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Direct Response Marketing

My Generation: 'New Seniors' Offer Big Sales Potential for DRTV Products

11 Jul, 2010 By: Donald L. Potter Response

Why struggle trying to cultivate unfamiliar market segments when there is a growing consumer group ready-made for your product? Whether you sell through direct response channels or have extended distribution into retail outlets, millions of pre-Boomers — already proven spenders — await your ad messages and millions more will be joining them in the years to come. The question is, are you ready for them?

The impact of the “Boomer consumer” will be apparent as the first of the 76 million Baby Boomers turn 65 in 2011. These birthday celebrations will occur more than 18 million times over the next five years and continue to do so until 2030. But to effectively motivate those who make up this high-potential market requires an intimate understanding of what makes them unique, what turns them on or off and how to talk with them in order to close the sale.

The forgotten 30 million pre-Boomers (born between 1930 and 1945) represent a bigger market than the total of all adult Hispanics living in this country. Combined, pre-Boomers and Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) account for about 110 million experienced consumers. That’s about the same number of people as Gen X and Y together. The oldest Gen X is 45 and the youngest Gen Y is merely 16. So their needs and wants are quite varied, which results in a number of smaller segments to identify and deal with rather than the large, more homogeneous and purchasing-savvy group of mature individuals.

“New Seniors” will represent just 17 percent of the total U.S. population in 2015 — just less than 50 million consumers. However, they will account for a third of all discretionary income and control more than half of total American financial assets. These are the people with the money; it’s up to you to determine how to get them to spend it. Therefore, the more you know about them the greater the chances of success.

Take a look at the array of media that appeals to the X and Y generations, compared to those embraced by the older generations. The former demographics are reached by a fragmented mix of media not unlike their psychographic and sociographic differences. As might be expected, the younger the consumer, the more apt they are to be influenced by mobile technology and social media than the more traditional ones.

Those 65 and older read newspapers at nearly twice the rate of the overall population (71 percent vs. 42 percent). They watch more TV than other adults, with a third of them watching five hours or more each day. And they are fans of talk radio.

While this group was slower than others to go online, they are the fastest growing segment in Internet usage, with nearly 40 percent now using their computers for research, 30 percent to buy products and another 25 percent to make travel plans online. The soon-to-be “New Senior” population is almost twice as likely to use the Internet for these activities as their older pre-Boomer counterparts. In addition, social networking destinations are also being visited by those 65+ at an ever-increasing rate.

Media usage data suggests that “New Seniors” can still be reached most efficiently through standard DRTV advertising vehicles — but other DR media, such as print and radio, are also effective in reaching large numbers of this audience at a given time. As more of these 65+ potential buyers use the Internet, efficiencies can be realized by directing these people to your Web site for information and ordering rather than relying on costly telemarketing activities. They will also take what they learn to retail outlets and look for your product at their favorite stores.

Don’t let this platinum opportunity slip through your fingers. “New Seniors” are highly quantifiable, have the money to purchase the products they want and are predisposed to buying the brands they believe suit their particular needs. Get ahead of what could be the most important marketing wave of the next decade. You can ride it all the way by recognizing this emerging market and creating products as well as advertising campaigns expressly for “New Seniors.”

About the Author: Donald L. Potter

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