The demographic change has a huge impact on our private and professional life. Marketing often ignores the fact that their target groups are getting older and older. Insecurity, fears of coming into contact and lacking expertise in communicating with older consumers hinder marketers to put “best ager marketing” on their agenda. This tendency is also reflected in the current series on Best Agers launched by the W&V magazine.

Addressing age-related topics requires a high level of empathy and finesse in order to bring the message across and avoid negative feelings at the same time. People in their 50ies reassess what they have reached and what to achieve in their life, make corrections and changes. Psychologists and sociologist have proven that the second half of our lifespan can not be characterised by being less of what life has been before. Instead, it offers qualitatively different opportunities and highlights. We wanted to understand the unique character of this phase of life and talked to women from 45 to 70 years old. Our psychologically trained female researchers visited our interview partners at home and left discussion guide, stimulus material or schedule behind. We talked about women’s biography and current lifestyle, their valuable memories and sad experiences, their needs and wishes and perception of getting old.

The psychological analysis of our home visits revealed three different types of “best agers” that differ regarding their attitude towards maturing which is highly relevant for developing adequate communication with this target group:

  • The Suppressors do not want to face the fact that they are “not twenty anymore” and maintain their lifestyle – in terms of language, consumption patterns, outfits and interests. They do not take specific measures to cope with age-related risks or needs, for instance in the area of health or financial security. They are hardly receptive for age-related product or service benefits and messages. Marketing can address them best by referring to factual benefits and features that are independent from age-related aspects.
  • The Sensitives experience maturing as inner conflict. On the one hand side they are aware of the fact that this process has left his marks, on the other side they are hesitant to adapt. Subliminally, they are open to age-related messages and products that support them in maintaining their good health, attractiveness, and juvenility as along as they possibly can. They are a highly interesting and at the same time challenging group for marketing activities because age-related cues in visual or verbal communication needs to be selected carefully.
  • Die Confidents have made peace with the inevitable process of maturing and react calmly when perceiving references to grey hair, wrinkles or maturity. Their self concept is less affected by negative stereotypes of the elderly when compared to the sensitives and suppressors. They have a clear point of view when it comes to age-related products and advertising messages and assess the credibility of product and service benefits thoroughly. The confidents are a highly relevant and relatively easy-to-address target group for true product innovations and solutions targeting their age-related unmet needs.

How do you connect with your clients 50+? We are more than happy to help you in planning and developing your best ager communication through training and research. Please get in touch with us any time!