Marketing to Graybeards

GrayBeard copyIt is interesting to note that with the current Internet marketing frenzy of websites, email promotions and Social Media, that a large marketing segment is being overlooked. Today, when Millennia’s would rather text than talk, Social Media and On-Line shopping have emerged as the contemporary phenomenon to shop and buy. However, not everyone has caught up in this trend.

The 65 and older market represents a huge segment of the buying public, yet promoting to Traditional’s has been somewhat overlooked or taken for granted by marketers who are mesmerized by Social Media. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) prefer print media. For many of the Senior Market Print Magazines are still their choice over on-line publications.

So cyber marketing is not reaching them to any great extent. What is? These are folks who still read magazines, look at direct mail brochures and shop from catalogs, but you would not know that talking to Generation Xrs’ and Millennia’s who believe that catalogs are a thing of the past and no one reads magazines anymore.

Example: Rick spends a lot of money on his car collection. He has a Cobra, a Model A, a ’32 truck, and several other vintage and classic cars. Rick is like many of the 60+ auto enthusiasts who harkens back to their youth. So now that they have the money, they buy and restore the cars of their time. Like many of us motorhead graybeards, we grew up reading Hot Rod Magazine for articles and ads and buying parts and accessories from catalogs. Many of us, like Rick, still do. Rick doesn’t buy on-line, because he doesn’t even own a computer. Rick subscribes to over thirty monthly magazines. This may surprise some contemporary marketers, but the move to e-commerce has left Rick and many of the old-timers in the dust that still respond to old school advertising.

The first rule of marketing is to focus on your primary target market. Traditional print media is still a viable promotional element in reaching segments of the buying market today, even in a world of Amazon and eBay shopping. If you are selling to a mature audience, consider media that is reaching them collateral like , print ads, direct mail, catalogs radio and TV commercials. Most important, create ad copy that appeals directly to them. Yes, a youthful image will have sex and sales appeal to some, but the message has to motivate the prospective buyer. Used large type. Most senior’s need reading glasses and that 5-point thin font may look great on the iPhone is hard to read. Direct the prospect where to buy the product… a local dealer… or to call direct. Remember they may not be surfing the web so they may never go to your website no matter how great it is. Don’t get too crazy with graphics, keep it simple. While graybeards may not be down with the latest trends, they have money and they are buying things.

Selling to specific market segments requires a comprehensive analysis of the demographics, the creative ability to communicate the right message that appeals to the target markets wants and needs, and the experience to implement a campaign utilizing the most effective media. Tom Smisek is a Marketing Consultant based out of Orange County. For more information contact: Tom Smisek CPC