That’s a pretty confronting way to start an article isn’t it? ‘We know older people’. I mean who do we think we are?! What’s old anyway in this world of everlasting youth in a tube?

But, truth is, we do know (and call our friends) a lot of people advanced in years. More importantly, we know their behaviours, habits, common languages, needs, likes and key concerns. We know where Australians over 65 years of age source their information, what networks they join and how they shop.

The claim is not hollow. We didn’t acquire this knowledge from a U.S. best seller (although we’ve read the texts and the research too). We’ve learned on the job, conducting national sector research for government, undertaking market reserach for health and aged care providers, and developing integrated marketing strategy, social media campaigns and web portals  for the peak bodies representing the interests of older Australians.

This year, the first lot of baby boomers are turning 65 years old and are therefore eligible to retire. And Ellis Jones has, through our intellectual interest and organic growth, become a leader in engaging them, and those for whom they care.

In fact, 200,000 baby boomers are reaching the milestone this year with another 5.4 million to follow, swelling the senior demographic to unprecedented dimensions – but, at the same time, this large proportion of the population provides businesses with a range of marketing prospects.

We’re all living longer these days thanks to better medical care and healthier living. German-based demographer, James Vaupel estimates that the average baby girl born in Western societies today will live to 100 years old. This does contrast to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures which indicate a baby boy life expectancy of 79 and a baby girl life expectancy of 83. Nonetheless, compared to 100 years ago when the life expectancy of a baby boy was only 55 years old while a baby girl was expected to live no longer than 58 years old, the fact remains, we are getting older.

These days, retirees are redefining the concept of retirement, kicking down the fences previous generations put around ageing. They are going back to school to obtain professional degrees, travelling the world with their friends, building their own sailboats and daring themselves to take risks and to learn to play again.

The important thing to remember before you even think about targeting Boomers is that they are not brand loyal. Incentives that keep them coming back are essential. Research has shown products or services need to show value-for-money and need to be related to at least one of the following eight categories:

  • Health
  • Travel
  • Passion and play
  • Sexuality and romance
  • Fashion and beauty
  • Housing
  • Family
  • Aged care

Older People and Health.
When it comes to health, longevity is the goal and fitness is the key. Most boomers feel that having a healthy lifestyle is important but they find it difficult to establish that lifestyle. Combining motivation and aspiration with a socialising and fun approach is the way to go.

The majority of cyclists participating in Melbourne’s popular Around the Bay in a Day are aged between 41 and 50 years old (around 4,500) and about 3,000 of the participants were aged 51-60 years old. So why are so many older people choosing cycling? It improves cardiovascular fitness while having low impact on the hips, knees and other joints, it’s easily incorporated into every day activities and finally, it’s socially interactive and enjoyable!

Older People and Technology.
It is often assumed that older people don’t use the internet or social networking sites – but fact is, they do.

One quarter of the population over the age of 65 in Australia are visiting social network sites and the usage of social media by those over the age of 50 has increased by 42 percent. Forty-seven percent of 50-64 year olds and 26 percent of over 65 year olds visit social networking sites regularly.

Facebook has the potential to improve the lives of older Australians by keeping them connected and maintaining relationships through the use of online groups and fan pages. Boomers and older people are creating Facebook groups fuelled by their passion about a particular product or service and companies have the opportunity to target these online groups as part of their social media marketing campaigns.

Websites and email campaigns are a great place to interact with older people while also providing statistics of users, most clicked links and most visited pages amongst others.

Older People and Living Options.
Longer life expectancy means older people are entering retirement living at a later age than previous years and are staying in residential care for shorter periods of time. They are also increasingly demanding assistance with their care needs and crave more privacy, living space and a greater range of services and social activities.

However, the Grant Thornton report on Retirement Living found that there is a low level of understanding of the advantage of retirement living among baby boomers. With reputation and affordability of facility remaining the two highest ranking resident priorities, sophisticated marketing of aged care facilities is even more important than ever before.

Boomers want housing that offers a sense of community, involvement and connection. They want homes which aren’t too big, clutter-free with open-plan living areas. Women want ‘spa’ themed bathrooms which add a bit of luxury whereas men want the latest technology.

Not only do women have a longer life-expectancy than men but older women today are also better educated, more financially savvy and make more money that their predecessors. It comes as no surprise then, that women are the fastest growing segment of home buyers.

Older people and Ellis Jones.
Retiring can be a very daunting time of your life, many losing their sense of having a purpose. It is important that any business activities aimed at targeting older Australians give them a sense of meaning to their lives. Social and community involvement is extremely important to keep older people happy and healthy. At Ellis Jones, we conduct extensive research into older people activities, motivations and aspirations as well as community surroundings to deliver sound integrated marketing and communications strategies which effectively engage the target market.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you reach Australia’s older population more effectively. More about our health & ageing practice, including case studies, here.