Marketing to the Over 70 Cohort

Who would have thought we’d be talking about marketing to the over 70 cohort? Maybe not the millennials out there. But, truth be told, this is a hugely profitable market for all kinds of products and services.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are an estimated 40 million adults age 70+ in the U.S. today.

Boomers began turning 70 in 2016, and we are just beginning to see the effects. Today, Boomers are age 57 to 75, which means that a majority of them have yet to reach this milestone age. In fact, Boomers will continue to grow the 70+ population through 2034.  

AARP Media Solutions calculated the growth rates of this group using U.S. Census Bureau data.  They project that over the next 10 years (2021 – 2031), the 70+ population will grow by 15.6 million, compared to the 18-49 population, which will grow by about half as much.

Adults 70+ are responsible for $1.1 trillion in annual spending on consumer goods and services.

Easy to Target

They make up 25% or more of all spending among 50+ adults in many categories. This includes pharmaceuticals, health insurance, medical supplies, AV equipment, personal care products, apparel, entertainment, household furnishings and renovations and vehicle insurance.

70+ adults are pursuing passions and purpose and are highly receptive to brands that help them create the lives they envision. Marketers should act accordingly, demonstrating how they can help 70+ reach their goals.

Brands that make older consumers visible in their marketing will be the first to get their attention. Then, the goal is for brands to demonstrate an ability to help today’s 70+ create the lives they envision. It’s all about passion and purpose.

Eighty year-olds drag themselves onto the tennis courts and seventy-somethings enthusiastically kayak and hike mountainsides. Baby boomers refuse to be or act old until it’s absolutely unavoidable

Businesses that do a great job marketing to the over 70 cohort

The entire travel industry does well with this segment. One of the big boomer trends is the compulsion to see it/do it before it can’t be seen or done anymore. The Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, Venice – boomers feel a need to visit places, species, and lifestyles that are vanishing and experience them for themselves. Environmental concerns, such as global warming, seem to have exacerbated these feelings. Seeing polar or spirit bears in their natural environment or visiting Antarctica, for example, are high on the “must-see” list.

The cruise industry direct mails their catalogs to this segment. I especially want to give a shout out to Regent and Oceania. I think they do a fabulous job marketing to the over 70 cohort. They depict them as vibrant, attractive and active. And, luxury oriented. Remember, this group has the disposable dollars to afford luxury.

Missing the Boat

The auto industry is not taking advantage of the buying power of this segment. I went online to various automobile websites checking out how they represent this cohort. In short, they aren’t. I see photos of cars – not compelling pictures of the drivers. I really was surprised by this omission.

In an article by Todd Wasserman, he says that brands to help them live their best lives, to make them feel like they still matter, that their lives have value. One of the hardest things for aging consumers is seeing themselves become invisible to companies and brands. What they want from marketers is what everyone else wants: to be seen, heard, understood and cared about.

And, they want it to be easy to digest.

TIP on digital marketing to the over 70 cohort:

Designing websites for a broader group of people should consider “invisible disability,” or limitations that people may overlook, such as age-related vision loss. The findings are that websites that cannot accommodate these types of disabilities have a higher bounce rate. I am taking this comment to heart. We will be changing the font on the Dataman Group website to make it easier to read.

Another easy-to-do-great-response marketing idea:

Birthday mailings to this group. Restaurants do a great job with this. They can buy a birthday mailing list, and mail postcards or birthday cards with an offer to this group. Remember, the over 70 group is not just an early-bird special cohort. Milestone birthdays have impact.

Think outside the box!

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