March 14, 2017, 7:33 p.m.
2017 is our year of the 55+ female. We’ve spent twelve years researching women and their relationship with brands and marketing. One thing that has surprised us over the years has been the relentless interest in younger women among the marketing community - in particular the much-vaunted Millennial audience - but the lack of focus and engagement with the older 55+ years female audience.
So many reports have discussed the incredible commercial opportunity in the ‘grey market’, the ‘silver surfers’, and more recently ‘cougar consumers’. Yet, few have given any clue as to how you communicate with them in a way that’s persuasive and appealing.
That’s the challenge we’re taking on this year: to bring the case to business about the opportunity older women represent and to codify the marketing approaches that will win their custom.
Stage one has involved three-hour discussions with 36 women between the ages of 55 years and 80 years. We discussed their hopes and fears for the future. Many fear the worst of age. They fear illness, narrower perspectives and being a burden on young family members. Almost all are engaging in strategies that they hope will see off those possibilities. They’re exercising, organizing regular get-togethers with friends and buying lots of brands and products that link them with the ‘hoped’ not the ‘feared’ age cohort. These brands and products facilitate them living a life that continues to be healthy, independent and connected to the world around them.
Most don’t want to be targeted - they just want to be included. They want to see older women in advertising, but alongside younger ones. They would like to feel more present in the world of fashion, beauty and skincare but not presented as ‘special cases’ with ‘special needs’. Many, many micro-inequities make them feel excluded from communications. We intend to catalogue every single micro-inequity and then show what approaches should displace them.
Perhaps most excitingly is the emerging picture we see of a specific age cohort within the older female audience that is hugely lucrative and currently underserved by brands. They are rich, they have needs that are unmet in most markets now and they would buy products and brands that demonstrated they understood them.
There’s a lot more work to do to build the business case, and outline the ways in which this audience can be better served.
We’ll keep you updated on our progress with a launch date for the project in early to mid May.
If anyone has campaigns, brands or products that they feel should be considered in the project – whether good or bad examples then please get in touch. We’re interested even if many others aren’t - YET.