• How to Market Effectively to an Older Demographic

How to Market to an Older Demographic

While there are no set birth years for one to be considered a millennial, most researchers consider the earliest to be in the early 80’s. Therefore, the older demographic includes people 40 years of age and up. That’s quite a range. Of course, within that large demographic, approaches to marketing must change according to company-specific audience ages. Yet, there are some tips that will serve you well as you tailor your marketing to non-millennials. (But if you’re looking for how to market to millennials, we have a post on that too.)

Related eBook: 6 Sample Marketing Plans (free download)

How to Market to an Older Demographic

Tips for Marketing to Non-Millennials

Use Familiar Language

Marketing to any demographic requires that your key messages be clear and easy to understand. Clarity is a relative term, though. What is clear to a millennial who’s familiar with pop culture—just for the sake of example—may be confusing for an older person who doesn’t have that knowledge.

Therefore, when marketing to older individuals, you’ll want to use language, references, and examples they can understand and relate to. The latest internet slang and trendy terminology could go right over their heads. Worse yet, it could frustrate them, stopping them from interacting with your business further.

Gain an Understanding of Their Desires

While they may want the same products or services, the reasons for that may differ between millennials and their older counterparts.

Take, for example, the well-known footwear brand Birkenstock. More than ever, young people are wearing these shoes, although they were previously unpopular among that generation. Now, they’ve become somewhat of a trend, a cool thing to own and wear.

On the other hand, as was always the case with Birkenstocks, older people are less interested in the trend and more on the comfort the shoes provide.

This same principle of desire can translate into whatever you offer. Find out what your older audience cares about the most and incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

Give Assurances Every Step of the Way

Building trust is key. Without it, you’ll be missing out on a lot of sales. How can you establish trust? By giving assurances. Whenever you ask for personal information, explain why it’s needed and that it won’t be misused in any way. Offer a money-back or 100% satisfaction guarantee so they don’t feel as if they’re taking a risk on a business that could care less about their satisfaction. Remain consistent in your business practices so as never to break down the trust that you work hard to earn.

Choose The Best Social Media Platforms

Social media can be a good place to reach an older target audience…but only if you use the right platforms. Not all are equal.

Research has shown that 65% of people aged 50 to 64 use Facebook. 41% of those 65 and up also use the platform and prefer it over other platforms like Twitter (Source: Pew Research Center).

That said, you need to “go where the people are,” so to speak. This is true not just as a whole, but also in relation to segments of your audience. For example, if a large portion of your audience is women, marketing on Pinterest may be worthwhile. Needless to say, a good understanding of your target demographic is essential.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Online Marketing

Online and social media marketing aren’t the only ways to reach the older demographic. In fact, offline marketing may be more effective and familiar in some cases. Therefore, it’s best to leverage a mix of online and offline strategies. These might include catalogs, TV and newspaper ads, radio segments, and so on.

Personalize Each Person’s Experience

Times have changed…and quite quickly to boot. Even those in their 40’s and 50’s agree that life and business have done a 360. One thing that’s changed is interaction. Years ago, there was no choice but to offer person-to-person customer support. Today, automation makes it seem as if there’s no choice but to make purchase decisions without that support!

If you really want to win the favor of an older demographic, one of the keys is personalization. Respond to inquiries via phone instead of email. Have live bodies manning your phone line to ensure that your customers get what they need. Provide as much in-person support as you can. This can do wonders for your business.

Simplify Your Sales Process

A simple process overall is a wise idea. It eliminates the frustration that costs you sales and misunderstandings that result in damage to your reputation.

However, it’s especially important online. It’s best to assume that older people are not as tech-savvy as the younger generations. So it should be easy for them to navigate your website, reach out to you with inquiries, and do anything else they may need to do.

Marketing Mastery: The Older Demographic

By putting into practice the seven tactics above, you can master the art of appealing to the young-at-heart. Yet, for you to succeed, your approach must be based on facts, research done about your audience.

So that’s your starting point. Collect or bulk up the data you have about your potential customers. Who are they, what’s their background, what do they value, what do they want or need? Determining all these things and more will give you the foundation for effective marketing!

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Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant is passionate about helping small business owners create and execute solid marketing strategies, and writes blogs with a particular focus on inbound marketing and branding.

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