Advertising is as obsessed with the new new thing as it is with youth, often forgetting that the richest, most influential group of consumers already exists and though they might be older, they are full of life and optimism - Mike Teasdale explains how to speak to this crucial audience.
I am about to become the same age my Dad was when he died from a heart attack. Not surprisingly, I have been thinking about him recently, and about my own future.
Traditionally, the mid-fifties are a time when physical decay, declining status, eroding sexual power, and shrinking parental duties all start to hit home and make you question your primary role in life. I have those same thoughts of course but my state of mind is positive, and I am relishing the prospect of deciding how best to spend my remaining years.
If you are a brand marketer interested in learning how to appeal to me in this golden window before true old age and declining health and diminishing wealth combine to make me less attractive as a target, then read on…
The main thing to understand is that I am not like my Dad. Attitudes have changed in the last generation, so I am more like a Millennial than my Dad.
But unlike most Millennials, I have loads of cash. Think of me as a Millionaire Mature Millennial. Now that is a segment guaranteed to cure ED among any brand marketer.
Not only am I wealthy, but I am also healthy. I am going to enjoy an active third age. For example, I am planning to complete some ultra-long running journeys. For me, there is no purer expression of me-time, freedom, enjoyment, or living in the now than running from A to B for no reason other than the joy of the journey.
Not only am I wealthy and healthy, but I am also up for new things. I like to think I am informed, empowered, self-aware, and confident. I am not technology-averse or too stuck in my ways.
In short, I am full of life and optimism. So, as Pat Benatar sang, hit me with your best shot!
To help, here are some messaging tropes you might consider tapping into if you want to connect with me.
I am no psychotherapist, but in my experience women and men have reverse life trajectories. Women spend the first half of their life on a journey of self-discovery and the second half flexing their personal power. By contrast, men spend the first half of their life focused on power and achievement and the second half on a journey of self-discovery. I know I did.
Think about feeding my appetite for exploration and experimentation. How can you help me savour new sensations, learn new skills, or deepen my knowledge of myself or the world around me?
This is a stage of life where I do not have to be so focused on others. Everything I do now can be for myself. So, whether it is one of those running journeys or indulging my taste in cars or interior decoration or even just reading a book… any undertaking can be positioned as a gift to myself, a gift I deserve because I have earned it.
Why not encourage me to pick-up things previously left unfinished or those events that have been long planned?
This is not quite about completing my legacy but there is an element of that about it. This is about friendships and reconciliations and declarations. If people have been left behind in life’s adventure, then now is the time for them to be re-connected with.
And as you tap into these themes, please bear in mind how best to advertise to someone like me…
- Respect my experience
Do not talk down to me, patronize me or try to mislead me because I will call BS on you.
- Be authentic
Show me realistic portrayals of my life. So, avoid lazy ageist stereotypes but also avoid unrealistic glamorous models. I want to see people who have lived, people who have set an example, and people who have clearly had some fun along the way.
- Be playful
I am not sitting at home planning my funeral. I want humour that shares a knowing joke. I want to play a bit. Make me smile!
- Make it relatable
Give me engaging stories I can connect with, product detail, and rational points of difference. Use melodic music rather than rhythmic dance tracks. Above all, do not employ a film editor who goes by the nickname “Fast-cut Freddie”.
That should all be do-able, especially given the size of the prize on offer. So why is that I feel disengaged from most advertising I see on TV? Why do I feel that most ads are not targeted at me, even those where I am a purchaser? This is my time, so why do I have this niggling worry that far from being catnip I am in fact invisible to brand marketers?