Women over 50 are a demographic often ignored by marketing strategies
Lexington, KY – Many advertisers focus on the 18-34 demographic, which includes college students, young professionals and young families. The conventional wisdom has been that they are the people who are willing to spend money, want the latest trends and spread the word about their favorite products. But is this really the primary group businesses should be targeting?
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Women over age 50 have a net worth of $19 trillion and own more than three-quarters of the nation’s wealth. They’re also more educated, influential, active and healthy than previous generations. In the workforce today, about 12.6 million are women over 55, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Now that you know this, does it make you think a little differently about your marketing strategies?
Women in all age groups are more financially secure and independent than they used to be because they have become better educated. More women than men are graduating from college, and according to recent research, they value education more than men do. This has created a world where women are making most of the financial decisions in their families. It’s an interesting phenomenon for women over the age of 50 who’ve seen their roles in the family change from homemaking to chief purchasing officers. Women influence about 85 percent of all purchases, including those traditionally seen as male-dominated purchases such as cars and electronics.
Obviously, these women have disposable income, so why don’t businesses take them more seriously? Women over 50 are ignored by marketers, restaurant servers and clerks in retail stores. We live a youth-focused culture, but the reality is when women of a certain age are not included or looked down upon by advertisers, businesses are the real losers. Boomers grew up being catered to and targeted by advertisers, and frankly, they’re perturbed that businesses no longer seem to realize they exist. An AARP report found that nearly two-thirds of women over 50 feel forgotten. The report also showed that women over 50 account for 40 percent of purchases of all moisturizers, lipstick and lip gloss, foundation, nail care products, perfume and cologne in the United States. At the same time, usage by women 18-34 and 35-49 has dropped four points and six points, respectively.
Even in the down economy, older women are outspending younger ones. They seek out those companies that show them respect in the marketplace, and they tell their friends about it. They are tired of ads for wrinkle creams featuring young models who have never yet had a wrinkle. Mature women want to see people who look like them and act like them. They want to know you understand them and that they matter to you as a business owner or manager.
A myth some advertisers buy into is that older women aren’t tech savvy and shun social media. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re still averse to making social media part of your marketing mix, here’s yet another reason to do so. Women over 55 have become the fastest-growing segment using social media, and they spend more time making connections than younger users. Many enjoy Facebook, and statistics show some self-employed boomer women frequently use Twitter.
Here’s one more point of interest. Mature women are a diverse group. Research shows that as we age, we become less alike. Some experts suggest a good way to target this disparate group is to engage them in social media by asking for their opinions and input about your products, services and advertising.
Even though mature women as a group are diverse, there are some points to consider when developing a marketing strategy.
• Older women are more comfortable in their own skin and content with their lives than younger ones.
• They are less likely to be concerned about impressing others.
• They value experience over things.