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About Dick Stroud

Dick Stroud is the founder of 20plus30, a consultancy specialising in marketing to older consumers. He is the UK’s leading expert in understanding the implications of physical ageing on the way older people behave and the products they buy.

Marketing to the Ageing Consumer
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50-Plus Marketing

News, views and opinions about the most powerful group of consumers - the 50-plus market.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Physiological ageing is inevitable - getting fat and lethargic isn't

Much of what happens to the way we age is stashed away in our DNA and down to luck but there are some things that we can do give ourselves a helping hand.

Two no-brainer things actions - don't get fat and take a good amount of the right type of exercise.

Unfortunately, most older people do neither.

All the work that Kim Walker and I have done, in researching the way that physical ageing impacts marketing, shows how obesity and lack of exercise multiplies the effect of ageing. Muscle loss happens to us all but exercise can slow its effect. The decay of the skeletal structure happens to us all but it made much worse when you stress it with 10s sometimes 100 kg of extra weight.

This research from Stanford gives the gory details of what a bad physical state we are in and getting worse. Dick Stroud

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50 ways to kill your mammy - what does it tell us about oldies?

To be honest I am not sure what it tells us about oldies?

I first got to read about the programme when it reached the marketing press.  This article resulted from some commissioned research to promote the programme  with the startling conclusion that older people wish they had done a lot more reckless things when they were young. Yawn!

You can read some more about the programme here.

The most interesting thing I found was when I went to the transmission channel (Sky) to read the promotional material about the programme and discovered the UK audience data. 

When I first started my interest in the 50+ (as it was then) I remember the head of research at OMD saying to me that marketers are really only interested in 16-34 ABC1s.

Look at the way Sky displays the sales information about this programme. Clearly little has changed in the past decade. How sad. Dick Stroud

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Why do the old annoy the young?

The title of the article in Forbes was: "Why Millennials Are Scared Of Seniors."

What the article described was not being scared of seniors (US for 65+) but more about why this group annoys/disturbs the young.

I suggest you have a read.

The author proposes a shopping lists of reason and I think she is right. There is no single explanation.

For instance, why do young people swap checkout lines when they see an older person in front of them? Well I have to be honest, so do I and believe me I am far from being young. The reason? Some older people, for a mixture of physical and attitudinal reasons move slowly (very). They seem as if they have all the time in the world (which they do) and are oblivious to the aggravation they cause as a line of people are anxious to get served, whilst they engage the check-out operator in banal chat. You can see that it does bug me!

Now there is another part of me that says - who has got it right? I am rushing around and the older person, who might be my age,  is moving at the right speed - why rush?

Another explanation is that when a young person see an older person they see somebody who has taken their job and is being swamped in cash by the state. Not sure I buy that one.

It is pointless denying it but some generations do grind with each other. As marketers it is best we recognise that and act accordingly. Dick Stroud

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The reality of retirement in the UK - not good

The next time you read a statement about how well-off the over 60s are and how they own so much wealth, I would like you to remember a couple of things.

Most of that wealth is in the place they live. Most of them will have totally inadequate retirement pensions (other than those from the public sector where their pensions are paid from current taxation - for now).

The chart shows the the distribution in size of the pension pot and how it has changed with time. The good news is that it has got a bit bigger. The bad news is that it is totally inadequate.

I suppose the good thing is that most older Brits know so little about their retirement finances that they don't realise how poor they will be.

Read this quote from the annual pension survey from LV.

One in five of all respondents haven’t heard of any retirement income products or even annuities. What’s more less than half have heard of fixed term annuities, only around a quarter have heard of income drawdown and only 30% know of investment linked annuities.
What is even more concerning is that even in the ages we would expect to have the highest awareness i.e. pre, at and post retirement ages of 60-64 and 65-69 the awareness is barely any higher if at all.

So if your want to take advantage of the marketing opportunities presented by population ageing it is best to start from a position of knowing that large swathes of retired people will be ultra price conscious. There will be others, about 20%, that will be able spend on just about whatever they want. Better make sure you know how best to target this group. Dick Stroud

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aging Boomers befuddle marketers aching for $15 trillion prize

The article with this title appears in Bloomberg. 

It is a bit of rehash of something that was published a while back and that I blogged about called the 'Ageing Consumer Paradox'. This goes something like... The company that does such a great job of making products for seniors takes great pains not to make products for seniors.

So the instant you set-up a Boomers or Seniors marketing unit you have pretty well failed.

Worth reading the new Bloomberg article as it recounts the waste of money and talent at the University of Cincinnati where it tried to combine students, faculty and corporations, including P&G to create 50+ products.

A few more observations. I tried to do some work with P&G and found it like walking in sand. It was a bureaucratic organisations with closely guarded silos. To be honest I am amazed that they ever launched any products.

Secondly, the last place you are going to find insights into the older market is in a group of academics and students.

So maybe the paradox is not so much of a paradox. Dick Stroud

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