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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Time to scrap the idea of a category called technology for seniors

Technology for seniors – why have a separate category? Laurie Orlov asks this question and comes up with a few answers.

The answer I like the most (because it is the correct one) is that you abandon the idea of defining the category. There you go, job done, solved in an instant - forget all about it.

I can sense a few readers thinking - well that is just avoiding the question. Well no it isn't, it just asks a different question.

Let me explain my rationale. Firstly, who the hell is a senior? Somebody over 50, 60,  70., 80 ? There is no universal definition. On the beach this morning I watched a guy, who must have been 75, jogging at a pace I could only dream of running. I think he was wearing an Apple watch but he certainly seemed to be tech savvy. A bit later, as I was eating lunch I saw a women, probably aged 55, who could hardly manage to get up and down out of her seat and who could just about use a credit card machine. I guess both are seniors.

If we say that seniors are aged over 60 then there are going to be lots and lots of them about. Are they really going to want to have products and services and to using marketing channels that are unique to their needs? I doubt it.

So why don't we just say that we provide technology products and services that can be used by a broad spectrum of ages  - maybe we call this something original like being age-neutral. In fact we don't need to limit this thinking just to technology.

Of course there will be specialist needs that are health related. Surprisingly, many of these are also used by younger people. Loss of sight, hearing, smell, mobility, cognitive powers - these may be a lot more common in older people but not only related to them. OK, there are some products and services that are only relevant to older people (i.e financial services products and some types of housing). But it is daft to have a marketing construct based on a few exceptions.

So there you are. This is a vision of a future that will occur - without doubt. For bright companies it is one they are working on now (I know since they are working with us to delivery it).

Do read Laurie's article and think about what you mean by the Seniors' market. My bet is you don't know. Dick Stroud


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