Marketing to Seniors

seniorsNot only are there currently more Americans over age 65 than at any other time in U.S. history, but seniors ages 85 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the population. Learning what turns seniors into consumers for your business could open up a new market for you. Just as you would never use the same marketing tactics to reach newly married couples as couples who have been married for 20 years, marketing to seniors means understanding they have different needs and wants than younger customers depending on a number of factors, such as financial and employment status, health, gender, and social and family environment. Here’s what you need to know:

Don’t call them seniors. If you’re marketing to this demographic, you have to remember they don’t really think of themselves as “old.” According to a Pew Social Trends Report, Americans ages 50 to 64 believe old age starts at 72 (while adults ages 18 to 29 think if you’re 60, you’re old). Even those who are already 65 (or a little older) believe you’re not old until you turn 74.

Seniors are three times as likely to use a social networking site now as in 2009. According to the most recent survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 43 percent of Internet users 65 and older say they use social media. Facebook is primarily the platform of choice; seniors use it to keep up with family members, look up old friends and find others with similar hobbies.

Smartphone usage is minimal. While seniors are comfortable with computing on desktop computers, they’re not exactly mobile device maniacs. Only 18 percent of U.S. adults over age 65 own a smartphone and that’s an increase of just 3 percent from 2012. However, those seniors that do own smartphones are a hot market because most of them have incomes of $75,000 and up. If you are trying to reach seniors for an upscale product or service, mobile marketing could be the way to go.


Photo Credit: Catherine Yeulet/iStockphoto/Thinkstock