So many pictures of young people using an app to make themselves look older. The irony of this is immense given the way society still ignores the issues facing an aging population.

Instead of making you look superficially like an elderly person how about a real experience. One where employment becomes much harder, yet living expenses stay at similar levels. Where you become invisible or where your retirement age is constantly nudged backwards. That is only the start and every study I see just confirms what a mess we are in and that worse is coming!

The need for government and business to acknowledge the ever louder ticking of this time bomb has never been greater and is rapidly getting worse. Even more worrying is the lack of debate about any part of the issue.

So as you are sharing/receiving/viewing the latest FaceApp picture have a little think about what aging really means.

Well a sort of future.

When I started out on my own had very grand and idealistic thoughts of hanging out in co-working spaces and generally changing the world with an incredible work life balance and a network of people fighting for my time. Not quite got there yet but I like to think the acorns are germinating!

The future I’m thinking about was really more of a present and was based on seeing the magnificent Orbital at Hammersmith Apollo just before Christmas. As part of my extended midlife crisis I’m experiencing an ever stronger desire to reconnect with my youth – nothing to report there apart from my joy/surprise at how many others feel the same and were doing something about it on a cold December Saturday evening. Dancing away with 5000 other folks all of my vintage and above gave me a timely reminder of why I started greyafro in the first place. The facts on aging are clear and the cohort I’m most interested in the 50 to 70 lived group lived through the magic that was late 80s/early 90s raving.

Think I’m past the dancing all night stage (think) but nowhere near afternoon tea dances and quizzes. So what is happening for this group.?

Whilst Baby Boomers are an acknowledged group but continue to be ignored/misunderstood the not actually very old at all 50+ I think are starting to fall into a void. Too young to need some of the specialist products of older age but too old to be of interest to a huge community of youth obsessed brands.

The behaviour of people within this group is I think are fascinating. To start with the group needs a name for us all to misappropriate. Basically it is the age fading group – in all the key jobs its the time where age becomes an issue and people start to disappear from public life. The only place I can see the male of this group flourish is at Football/sporting events where they are the majority!

Really interesting to see how brands start to address this subtle difference – the desire to take age focused brands down a decade or two has been happening for a while witness Saga and Age UK over the last couple of years. I think sport/leisure is a huge opportunity and the boom in cycling/mind body attests to it but I’d suggest we are still early in the process. Given the woes of retail I cannot help but think there is another opportunity here to look at the needs and wants of this “sandwich” generation. I won’t hold my breath but would be happy to talk to anyone who is starting to wrestle with a challenge in this space.

Thanks for reading and if you found even slightly useful please do let me know.

Spent much more of the last two weekends than I’d care to admit watching Tiger Woods on the comeback trail.

I have become a golf enthusiast over the last 10 years or so and have often wondered how much of what is now modern golf is directly attributable to TW. Undoubtedly prize money and broader interest can be attributed directly to the big cat.

Tiger is 42 and seemingly after some quite drastic surgery is heading back to the top of the game. All of which got me thinking about reinvention and longevity. When I started work I had a very much misguided view of retirement – get to 50 and kick back! Won’t be true for me and there will be many more people who will experience a lot worse in fact retirement will mean relative poverty with income down and costs likely rising/mortgages still to be repaid and high expectations being missed.

So who is actually reading the signs of what is to come? Healthcare looks ever less prepared, gurus abound telling us about the death of just about every traditional media source, automation is apparently going to make us all redundant and the list goes on.

So all of the (un)retirement chat looks like a decent bet even if it isn’t what many people actually want. Surely this leads to a raft of new services and products to address this change? Here is hoping but I’d put more money short term on lots of amazing new tech focused on solving non problems first!

Unless you are the boss the odds seem massively against you having a very long career in marketing.

This always struck me as odd – at the stage of your career/life where you can most help you are likely to be tossed aside if you haven’t been already. You have seen things and likely been through ups and downs and in all probability are well placed to call foul on anything that doesn’t make sense.

I don’t want to rant against younger folks getting on – I can just about remember those days. The challenge in your 20s is quite different though and likely always will be. Surely some of these young guns could benefit from the odd old head around to help with the more subtle parts of development? Not to say adding a bit of practical insight to any consumer over the age of 40.

At the heart of this is some fundamentally messed up thinking. My belief is that if you dropped a marketing team from 40 years ago into role today they would likely do a much better job than might be imagined the tools have changed but the basic challenge hasn’t altered much at all. Ultimately the effort needs to support a clear goal and somewhere pretty nearby is the need to make money and generate a great return.

