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Senior Moment


The other day, we were at a meeting with some talented New England marketers. One prescient media planner told us that she had bought Facebook stock at $40 (even with Zuckerberg's Congressional apology tour going on, the stock is trading at $167 right now). The rest of us were duly impressed. 

Another marketer offered up her strategy. She's buying stock in companies that make knee replacements.Not as glamorous as Facebook, maybe, but what a good idea!

There are an estimated 50 million seniors living in the U.S. And, the Census Bureau projects that number will reach 92 million by 2060. 

Seriously, that's a lot of knees.

Marketing to seniors is certainly worthwhile — and, in some ways, counterintuitive. Investment jokes aside, knees aren't the only thing they're buying. Baby Boomers are aging, living longer and healthier lives, and are more engaged than ever before. For example, it may surprise you to know that users age 74 and up are the fastest growing demographic on social media. In fact, 53% of people age 65+ are on the Internet. They communicate, browse and shop online. 59% of online seniors made a purchase in the last three months. And, their net worth is 47 times that of 35-year olds.

Do we have your attention now?

The typical senior spends an hour each day on Google, YouTube, and Facebook. In fact, 11% of Facebook users — that's 14.8 million users — are seniors. (In 2008, it was only 1.2%.) 

If you're going to target seniors on social media, it's important to know why they're there in the first place:

• 40% want an easy way to connect with family and old friends

• 30% want to share photos

• 20% use Facebook for gaming

• 10% for promotions and contests

And, you also need to understand what matters most to them:

• Health and maintaining an active lifestyle

• Family and friends

• Community and making a difference

• Financial security for themselves and their children and grandchildren

There's a lot of opportunity waiting to be tapped. 8 out of 10 Baby Boomers (who are fast becoming seniors if they aren't there already) feel that most advertising is targeted to younger audiences. And they're correct. Only 5% of advertising dollars is spent on them.

So the next time you're marketing a product or solution to seniors, think outside traditional offline media.

Just ask AARP with 62,000 Twitter followers and more than 1 million likes on Facebook.

Online retirees are anything but retired.

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