Monday, October 13, 2014

Retire Hopes for Unitary Retirement Marketing

Many retailers have recognized the lucrative opportunities in marketing to older shoppers. The largest single age cohort among American consumers is those age 65 and over. But determining the sales hooks for these consumers has proven to be tougher than anticipated. Where a limited set of approaches can work well for younger cohorts, such as Millennials, one size is far from fitting all when it comes to seniors.
      Researchers at Germany’s Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen set out to discover why. The answers had to do with cognitive age and item categories. “Cognitive age” refers to how old the shopper feels rather than how old the shopper is by calendar measure. Unlike younger consumers, who tend to identify themselves by calendar age, the seniors in a specific age cohort can differ widely in how old they feel.
     Retailers can benefit from noticing who accompanies the older shopper and how the older shopper interacts with the companions. If the senior citizen is accompanied by those who are clearly younger and the senior citizen defers to their judgment, this shopper likely has a higher cognitive age. As another example, if the older shopper is accompanied by those who appear to be of similar age and is participating actively in purchase decisions, the cognitive age is probably lower, and the shopper may be more interested in item categories targeted to somewhat younger customers.
      A lower cognitive age doesn’t mean rejection of retirement labels, though. In fact, there is likely to be greater acceptance. In the TUM research, retirees who were close friends with other retirees and had changed their buying habits when retiring were especially likely to respond to offers of senior discounts and the use of “senior” in item descriptions, such as “educational classes for seniors.”
     Researchers at Ghent University and Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School had consumers, all at least age 40, evaluate the attractiveness of various labels for older shoppers. The research participants were quite comfortable with “50+,” “senior,” and “retired.” Any of these three would usually be good for you to feature in advertising, signage, product packaging, and personal selling addressed to this important older target market.
     However, there was an important exception: Respondents approaching age 50 or retirement didn't like the labels as much as did people who had been in the group for a while. We hate surrendering thoughts of youth, even if the youth is middle age.

Click below for more: 
Store Goodwill with Seniors 
Market to Seniors, not to Elderly 
Offer the Time of Their Lives to Senior Citizens 
Brain It on Home with Senior Citizen Emotions 
Supply Quality Time to Senior Shoppers

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