All of this need to maintain a mix of experience levels in the marketing workplace further pushed me to start my journey. Many businesses probably have these thoughts but they don’t act on it. A starting point might be some interim or freelance help or bringing back someone to the workplace after a gap?

As always would welcome your thoughts and views. And if you need help with reaching the mature audience please do get in touch it will be worth your while!

Until next time

Julian

50 really isn’t old. I keep telling myself that over and over as I get closer and take comfort in the ever lounder noise about this market and the need to take it seriously.  But what is old in reality? 

All the research I have done and been party to tells me you have a notional split between the young old (sort of 50-70) and the old old (70+). Of course never really that simple but a starting point that is easy enough to grasp.

I will look at the young old for now and I’ll resist the temptation to give them a tag for as long as possible (but that is surely a massive opportunity). Based on the data I have seen this age group is c20million adults in the UK and forecast to grow substantially in the next 30 years as living longer starts to fully kick in.

Lets zone in a bit further on what defines this group:

  • Go on the most holidays annually  
  • Over 9million are still working 
  • Have the most savings c70% of all in the UK (£6.2 trillion according to Saga last year) 
  • More than 75% believe the skills and talents of older people are underused 
  • Tablets are the must use device and close to 90% of over 50s have the internet at home 
  • In 2015 over 50s spent £39bn on travel 
  • 40% book holidays online direct with the travel company 

Bit of number wang but gets the point across hopefully. Within this group are genuine consumers with money to spend and key needs to fulfil.

So What? 
However you split this group up there is a gap they aren’t acknowledged and talked to and the fact that age really isn’t the differentiator attitude/health/wealth being better down differentiators.

If you’d like to target this valuable group and make more more money for your business please get in touch and do follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. I’d also ask you to share this blog and my mission with anyone you know who might benefit, be looking for  expert help.

#50notout

Julian

Stats c/o of silvertraveladvisor, my friends at December 19th and various searches on google

We all have one – in fact they become ever more powerful the older we get. I still see the 25 year old version of me not the current version when I look in mine.

I think (and try to act too often) like I’m 30 and every research group I have ever been in with close to/retired folk has them picturing themselves as -20 years and not wanting to hang out with “old” people.  This actually becomes more acute with affluence in my experience.

So given this undoubted truth why do we continue to see so many wrinkly hands and people looking sorry for themselves in promotional activity for over 50s? I’d say because those developing and commissioning the marketing are closer to half that of the real consumers. CMO average age has only recently crept into the 50s and everyone else in marketing seem to move into other areas as they head into their 40s.

Given it is planning time for many businesses I’d urge you to think about this opportunity for 2018.  Those that wake up and start to address this market will be winning big – even more so if there is any form of downturn as final salary recipients are the closest you can have to be recession proof.

If you’d like help in scoping your opportunity/planning/executing activity please get in touch greyafro@icloud.com

#50notout

Until next time

Julian

I am not the first person to become passionate about this group and certainly won’t be the last!

People are not all the same

I hear more than I’ll ever need to about whatever really constitutes Millenials without really being any the wiser on who they really are. The only thing that strikes me is that the age band is inheriting a mess from those who have gone before and perhaps a bit more time sorting that out would be the best possible use of time.

What I don’t hear enough about is the over 50s and what I do hear contains words I really don’t see anyone relate to – Silver Surfer, Boomers & Old.  The more established concepts pre-retired/retired & empty nesters and the elderly also don’t really cut it but are a little more helpful.

Reinvention

I’m most passionate about the 50-70 age group and everything within in it. The need to reinvent yourself close to 50 has never been clearer and the unifying aspect is that this cohort don’t see themselves as old and in pretty much every example I can think of are consuming life in the fast lane (check the stats on Boozing Boomers if you want some clarity).

My expertise is greatest in this area and I’m focused on this group and believe the travel, leisure and finance sectors could benefit most. My personal experience has been of them broadly hating you (FS) loving you (Travel) and somewhere in between (Leisure). Population growth shows this is where the growth is/will be in the next 10 years in particular.

How to Reach them…

The role of the full mix of marketing is ever stronger for all of these categories – paper still works remarkably well but contrary to some increasingly discredited wisdom they aren’t all technophobes and in many ways the novelty of digital having grown up without it is still just about unique and in my experience they are the group most likely to persist with Facebook as it wrestles with privacy.

If any of the above sparks anything then I’d love to talk and as always very keen to hear your thoughts.

Until next time

#50notout

Julian