Archive for July, 2009

Selling More to the Fastest Growing Demo

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

With the graying of Baby Boomers upon us, the 55+ demographic has become the nation's fastest-growing population segment. You can prosper by tailoring your marketing to these customers.

  • Government research shows that older consumers spending patterns are much like others'--but they also spend lots more on some things like health care and recreation.
  • A recent survey by the Pew Center determined that older Americans are much less affected by the current recession and have neither cut back on spending nor lost as much on their investments as younger people.
  • Relatively fewer businesses have caught on to the value of targeting this segment--there's less competition.


Step 1
Recognize that seniors are a lot like everyone else. But maybe better.
They need—and buy—most of what everyone else does-- From accounting to zoo visits. And the good news: they often have more money and freedom than their juniors.

Step 2
Realize that seniors are not just one homogeneous group.
They run the gamut from their 50’s to their 100’s, active to infirm, wealthy to hard-up. In general, they’re more active and well off than their predecessors. As with any marketing, it is important to segment your audience.

Step 3
Know how they view themselves.
Pick your niche and learn it well. According to studies, older people typically see themselves as a decade or more younger than they are. For clues to their attitudes, study the era of their youth, when values were formed. Take the trouble to get personally acquainted. Discover who else may be involved in their decision-making. Family? Caregivers? Professional advisors?

Step 4
Develop a senior USP. Construct a senior version of your Unique Sales Proposition. You DO have a general one don’t you? Recognize that today’s regular customer may be tomorrow’s senior one, and that others may influence senior’s decisions.

Step 5
Look for line extensions or ways to position what you sell as solutions for seniors’ needs.
Examine your sales offerings. Can you add complimentary things that will serve seniors’ needs? Can you change the name or description of existing offerings to highlight their value to seniors?

Step 6
Tailor your message to their experience, needs and interests.
Use what you’ve learned to fashion a message that explains your offering in ways that will resonate with your audience

Step 7
Don’t talk down to them.
Avoid stereotypes. Not everyone who’s older is deaf, blind, infirm or addled. No one who’s going to buy from you will appreciate being treated as if they are. Seniors hate being called that, but no one’s come up with many suitable alternatives. You could try.

Step 8
Adapt your message to their changing physical needs.
It’s a reality that our faculties begin to decline as we age. To communicate with your older customers, use larger type, good contrast and avoid visual clutter. Limit your message to one or two major points. Not bad advice for any ads, actually.

Step 9
Discover and eliminate any physical or mental barriers to seniors.
If you’re serious about getting more business from elderly customers, look at your business from top to bottom through their eyes. Ask their opinions. If you find anything--from advertising to customer service, from your phone system to the physical premises—that discourages elderly customers, try to change it.

Step 10
Advertise in publications and other media that reach seniors. Go beyond mainstream media to find local publications that cater to older readers. Many areas have them. Look for and consider getting involved with organizations that advocate for seniors. Research senior centers and retirement communities to find opportunities to speak, sponsor or participate in events and make a name for your company as one interested in the older audience.

For over three decades, Peter the Publisher has communicated professionally for national associations, fortune 500 companies and Mom & Pop clients. The Business Solution Group, which he founded in 1989, provides custom publishing, marketing and advertising services to businesses and organizations throughout Florida.
More about our services       Contact Peter

Do You Make These Advertising/Marketing Mistakes?

Monday, July 13th, 2009


1.) Lack of forethought. Arguably the biggest mistake I see made--even by those who know better. Before even the smallest step, think how it will serve the overall plan.


2.) No overall plan. Yes, Virginia, you should have one. As the expression goes, "failing to plan is planning to fail." It doesn't have to be elaborate, but you need to choose a destination (goal) and decide how you'll get there.


3.) Failure to understand your core business competence. It's essential to know the thing(s) you do best.


4.) Failure to understand your customers' needs. You have to know how the things you do best meet the customer's needs.


5.) Failure to understand your competition.
Did someone say USP? Knowing your competitors' strengths and weaknesses is the final piece of the puzzle. Your Unique Sales Proposition--the reason people should buy from you--should be the foundation of your advertising message. 


6.) Lack of goals for the project at hand. It's hard to plan the route when you don't know where you're headed. Advertising without goals can lead to mismatched media, message and market.You might as well go to the beach and skip silver dollars. You'd have more fun with your money.


7.) Emphasizing features not benefits. Buyers don't care about your latest widget. They care how it will help them or make them feel better. Seems obvious. You wouldn't believe how many advertisers commit this sin. Well, maybe you would. Hope you're not one of them!


8.) Ineffective creative. There seems to be a surprising amount of confusion over this. It's not enough to be clever, imaginative, memorable. Creative is  only effective when it moves merchandise, creates associations or moves the needle for the people paying the bills. 


9.) Poor media planning. For some, advertising is an ego-trip. It's a buzz telling friends, associates and customers about their ad in such-and-such high-status medium. They may even dream of achieving celebrity status. For some reason, this malady seems particularly to affect new businesses. Choose only media that reach enough of your prospects in a way appropriate to your offer and their needs.


10.) Lack of commitment. Advertisers often fail to stay the course with a campaign without giving it a chance to work. It can be the result of many things: inadequate planning, unrealistic expectations or insufficient resources.


11.) Inadequate evaluation. Whether staying or abandoning the course, advertisers should review closely their results to determine what worked and what didn't--and, if possible, why. Only then can they improve their advertising...and their business. Remember the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing while expecting different results. Don't be insane!

For over three decades, Peter the Publisher has communicated professionally for national associations, fortune 500 companies and Mom & Pop clients. The Business Solution Group, which he founded in 1989, provides custom publishing, marketing and advertising services to businesses and organizations throughout Florida.
More about our services       Contact Peter