Our elders may well be betters

As your article on marketing to the over-50s (MW November 2) pointed out, advertisers and agencies have a way to go to before they understand this economically powerful group.

They are a very varied group whose activities and tastes range from riding Harleys to enjoying immaculately maintained homes and gardens – much the same as the rest of the population.

There has been a universal acceptance of audience segmentation along non-demographic lines for the under-50s for quite some time. It would be absurd for any marketer to believe that one 17-year-old is the same as another.

The advertising industry supports a plethora of research studies designed to help those involved in youth marketing gain greater insight. After all, the industry does not feel equipped to second-guess this important group of consumers, although we were all teenagers once.

However, the majority of people working in marketing are not aged 50-plus. And yet, some of us choose to believe that the over-50s are a homogeneous group. Perhaps Katherine Harris’ experiences of a group of similar over-50s reflects the sample that was drawn for a particular research project. Looking in any depth at a group of over-50s reveals huge differences in attitude, income and aspirations, as TGI Gold survey subscribers know. Produced in association with Saga, TGI Gold contains information on product sector and brand usage together with attitudinal statements for a sample of over 4,000 50to 75-year-olds.

With the relevant research tools, there’s no excuse any more for us to believe that one 60-year-old is fundamentally the same as another.

Samantha Fosbury

TGI NPD marketing manager

BMRB International

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