Brands Attempt to Reach Older Generations Through Digital Marketing

Seniors couple using a laptop computerDigital advertising is no longer optional for businesses. Instead, it’s a necessity. Online advertising represents a $149 billion annual business, so it’s certainly not a passing fad. These days, it’s easier than ever to reach your intended audience with online advertising — at least, in theory.

But in many cases, online advertising is targeted towards those ubiquitous millennials. Businesses consider them to be the primary audience, and sometimes even ignore other demographics as a result. Recent research has shown that 27% of senior consumers (aged 55 and older) feel that brands are too focused on reaching younger people. Many older consumers feel abandoned and out-of-touch with companies who choose to market in this very specific way.

But some companies are seeing this gap as a unique opportunity to market their products and services to this neglected demographic. For instance, many health and medicinal brands are seizing the chance to market to older consumers. Our health is important at any age, but it becomes a prime concern as the years go by. Flora ProActiv, which sells spreads and drinks to help lower cholesterol, has chosen to provide a plethora of health knowledge on its website. Since 23% of consumers 55 and over say that brands do not provide adequate customer service or do not give advice in their marketing, this is a tactic that will most likely resonate with many people. Flora ProActiv provides educational information about cholesterol and how to lower it, as well as promotion through customer testimonials and success stories. This provides website visitors with a sense of honesty and reliability — traits that many older consumers want to see in the products they buy.

Another category in which older generations are largely ignored is the beauty industry. Our culture is generally youth-obsessed and fixated on beauty. Beauty brand L’Oréal saw an opening to address older women who didn’t want to remove their wrinkles or turn back the clock, but who simply wanted to look and feel their best at their age. The company recently launched their Golden Age campaign, featuring actress Helen Mirren, which empowers older women and encourages them to not conform to society’s unrealistic expectations of beauty. The campaign promotes the freedom that comes with age. This move is practically unheard of for a cosmetic company, but it certainly made a huge impact.

Despite the fact that older generations are typically thought of as being less technologically savvy than young people, many companies — like travel businesses and hotels — are appealing to their target audiences through digital marketing. It makes sense, because 65% of seniors are more likely to book a vacation with a company that offers enticing email deals. Saga Holidays and Warner Leisure Hotels are appealing to this desire by focusing on email communication, social media interaction, and providing discounts specifically tailored for older travelers.

Banking companies like Barclays are even addressing the concerns many seniors have when shopping online, like uncertainty of how to use technology and security worries, to promote their services. Their newly launched Digital Eagles initiative addresses these concerns by using simplified language and offering learning courses. They have also put a heavy emphasis on customer service, and their downloadable guides are available in large print, Braille, and audio-only versions. They want to ensure their senior customers are able to sign up for services and become involved without feeling alienated or left behind.

Although many American companies are still ignoring senior consumers, these actions show promise for the future. Though the millennial market is an important one, it is not the only one that needs to be addressed. With the development of new technologies, we need to make sure that older generations are taken care of and not left out of the loop.

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