Every 7 seconds someone turns 55.  The question is, do they fall off the media plan when they do?  After all, they are no longer in the ever-popular demo of 25-54. Unfortunately, the answer is many times “Yes”.

At MayoSeitz we handle clients with varying demographic targets, and we have a keen appreciation for the 55+ audience and their importance to marketers. However, many advertisers (foolishly in some cases) still covet a younger demo, and the target of many media plans cuts off at age 54. The old school strategy of “get them young and keep them for life” is outdated and no longer has the same relevance. Technology has changed that, and brand loyalty has often waned.  Older brands can become obsolete in a Jiffy (although, for our older readers, “Choosy Mothers Still Occasionally do Choose Jif”).

The leading edge of the Baby Boomers (55-64) are now turning 65, and this group buys more technology and gizmos (40%) than any other demo. They own more smartphones and iPads, and interestingly are less loyal to brands than even their Gen X or Gen Y counterparts. Maybe they didn’t buy into the Brand Loyalty For Life theory. They are a highly educated demo, with many of their college educations driven by the desire to avoid getting drafted and going to Vietnam in the 60’s and early 70’s.  College also didn’t cost as much then, even with adjustments for inflation.

Looking over the horizon as this group ages and moves into the 65+ group, most will maintain their financial independence but will put a serious strain on our government spending while doing so (a far bigger topic for a future Monitor). And as life expectancy increases, the 65+ group will double in size in the coming decades.

So in targeting the 55+ audience be sure to follow these simple rules:

 1. Respect their wealth and intelligence

2. Don’t stereotype them as silver couples playing golf driving their cart together.

3. They can afford to buy technology and they do.

4. Don’t assume they will continue to buy a traditional brand because they once did.

Those born in February 1956 and earlier have tremendous influence on our business and culture. Wise marketers (and their media agencies) understand that.

Thoughts and feedback are always appreciated.