Targeting Grey Market – Does Marketing Strategies Need a Refocus?

Keywords – Grey Market

When you are planning marketing campaigns, who is your target?

We hear some marketing statements all the time. Snapchat is for a young audience, Instagram for the 24 to 35 bracket, and Facebook for the older people.

What is usually meant with older is at best 36 to 50. This eliminates the 50 to 60, and more importantly, over 60s.

Interestingly, people aged 50 to 60 are still quite active in business, understand the changing technologies, and remain relevant.

But, the way to sell to them is through relationship and trust building. They have seen enough in their time to tell the difference between good and bad in the market.

The next group, over 60, is quite interesting.

Targeting Over 60s

This is the fastest growing age group currently, with the ongoing improvements in medical care. They are referred to as the “Grey Market”.

(Grey market also refers to some shady practices, but we do not mean that form of grey market).

If you are still not interested, as a business, you need to keep an eye on the next number.

People over 60, on average, spend over $4 trillion per year. And, during my marketing career, I have not seen many businesses targeting this demographic.

There are some obvious reasons for this.

People who work in marketing are generally young. They either don’t understand or simply consider this group to be a viable target. And, even when they do, they make grave mistakes.

This is my favourite.

Treating Old People as Old People

We used to be told frequently, “you never ask a lady her age”. (I have always had a problem with this statement. The society has finally realised that such generalisations create gender issues).

It is not just ladies that you should not be asking such questions. (If I was not already clear). Don’t ask anyone their age. In the simplest form possible, people don’t like to be treated as old people. (I am 27 and I already hate being old).

If, as a marketing expert, you make the mistake of implying that your target audience is old, you have already lost the case.

P&G learnt this the hard way when it repackaged some of its products for the older generation. The result was a considerable drop in sales.

Sadly, we don’t understand the “old” people enough at a psychological level. There is no direct understanding of why the over 60s spend, on average, $10,000 more than the 30 to 44 band. This is even when the 30 to 44 are the most active decision makers across the world.

Retailers are lowering shelves and electronics companies are selling on buses. But, that’s about it.

The bottomline is, we need to catch up with the market and make smart decisions for the future of our businesses.

Targeting the younger generation is all well and good. Well, they are the future.

But, targeting the over 60 bracket has current benefits. They are the present.

I will be frank with you. Marketing Voice needs to go back to the drawing board and refocus its strategy to include this generation. We all have something to learn here.

My bet here is – treat everyone equal at a human behavioral level and you won’t go wrong. (I even treat kids like adults. It works).

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