Targeting the young or the old(er)?

You don’t need to conduct expensive research to know that most marketing efforts are targeting young people, children even. Often marketing, and certainly advertising, targets children to get to the parents. But in general, most marketing addresses the age range from 14 to 24 year olds. Even technology products like the iPad are aimed at younger people whom the vendors know are easier to convince of new stuff than older people who have lived a life and drag with them a personal and social history.

We seem to consider this behaviour as what you normally do, but that’s actually not the case. The young often have less money to spend than the average 50-year old and in many European countries the elderly (65+), after working and saving all their life, have saved enough to buy their children a new home without having to resort to a mortgage.

Of course, marketers are like war strategists. They choose their enemy wisely. They go after the weakest, the ones who will resist the temptations of the word “new” the least. Not surprisingly, that’s the group of 12-14 to 24-30 year olds. Despite the people in this group having less financial resources to spend on expensive toys, they’re the easiest to convince taking out a loan to get what they want.

That is not a moral statement or pronouncement, but an assessment of how it is.

Still, marketers should do well to stop and think about the rapid ageing of Western population. While Japan may risk to become de-populated in 50 years, the European Union as a whole isn’t doing much better. Fewer children are born than people are dying. The same phenomenon can be observed across the industrialised world due to better health conditions and better medical care.

That means a fast growing group of older buyers are currently left ‘in the cold’ when it comes to marketing and technology.

Their growing importance is yet another reason to put the spotlights on high quality content marketing, as you can’t fool this group as easily as the younger generation…