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Senior Market Is Complex, Lucrative

The Ocala Business Journal, 11/25/09

Abstract:

When I arrived in Florida in the mid-'70s at the tender age of 25, one of the first rules I had to learn was to make the type in my ads large. I was told that, since most of the buyers would be "old folks," typography should be at least 12 points high (14-point type would be better!).

As much as I didn't like the idea of categorizing people by age, I didn't question this logic, nor the admonition that no photography models, young or old, should have facial hair even if they were chosen 10 to 20 years younger than the target market. Well, not until lately. I am a "codger" now and can see things more clearly.

Nowadays, advertisements for scooters and mobility chairs, walk-in bathtubs, slip-and-fall security devices, hearing and vision aids, as well as pharmaceuticals treating anything from incontinence to ED have a tendency to assume advanced age as an integral part of the scenario. And, although statistics were used extensively in these ad formulations, trying to pigeonhole the senior market in the new millennium is marketing suicide. Some 50 year olds are planning early retirement. Others have become first-time parents, have children in college, or have 10-year-old grandchildren. Still others are starting second careers. Many are wives working outside the home for the first time. It is far more advantageous to market in terms of "life circumstances" rather than in terms of age. Remember that many of the over-50 category today were the same people who claimed back in the 1960s that 30 was over the hill, while railing against being labeled.

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