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The 5 Myths of Marketing to Seniors

Myth 1: Senior Market is Dull. Unfortunately, seniors have been stereotyped all too often as being slow, old and generally unappealing in a marketing sense. In reality, today’s senior is in better health, more mobile and more dynamic than ever before. This market continues to grow in perspective, enhancing the demand for goods and services.

Myth #2: The Senior Market is Old. If referring to those seniors who are 85 years of age and older, it is fair to say they are elderly. However, today’s senior market generally includes those 55 or 60 years of age or even younger. AARP membership begins at age 50, for example. The younger senior population is growing rapidly, with the inclusion of the so-called "baby boomers" born after 1945, driving average and median ages lower.

Myth #3: The Senior Market is Static. The senior market is anything but static. The lower end of the senior age spectrum continues to drop, including younger, more active people. The senior population is growing rapidly, and by 2040, it will be more than double its current size. Changes in demand and age statistics, as covered in myths #1 and #3, will more than offset any static aspects of the senior market.

Myth #4: The Senior Market is Homogeneous. The senior market is not homogeneous simply because the customer base is made up of more than seniors. More so than any other adult market segment, seniors have another family member, a friend or professional involved in their more significant purchases. This tends to be more common as age increases, especially after age 75. The marketing challenge this phenomenon creates is how to reach and influence both the purchaser and the user. Furthermore, with an age range of forty (40) years, this market is made up of many segments and variables.

Myth #5: The Senior Market Lacks Discretionary Purchasing Power. Remember, for seniors age 65 and up, more than 60% of households have incomes of at least $25,000, and 25% have household incomes of over $50,000. Those who have previously retired with pensions probably have as good or better packages than those who will retire in the next generation. Also, remember younger seniors are coming into this market with a huge discretionary purchase history. Having escaped the Great Depression, they are more inclined to purchase on time in return for quicker access to what they want.