By Allan Francis Munn:
The Grey or Silver Market starts around age fifty and continues to the end of life’s journey.
In America alone, there are 78 million baby boomers, people born post 1950. Unlike the majority of generations before them, these boomers will lead more active, inventive and creative lives than their predecessors.
It is well documented that people are living longer, healthier lives, even though half of them may be consuming a prescription drug on a regular basis to achieve this!
Just check out how many interesting and healthy people you know who were born in the 1940’s and even 30’s, yes, maybe even in the 20’s!
This relatively recent phenomenon, represents an incredible business opportunity for marketers, who are avidly rushing to create resources, tools, techniques and data to capitalize on the vast potential of this expanding marketing potential, often inappropriately referred to as The Grey Market.
Sales and marketing strategies are being tried and tested in an attempt to uncover the mysteries of the The Grey Market’s buying habits and motivations.
Many are undoubtedly successful, but for me and many other like-minded people, their still appear to be marketers and copywriters who have not got their fundamental messages right.
For example, how many mature, yet attractive models, male or female, does one ever spot on a modeling ramp or in an advertisement promoting the latest fashionable clothes?
The demand for consumer goods within this demographic is great, but could be even greater, with appropriate marketing techniques.
Perhaps the most pertinent question to ask, is why do the mature members of society not enjoy seeing members of their own demographic representing consumer products that are specifically aimed at them? What really lurks behind this apparent prejudice and how does this affect buying habits?
When considering this aspect, it is perhaps important to determine what an advertisement message really is.
A message is a communication, which word is derived from the Latin word communis, which translated, means common.
Messages or communications then, can be thought of as a process of establishing a commonness or oneness of thought between a sender and a receiver.
Commonness of thought implies that a sharing relationship must exist between the sender and receiver.
Can we honestly say that this is the case with respect to the composition of many of the marketing and advertisement messages across the media mix, which are aimed at The Grey Market?
In this regard and perhaps in the case of an advertisement copywriter attempting to communicate with a Grey target market reader, a common fallacy is to review the sender (the copywriter) as the active member in the relationship and the receiver (the Grey target market) as passive.
Of course, in reality, this is not the case.
The sender in this instance may undoubtedly be the younger party, enjoying all the perceived superior attributes that our present society implies, but this does not mean that the sender is by such definition more active than the older, supposedly passive receiver.
After all, despite any age consideration, it is the older consumer who decides on the ultimate action, which is in fact the most important decision, i.e. whether to actually respond to the message or not.
This inaccurate and bizarre manner of planning marketing campaigns, is usually covert, it is a general assumption that more often than not will seldom be openly admitted by the marketing industry, but it is clear that this negative thought process is very much alive.
On a personal note, I was born in the 40’s and of course I no longer feel young, nor do I want to be young, but I most certainly do not feel old, or past my sell by date.
I am happy with who I am right now. Like the younger generation I am hoping for a productive future, which is healthy, happy, loving, romantic, interesting, exciting, fashionable, new and enlightening.
I am not on this planet merely to survive for as long as possible. I also want and need to enjoy!
I feel that I have much to contribute, to share and to learn.
I am a valuable consumer, a library filled with experience, of things said and done, dreams, success, failure and battles won and lost.
As a result, I would appreciate a marketing message that I can identify with, one which instills motivation within me, that excites and inspires the aspirations and dreams of what I would like to do and own, not what an anxious advertisement copy writer presumes that I still could do or still could own.
From my position, I feel that there should be a general shift in the language, mood and methods used to communicate to the over 50’s target market, a change in the tone of communication, which would create messages that are more conducive to the real feelings of this valuable target market segment.