Staff Reporters
Oct 28, 2019

Over-50s spend most of the money, and they hate your marketing

Marketers have a very costly blindspot when it comes to consumers over 50, according to a report from WPP AUNZ.

Over-50s spend most of the money, and they hate your marketing

With a mere three bullet points, a new report from WPP AUNZ paints a picture of ignorance and missed opportunities when it comes to consumers over the age of 50:

  • They have the highest levels of wealth and disposable income.
  • They outspend millennials in terms of entertainment, auto, health, travel and almost every other category.
  • 94% of them dislike the way organisations and marketers communicate with them.

And that's when brands actually pay attention to them at all; the report, called "Secrets & Lies – Ageless and Booming", also reveals that fewer than 5% of briefs from marketers specifically target the over-50 population.

As Rose Herceg, chief strategy officer and futurist with WPP AUNZ, puts it: 

More than a quarter of all Australians are over 50, they have 46% of our disposable income, and 50% of our private wealth and yet it’s almost impossible to find organisations and brands that understand this high value audience. ... It appears that marketing has an ageing blind spot, and as a result, many may be missing out on a significant new target. As an industry, we need to deconstruct every outdated idea about people over 50.

To cite just one more example, the over 50s are not sticks in the mud: 89% are open to trying new brands, while a further 79% have moved on from brands that are no longer fulfilling or meaningful.

The company offers the following six-point action plan for marketers:

  1. Get forensic and make sure you understand the data around this powerful demographic; their consumer behaviour, purchasing habits and intentions. There’s a significant new market to explore.
  2. Invent new ways, new models, new products and new brand positions to connect with this audience.
  3. Ensure you are reflecting the vibrancy and optimism of the over 50s; they’re gearing up, not down.
  4. Recognise the change, and evaluate what role your brand or organisation can play for an audience that’s changing their lives.
  5. Differentiate between 50 and 80. The over 50s are not a homogenous group. Investigate their various sub-segments and target them accordingly.
  6. Model diversity. Ensure your organisation values the skills, expertise and voices of the over 50s.
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