Report: When marketing to seniors, drop the humor and emotional pleas

More and more consumers ages 55 and above are using streaming services, smart speakers, mobile devices and other tools—but are impervious to ads that tug on viewers’ heart strings.

Despite stereotypes, older consumers are embracing technology and digital platforms—but still seek specific marketing messages.

Though 41 percent of people in the United States think consumers ages 55 and above don’t understand or enjoy using technology, a recent report by the Age of Majority and Head Solutions Group reveals otherwise.

Senior consumers might not be early adopters to social media platforms or enthusiastically embrace the newest technology offerings, but they’re no strangers to technology—especially when it comes to streaming services, dating websites, mobile devices and smart speakers.

Thirty-seven percent of people 55 years and older have either canceled their cable and satellite TV plans—or plan to do so in the next two years. In comparison to 69 percent of millennials, more than half of senior consumers (56 percent) have switched or are planning to switch to a streaming service, such as Amazon Prime Video or Netflix.

A growing number of senior consumers (28 percent) have turned to online dating, and more than half of seniors (53 percent) have turned off their landlines in favor of cell phones—or will do so within the next two years. Thirty-eight percent of consumers 55 years or older have purchased smart speakers or plan to buy them within a couple years.

Demographic gap widens with marketing preferences

Though consumers 55 years and older are using technology more frequently, several differences between older generations and millennials remain when it comes to advertising and marketing preferences.

Though more than half of millennials (55 percent) say social media ads are the No. 1 way they receive information about products and services, both Generation X consumers and those 55 years old and above turn to friends (55 and 54 percent, respectively) and family (51 and 53 percent, respectively).

Though many more senior consumers are embracing technology, only 26 percent of senior consumers say they receive most of their product and service information via online ads.

Marketing preferences are strikingly different between demographics, however, and brand managers hoping to reach consumers 55 and older should drop emotional tactics and cut straight to important information.

“It appears a lifetime of evaluating ads has made [senior consumers] more impervious to promotional or emotional sells,” the report said.

When it comes to marketing content and messaging, those 55 years and above want the details necessary for them to make decisions—without the sales pitch or emotional connection.

The majority of senior consumers (69 percent) want marketing messages to include clear product information, but 40 percent say they don’t want a hard sell from ads—more than double the amount of younger consumers (19 percent).

Only 10 percent of those 55 and older think humor is important to marketing messages, compared to 25 percent of younger consumers’ opinions—and even fewer older consumers (7 percent) are receptive to ads that try elicit heartwarming feelings from viewers.

How do these findings stack up against your current marketing messages and campaigns, PR Daily users?

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