On January 1, the shift from a youth dominated market to one dominated by middle age and older people began in earnest. For the next 18 years, someone will turn age 65 approximately every 8 minutes. Why this seems to have come as a surprise to our elected leaders, business leaders and educators boggle the imagination. However, all three have pretty much failed miserably in planning for the greatest demographic shift in history.
Politically, we debate fixing a Social Security System that is grossly out of date from an actuarial perspective and generally unfunded. Medicare obligations will grow exponentially and the Medicaid outlays at the state level threaten budget solvency in many states and will get progressively worse in the next two decades. Still, few are emphasizing the importance of or providing incentives for preventive health and well being programs. Likewise advances in brain fitness programs that could delay the onset of memory loss receive little attention.
When it comes to business, there has been minimal attention to the reality that older consumers’ process information differently, and have physiological changes that affect their hearing and vision. Simplily stated, it is way past time to reconsider sales, marketing, and merchandising materials as well as how they train and educate their employees. The majority of business collateral materials utilize type is too small, improper fonts, paper that is too glossy, ineffective copy, and colors that may make it difficult to even see the message.
Finally, few educational institutions offer courses on communicating with an aging market, how life stages impact decision making or the benefits successful aging strategies that should begin early in life. There is more than enough information on how to succeed in an aging marketing; but few are yet to pursue that knowledge. Regardless of the sector you serve, there is still an excellent window of opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. However, a new paradigm will be required in order to bring the potential into focus.