible. And prepare your work during opening hours.
Respond to the health trend
The health trend is not exclusive to young hipsters, seniors also want to enjoy healthy food. Make sure your range includes healthy products. And be careful with the amount of food colourings, additives and sugars you include in your products.
Another important trend that’s not exclusive to hipsters and millennials is ‘clockless eating’. For example, all-day breakfast concepts are extremely popular. People want to eat typical breakfast food like pancakes, yoghurt and eggs for brunch, lunch or even dinner. Over-65s are also open to non-standard timeslots. They might not order granola for lunch, but many over-65s prefer to eat their main meal in the afternoon instead of in the evening. You can respond to that by offering hot meals at lunchtime and sandwiches at night.
How can you attract vibrant over-65s who have time on their hands and money to spend? How do you help them ‘live the good life’? Share your tips on our LinkedIn or Facebook page.