Marketing Insight: Don’t Patronise Pensioners
Every audience needs credible content, it needs to speak to them directly and build an instant rapport. Why is it then, when people reach retirement age do we so readily feel a need patronise with preachy, poorly written and fear fueled content ? There’s much more to later life marketing than information.
Over the past two years I’ve been working with Age UK Islington to get together older people living in one of London’s boroughs. With an ageing population in excess of 11.6m, the 65+ in the UK make up a big chunk of the demographic. They represent important constituents who regularly vote, they’re often influential in local communities and their family networks can spread generations – they’re a vital audience to connect with and, for many, a time rich customer waiting to be reached.
So why then does so little communication effectively engage with this audience. Why is later life marketing underinvested in.
Content Approach to Later Life Marketing
My observation is that too few offer an ageing audience credible content. Health messages dominate with headline fear tactics, discounts and deals miss the opportunity to promote experience and, where content is targeted, it tends to churn out the expected as opposed to the intriguing.
Granted, there are some factors that need to be considered; font size, font clarity, clear contact details and well written instructions. But I’m not sure why people throw out design innovations, great pictures and creative energy when communicating to a mature adult audience. Honestly, how many pictures of grannies drinking tea are needed in an attempt to say “we understand your needs”.
Emotive Approach to Later Life Marketing
Our elders still have emotions, they still want to explore, learn new things, feel new experiences. They were the ravers of our past, they’ve been through more food fads than I’ve had hot dinners and many have traveled the world. Current culture and cuisine is of more interest than crutches and colostomy bags.
“When I was his age I thought old people moan and they always say ‘When I was young…’ I wanted Zi to know that I was just as zestful as I always was. In my mind I’m 21!”
Sheona Josiah, 54, talking about artist Zi Lang, 26.
Magazine Approach to Later Life Marketing
Putting our money where our mouth is, we’ve been producing a magazine for 55+ residents in Islington, London. We’ve avoided rehashing press releases or pumping endless top tips on health, instead covering localised content and advice for later life with fresh, curated editorial commissions. We do tackle the expected, through unexpected approaches. Our aim has been to make it authentic and credible, an approach that seems to have paid off. A recent reader was keen to tell us “you’ve made being 55+ in Islington feel fabulous”. We can’t speed up the ageing process, but we can make it the envy of everyone who’s on the waiting list.
Check out the online version of the magazine www.GTislington.com and, if you run a charity with mature clients, we’ve got a ‘Better Together’ magazine model we’d be keen to talk to you about (great content, at affordable rates).