You’ve probably heard that there’s a senior boom on the horizon in Canada and that industries are gearing up everywhere to meet the consumer needs of this exploding demographic.
It’s true. The leading baby boomers hit age 65 in January 2011. This fact strikes terror in the hearts of some industrial leaders as they realize their flush 40-60 market is going to be rapidly diminishing and they may not be the leaders much longer if they don’t make some significant changes in their marketing strategies to redirect their attention to the rapidly growing 60+ segment.
It’s a perfect time to look at the senior consumer in Canada. Within 20 years one out of every four Canadians will be a senior. This is an historical phenomenon never seen in the world before. It will change the fabric of our society, straining resources and creating challenges in some areas, while creating opportunities in others.
Those that want to take advantage of the opportunities need to start now to prepare for this demographic shift, whether your geographic focus is Canada, BC, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, or Victoria.
As the baby boomer demographic continues to age, and the need for products and services specific to the senior consumer increases, the question many business owners are asking is “How do I get in front of these seniors?” Quick on the heels of the first question is another: “How do I get them to buy?”
Numerous national companies in Canada and the United States have already asked and answered that question. They read the writing on the wall and have been, over the past few years, retooling, re-messaging, and restructuring to get ready for the onslaught of the senior consumer.
Today, their products are beginning to roll off the assembly lines. Their employees have been trained to understand who the senior consumer is and what they want. These companies are beginning to see the rewards of getting out in front of the growing senior consumer industry.
Living Essentials, which makes 5-Hour Energy, a pocket-sized energy drink, created the energy shot trend in 2005 and dominates the market with a nearly 80% share, according to trade publication Beverage Digest. Annual sales total about $1 billion. They initially built sales by targeting students and people who work long hours, like police. Today, their marketing strategy targets seniors, which has brought them a huge surge in sales. The company, which began handing out samples at the annual AARP convention in Orlando, were amazed to see seniors downing the product as soon as they had it in their hands. Within a couple months, marketing expanded to full page ads in AARP’s national magazine, and sending sales teams to call on doctors to give them coupons for their patients. The energy shots are big sellers on golf courses, recently acquiring the endorsement of golf’s Hall of Famer, Jim Furyk.
NVE Pharmaceuticals, the energy drink market’s second biggest player with a 5% share is now also determined to increase sales to older adults by advertising on the Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel instead of just MTV and Comedy Central.
Vantage Deluxe World Tours, a Boston company, has built a successful travel business while many other travel companies are finding it difficult to survive, by targeting the mature market. 95% of their travelers are over the age of 50. The median age of their customer is 71. They offer ocean, European river and small ship cruises, as well as escorted land tours throughout the world. They appeal to the senior traveler in a variety of ways. Trips are often for longer than the standard one-week, with itineraries offered at a more leisurely pace allowing travelers to absorb more while still feeling rested and relaxed. Escorted tours help bridge language barriers, and solo travelers are made welcome with affordable single supplement rates, and special activities planned to help integrate them with other travelers.
Kimberley-Clark spent two years overhauling its Depend brand in anticipation of the demands baby boomers would make to have a better, more sophisticated product. As a result, Depend has introduced gender-specific versions and briefs with fashionable prints that imitate regular underwear. Some packaging is labeled underwear and disguised to look like packs of cloth underwear, including transparent windows that show Depend undergarments folded just like regular underwear. By 2020, Kimberley-Clark expects users of their Depend products to increase from 38 million to 45 million. Kimberley-Clark also recently redesigned the package of their Kleenex product, decreasing the floral designs and turning more to contemporary designs and latest hues. They say this is a result of knowing that forward thinking is required if you want to attract the newest senior consumer.
Kohler Co., a bathing fixture and equipment company, just introduced the “Belay” shower handrail, which blends esthetically into the tiled wall. Named for a climbing technique, it replaces the old “grab bar” with a descriptor that younger seniors will better relate to.
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., says they have targeted the boomer health-conscious generation as its primary consumer base.
ADT Security Services Inc., which provides medical-alert alarms, has trained their operators to be particularly sensitive to their consumers needs. At the top of their list is to not remind the customer that they’ve aged. They coach new operators to not talk too slowly as this agitates consumers of the boomer generation. They are trained to get to the point as this customer wants to get it done, fast and business-like. They are also marketing their medical-alert systems to boomers as “companion services” to avoid the “medical” terminology.
Many businesses, however, haven’t taken the time to look where the trends are leaning, to understand how their customer base is changing and where tomorrow’s consumer is going to come from. As a result, they are seeing sales stagnate or dip, and they don’t know why.
You don’t want to be one of them.
Take a look at how your industry is changing to meet the senior consumer needs of today and the future. If you would like more information on how to effectively market to the senior consumer, we invite you to contact one of our helpful marketing consultants.
Senior Living can help you build an effective advertising campaign to match your marketing budget. Whether you want to reach the senior consumer through print, web or television – we can help you do that. Whether your focus is across Canada, or more localized and specific like Vancouver BC and the Lower Mainland, or Victoria and Vancouver Island.
Our monthly magazine is distributed across British Columbia with a readership of over 120,000. Our new website has steadily increasing traffic, now hosting over 10,000 unique visitors per month.
This fall, we are set to launch a weekly television series on CHEK TV called “Senior Living On Location”. You can view our first episode at www.seniorlivingmag.com/tv Take a few minutes to read the comments offered by senior viewers below the video player. Give us a call to discuss how you can run your TV commercial during our show.
The future IS the senior consumer. Don’t be left behind. Start repositioning your company NOW.