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Senior Citizen Market Segmentation
Posted by Anonymous on
10/6/2004 at 5:28 PM ET
I am doing a study on market segmentation and I am learning about the senior citizen segment. I have done a lot of search on the internet about this segment. It seems that they are a growing number and have considerable purchasing power and companies have started to realise that.
However I am unable to find instances where companies wrongly targetted or neglected this segment and had a product failure. Or an example of a product targetted to this segment which failed for any other reason. Could anyone help me by providing some information on this. I have found examples of successful products being targetted to this segment but not vice versa. Any additional infomation and examples of successful and failed products would also be appreciated.
10/20/2004 at 4:14 PM
Hello Consumer 123
Many congratulations on the choice of your topic. It’s a vital one and i sure hope something good comes out of it.
I don’t have actual cases studies on your query, but I’ll air my thoughts on the topic.
Products fail because of their general inability to deliver promises or satisfactions desired by customers. Therefore products, which do not deliver the goods, to Seniors (as in this case), should also result in failure. May be the only difference is that, the provocations for the failure is not totally due to the seniors disenchantment of the product alone. The other market segments may be weightier and hence has higher influence in deciding the future of the product. These products/services may be specially focused on seniors (as a key segment), as in the pharma, food, nutrition and health products, leisure time use services etc. These products should have a purchase pattern, often related to the special needs of the aged.
To perfectly answer your question we need to trace out the following: Who is a senior, 50, 60, 70 or, 80, and above? What buying habits do they have? Do they still earn income or are they dependent on their family. Each of these, among other factors play a role in defining the actual status of a senior. Are they independent, possess purchasing power, freedom to act etc? Do they feel wanted? These factors also decide the level of intensity expressed by the seniors in a society. DO they say their mind or are they less expressive (in general) due to their self consciousness (specially about their advancing age)?
There should be examples on failed products for this segment, as in the medicare example. Here’s a link I chanced to find, related to the ‘Senior drug card problem’.
My feeling is that products are not focused enough on the seniors. It so happens that most products are offered appealing to most ages. As you hinted, things have to change. This is one left out market in the world.
Hope these thoughts help!!
10/20/2004 at 6:09 PM
One glaring example was more of a sales problem than a marketing one.
Potential buyers being shown through a retirement village asked about the ownership status of their town-house. The sales person outlined the body corporate leasehold regulations and consistently used terms like "and then when you die..."
As she left the fit, vigorous prospective clients for another group I heard the gentleman say to his wife: "Die? we don't want to come here and die, we want to come here and LIVE!"
So she missed the sale by pigeonholing these people into the "almost ready to shuffle of this mortal coil" basket, quite wrongly.
Marketing errors I have seen in advertising portray users of products targeted at over-50's as looking well over 50. Sometimes the on-screen talent looks more like 65-70 than 50. With the huge baby boomer bulge already in their mid-50's, that is a terrible mistake. Over-50's don't mind age-targeted products, but they don't want to be made to feel aged if they buy them.
Bear in mind, with modern life-expectancy, someone who is now 50 is less than two-thirds through their average life expectancy. They have around 30 years left on average.
Not sure if this helps you as your definition of senor citizen is not clear.
10/22/2004 at 4:24 PM
As a person who has spent much of my career working with seniors, it is a big mistake to expect that the senior segment is only interested in things like laxatives and arthritis medications. Today's senior is a different animal than the seniors of even 10-15 years ago. It is an emerging marketing area since we are living longer than ever. Marketing people are still trying to hash out what these folks want. If you really want to know what seniors like and dislike, ask! They are not shy about sharing opinions.
The largest segment of seniors (with millions more to come) are baby boomers. They are very interested in products that keep the eternal "fountain of youth" flowing, look fondly on nostalgia for simpler things, and are seaching to make sense of their lives. They certainly don't relate to the cheesy marketing attempts showing obviously old people. They see themselves as forever young.
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