Further to the SERC symposium on “Mature Consumer Marketing”, lots of nuggets to sift out from the April 18 panel conversation. If you were a business with a product not necessarily aimed at aging demographics, you still could have gained some ideas from being there. I think there’s this assumption that the only products that matter to older people are things like stair lifts, pain pills and reverse mortgages. You know the usual suspects on that list!
A vast range of products for mature consumers is up for grabs though – from smart phones, cars, and furniture to vacations, food and pet paraphernalia. The best general advice from the panellists regards marketing any of these product categories (including the stair lifts) is – don’t start by talking down to the audience using age as the starting reference point. People can get offended easily by the first impression you create if that’s where you start.
Market research that centers on buying behaviours of a well profiled individual through a lifetime cycle of customer relationship informs you more about preferences as a consumer matures. But what business actually spends the time to database their customer information?
One of the neat nuggets from Chris Wiegand of Jibestream Interactive was that new digital technologies can help profile and individualize product options for making qualified buying decisions. Of course the key question here is that depending on the product, is the person making the buying decision the older “end user” or someone younger on their behalf?