New research has revealed that 27% of consumers over the age of 55 feel brands are too focused on targeting younger people.

With ‘millennial’ being the buzzword on every brand’s lips at the moment, it appears they’ve got a point.

In line with this, here's a look at how some companies are marketing to older people, and why their tactics resonate with this key demographic. 

The stats used are from this recent report by Mailjet.

Flora ProActiv

While health and nutrition is an important issue for all generations, it obviously becomes more of a concern as we age.

As a result, brands like Flora ProActiv (which sells a health-related product) have a natural affinity with older consumers, and need to tailor their approach accordingly.

There’s nothing particularly eye catching about ProActiv’s branding. 

However, what is noticeable about its website in particular is that it includes a hell of a lot of help and information.

With 23% of over 55’s saying that brands do not focus on customer service or provide advice in their marketing message, ProActiv’s approach is likely to appeal. 

As well as educating consumers about cholesterol, the site also uses social proof to further promote its product, including a section of ‘Success Stories’ to evoke consumer confidence.

Saga Holidays

Cruises have always had a reputation as the mature traveller’s holiday of choice. 

While you might assume Saga Holidays – a company specifically for those aged over 50 - is the most stereotypical of them all, it’s actually pretty innovative when it comes to its marketing.

Despite the assumption that older consumers are less tech-savvy than the young, less than a tenth now use travel brochures over online methods to research holidays. 

What’s more, 65% are more likely to book a holiday with a company that offers deals via email. 

Refusing to patronise older consumers, Saga’s focus on email communication as well as its presence on social media channels means that it is meeting the growing demand for personalised and relevant online content – regardless of age.

Warner Leisure Hotels 

Another travel brand, Warner Hotels successfully recognises the needs of its target market.

Discounts and deals appear to be a popular incentive, and this is a focus of much of Warner Hotels' online presence, with savings promoted on its homepage and a dedicated ‘offers’ section.

With deals for Autumn breaks and advanced bookings, the travel site also recognises that older consumers might prefer travelling during off-peak times such as May and September.

L’Oréal

L’Oréal is a brand that’s set on disrupting the youth-obsession within the beauty industry.

Recognising the fact that women might actually want to look their age (and not reverse time), its Golden Age campaign is a great example of how to engage consumers in their fifties and over.

Not only does it use Helen Mirren as the face of its adverts – a woman known for refusing to bow down to the pressures placed on women in the media – but it also uses language to empower.

Highlighting the freedom and sense of irreverence that can come with growing older, it promotes the fact that there is no 'perfect' age.

Marks & Spencer

M&S is often criticised for its confusing and somewhat patronising marketing.

Is its target audience the Alexa Chung generation or those of the same era as Twiggy?

While this is not yet clear, I still think the brand deserves a mention for recognising that consumers don't always shop based on such distinct age demographics. 

Who says a woman in her fifties can’t wear the same item of clothing as a woman in her twenties?

M&S promotes this notion in its marketing campaigns, often using models ranging in age.

While this might mean it's in danger of losing sight of who its core shopper is, there’s still something to be said for its all-inclusive approach. 

Barclays

Despite the older generation typically preferring face-to-face interaction with brands, many are getting on board with technology such as online shopping and banking.

Recognising that a lack of confidence and concerns over security might prevent people from signing up, Barclays launched ‘Digital Eagles’ – an initiative designed to help get consumers get up to speed and using their online services.

As well as using relatable language, like ‘Tea and Teach sessions’ to describe learning courses, it also places a heavy focus on customer service.

What's more, its downloadable guides can be accessed in Braille, large print or audio.

This ensures that all consumers will remain interested rather than feel alienated or excluded from getting involved.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 3 October, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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