The aged online
It wasn't too long ago when everyone thought only "young people" were online. Older generations, especially Baby Boomers and generations older weren't expected to really be heavy online users. Some of us marketers were guilty of making fun of the older generations for not getting it.
In the last couple of years, things have changed. Compete reports that "50-somethings,
60-somethings and 70+ use many technologies at or near comparable rates
as younger age segments." Increasingly this generation is getting more and more frustrated as well. "Older consumers reported a higher level of frustration with the
complexity of technology. Sixty percent of consumers aged 50
and older indicated that a product having too many features was a main
reason for being frustrated with technology, compared to 39 percent of
consumers aged 18-49."
I'm afraid that the first inclination of a lot of marketers will be to ignore this segment. That could be because of Madison Avenue's obsession with youth or maybe marketing is just mirroring our culture in general. The fact is, however, that we ignore them at our own peril, especially during this recessionary economy where advertising dollars are harder to come by. Whereas younger segments may be more tech savoy and trendy, they don't have the spending power that this segments has and they don't represent as large a part of the population as the 50 plus generation does.
Maybe it's just me getting older but I'm becoming more aware of how we just seem to toss this group or even individuals to the aside. Not only are marketers ignoring them, on a much more personal level I think that we don't value the wisdom and experience that this generation brings.
As a marketer or a person, ignore them at your own peril.
- Paul Herring