Why target Ellie when Eileen wants to buy?

A new report by Ofcom highlights the growth of the older consumer – but so many marketers are only interested in younger demographics.

Are you obsessed with millennials?

Most marketers are, according to the hundreds of reports, articles, videos and podcasts that are published every day telling us how to connect with this ‘hard to reach’ demographic; while ignoring older consumers.

It’s true that millennials can be hard to reach – and the upcoming Generation Z will be even more so. They don’t behave as we did at their age, because their media choices are far more diverse.

The question you should ask before consuming any more content on engaging with younger consumers is – do you really want to?

Is your best customer the young and upwardly-mobile Ellie; or is it the older, more assured Eileen?

We ignore the older consumer at our peril. They often have more cash than their millennial counterparts, perhaps through housing wealth or career progression.

They may be business owners, not of cash-strapped start-ups but of well-established organisations with healthy cash flow.

And they are being too-often ignored by media… and marketing.


Older consumers are increasingly online

A new survey by UK communications regulator Ofcom shows that the older generation are online – and online in a big way.

Smartphone use among older consumers

Between 2015 and 2016, there was an 11-percentage-point rise in ‘Baby Boomers’ (65-74 years of age) who have a smartphone – 39% – with 15% of over 75s also using the devices, almost doubling in a year.

Over 75’s are also more likely than ever to have an iPad or other tablet (27% in 2016, up from 15% a year earlier.)


So where are these older consumers?

The Ofcom survey reveals that a large proportion of older consumers use social media – 48% of those aged 65-74 and 41% of over 75’s. That figure for the oldest ager group has more than doubled in a year.

Facebook is king among seniors with 87% having an account.

You can probably skip trying to figure out Snapchat for now if you’re marketing to older consumers and only 1% are using Instagram.


Your content will have to be good to catch them

While these figures show great usage of social media among the older generation, be aware that they spend far less time online than younger consumers.

With seniors spending an average of 15 hours online compared to 32 hours for 16-24s, competition for their time is greater.

However, I wonder how much of their time is wasted looking at media that is not targeted at them and in which they have no interest?

Making your content relevant to your audience is essential for content marketing success.

So if you are serious about connecting with that hugely valuable (and increasingly large) older market, ensure that your content targets Eileen – there’s plenty out there for Ellie already!


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