Advertising has been stable in our lives since the beginning of time. As years passed, advertising tools and techniques evolved to match its era. Marketers worldwide studied the social climate and consumer behavior and understood their product USP to create ads targeting specific demographics.
However, companies and advertisers focus only on addressing Millennials and Gen Z, leaving Baby Boom and Generation X behind.
It makes sense to market toward the younger generation as products and services are super advanced and target tech-savvy people, yet this technique alienates many groups interested in purchasing goods and services.
Sure some products are made for younger people, no doubt, but the majority of services and goods right now are sold in the market and can be used by the older generation, such as charging the internet, hair products, food, and more.
If that's the case, why does the older generation find it hard to feel included and have specific ads targeted toward them?
Answer: Ageism and society stereotypes.
Society's stereotypes greatly influence that, dismissing anyone over 50 as a person of interest. Ageism has been an issue not in advertising but in life generally.
On a larger scale, advertisers are always looking to capitalize on the latest trends and looking for a viral moment without thinking of the bigger picture, which is to increase sales and expand the customer's demographic.
Society has taught us that older people are lonely, fragile, and incapable of keeping up with all the world's updates. What's often missed by advertisers and people, in general, is that:
A) The older generation was behind one of the giant corporations, creating products we use today. Jeff Bezos is a Baby Boom Generation Elon Musk is a Generation X
B) Older generation is one of the majority of the population. According to the united nation, Older persons represent a growing demographic group in society. In 2019, 9% of the world's population was 65 years or older, and this figure is projected to rise to 16%, such that one out of six people will be 65 years or older globally by 2050.
C) The older generation has a higher income than its later generations.
Based on these facts, advertisers cannot eliminate large audiences, especially if their products and services are suitable for all, like food, clothes, and beauty products.
There is a change in how advertisers think, and some of them have prestigious and well-known older celebrities becoming brand representatives.
On an international scale, the two-time oscar winner and fitness legend Jane Fonda, along with acclaimed choreographer JaQuel Knight, have partnered with H&M on their newest campaign, “H&M Move.”
On a national scale, we have MHND. The famous real estate development company created an ad during Ramadan, gathering the most prominent faces from the 1980s to the 2020s to form a consistent narrative that buries the generational gap.
If this sounds confusing, here are the main things you need to consider before creating a marketing plan that excludes a large portion of people.
1- Does your product/service cater to everyone?
2- Is this product easy to use or specific to a particular demographic? 3- Who are the most frequent buyers of your products?
From here, you can outline everything about your company through data and create the perfect marketing plan.
Now the time has come for the moment you’ve been waiting for, how to market your products to the older generation?
1. Focus on Improving the Quality
When it comes to the older generation, their focus is on getting good products/services regardless of the price. They are less inclined to try new things, so when they step out of their comfort zone, your product must be up to par with their standards.
Quality not Quantity
2. Speak clearly
The older generation isn’t aware of the millennials and Gen Z lingo. It’s hard for them to grasp internet culture, let alone something like “snatched, skrrt, bet or low-key.”
Make it simple, concrete, and to the point.
3. Make everything easy
Ads can be created in different formats, varying from T.V, Radio, Facebook posts…etc. From the data you got from your social media platforms or loyalty apps, you can know what type of ad people clicked on.
Then make sure that the ad itself is not riddled with mystery. A clear “call to action” message and links can direct them to the e-commerce website so they can purchase easily.
Side note: when designing the loyalty app, website, or social media post, make sure everything is sleek, easy, and not complicated. The simpler, the better.
4. Hire relatable brand ambassador
When advertising a product or service, hire a brand ambassador that is well-known to your target audience, preferably of the same age or closer.
For example, Famous Italian Actress Isabella Rossellini returned to become the brand ambassador for Lancôme.
Don’t alienate; innovate.
Pivot your place in the market and reach as many people as possible. Audiences like feeling seen, heard, and understood, which also applies to the older generation. Even if, for the moment, it seems like approaching millennials and Gen Z is more accessible and will create more virality, in reality, these youngsters will grow and be the next older generation. This means their priorities will change, and nothing stays the same, so try to keep up, expand, experience more with your advertising method, and be the brand everyone wants to remain loyal to.