The Untapped Trillion Dollar Demographic And How To Reach Them

Date Posted: July 11, 2019 by Michael McCall

Have you focused the majority of your efforts on millennials, completely overlooking a burgeoning $15 trillion demographic?

You’re not alone.

Most marketers have—to their detriment—prioritized the younger generations – Millennials and Generation X’ers born between 1965 and 1996 (ranging in ages between 23 to 54). In an effort not to get left behind, they—and possibly you—are completely bypassing the segment with real purchasing power.

It’s easy to understand why.

Millennials, native adopters of technology, live and breathe digital media. Innovative, confident, and talented, these children of change are high-speed stimuli junkies. Blending technology and multiculturalism seamlessly.

And we’re completely captivated.

Google “marketing to millennials” and you’ll find more than 270,000 results.

But let’s face it—most of them have limited cash reserves.

Which begs the very real question: Why are we focusing on a demographic that doesn’t have any money?

Just because they get Instagram and YouTube?

It’s time to look to the group really driving our economy.

These 75 million strong—and rising 10,000 every day—command 70 percent of all the disposable income in the United States and earn 31 percent of the income. And they possess more than 47 times the net worth of our youth.

Born between 1925 and 1968, they’re our treasured senior citizens.

Who Are Our Seniors?

Today, we have two large and distinctive categories.

The silent generation or traditionalists born between 1924 and 1945 (ages 73 to 94) and the baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 (ages 54 to 72).

They’re the most affluent segment today, spending approximately 50 percent of all U.S. purchasing dollars. Compare this to millennials, who earn less than the same age group did in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

And while you might argue today’s senior citizens hold more debt than previous generations, this is not true for our silent generation and traditionalists. And may be true for our boomers only because they spend more on hobbies and nonessential items. Of the “buy now, pay later” philosophy, they spend considerable money on their children (millennials).

The Silent Generation and Traditionalists

Raised by survivors of the Great Depression, these individuals remember the difficult times followed by a sudden burst of prosperity. They possess a strong call to duty and patriotism, having fought in WWII and the Korean War. Organized with a strong work ethic, seniors generally live off of well-planned retirement and savings plans.

And they are becoming more active online every day. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, “The 74-plus demographic is the fastest growing demographic among social networks.”

Although increasingly drawn to social, our traditionalists also are thrifty spenders, with a heavy focus on saving. Raised on rotary phones and one-to-one communication, their idea of technology is the Hoover Dam. (One-to-one communication means no mass emails.)

And mind your manners, as they’re incredibly important to this group. This includes refraining from profanity and respectfully addressing their age and experience.

Baby Boomers

Named for the influx of newborns following World War II, this group was born between 1946 and 1964 (aged 54 to 72). Raised on free love, the sexual revolution, and “The American Dream,” baby boomers fought authority on many levels during their time. The youth of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., they challenged the status quo at every turn. Abutting the beliefs of their traditionalist parents, they battled for civil rights, gender equality, and in and against Vietnam.

This hardworking group, whose ethos is equal opportunities and making a difference, invented the 50-hour work week. Thus paving the road for a strong work ethic, valuing personal growth, teamwork, and ambition.

This incredibly important segment are known spenders and often labeled materialistic. With a disposable income, they’re growing in number every day. They worry now, spend later.

Because they grew up with touch-tone phones, they’re more likely to want to talk to you on the phone than email, although they’ve adopted the straightforward texting medium very well.

This generation also has the highest divorce and second marriage rates in history.

What’s Next?

This is the first of a series of posts studying and explaining best practices for marketing to this powerful demographic. Join as we dissect the who and why, delving into the best tactics and techniques to reach seniors.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please feel free to post in the comments below or call or email me directly at 267-844-0312 or michael@i76solutions. 

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