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March 06, 2007

Online Marketing to Seniors & Baby Boomers

By Li Evans

Grandgamers Probably one of the toughest demographics to market to online is the 60+ crowd.  Most of these seniors didn't grow up with computers, and the thought of operating one is actually kind of scary to them.  I know about this from experience, I use to teach an "internet surfing" course for seniors at the Frackville library, back when I had my own business.

So how do you reach them?  Well in the past couple of weeks, I've read ta bunch of articles that could teach marketers about marketing to this segment of the population.  Each article had it's own technology topic, but if you have a client in these industries, or are trying to figure out how to market online to this demographic, you could learn a bit from them.

  • Wii Invades Retirement Homes, Elderly Gamers and Nitendo Wii & Video Games Not Just for Grandkids - You read that right, grandparents playing video games.  Not just any video games or with any gaming console, but the Wii.  In particularly bowling and tennis.  I don't own a Wii (however I will shortly!) so this game could be in package that comes standard with it, but wouldn't Nintendo gain even more fans in this set by adding Shuffle Board, too?  Now think of this, in game advertising, those areas above the lanes, where the pins are set up - perfect for advertising!
  • Microsoft buys Medstory, Inc. - Microsoft may no be looking right now at the Senior demographic today, but they know that aging baby boomers are on that horizon.  This purchase makes sense if they want to reach this market.  Also think about how targeted advertising could be here.  You've got a VERY captive audience, if you are a drug manufacturer, or personal care provider you've got the opportunity to hit both the "senior" and possibly their "care giver/child" who's researching information on the web for them.
  • Eon Eons Gets $22 Million in Funding - Forgive the picture reference, when I first heard of this social network on a podcast about 2 months ago, "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" immediately came to mind (Eon was the name of the buzzard).  Regardless of this name choice, a social network aimed at seniors isn't a bad idea at all.  Everything is being driven to personalizing the internet, and Eons sets out to do this for the Senior market.  Talk about another very targeted avenue of advertising, you have it with Eons.

In some of my blog reviews for the Fortune 500 Blog Review project, I reviewed some major drug store chains like Rite Aid and CVS.  There's a huge potential for them to market to this crowd online- but no one's seizing on that opportunity.  The company who does it right first, is going to be the big winner, and will have its competition scratching its head wondering why they didn't do it first.


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Y'all better market to them quickly. According to www.boomerdeathcounter.com one dies every 55 seconds. Hey, maybe the funeral industry is going to boom! yuk yuk.

Thanks for the list of articles. While 60+ people are not usually on the Internet, there are a whole lot of "silent" aged users who surf and do not interact. Take my parents-in-law aged 76 and 81. They both go online, have a braodband account but if it comes to buying anything online they check with me first and then usually co-opt me into doing the purchase for them. Others of my friends are all online, and many of them are also silent users. Yes, this is a special group, but I suspect, more of them are actually online than at first meets the eye. Getting them to be comfortable and interacting -- well -- that is another entirely new question.

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