Seniors a missed target for advertisers

Seniors a missed target for advertisers

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by Joe Smith, KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 9 at 9:39 AM

PORTLAND -- Age is a number most baby boomers refuse to be defined by. They are more active, living longer and have more money to spend.

But, seniors are also getting ignored by most advertisers. They're called “The Forgotten Market” and it's costing businesses plenty.

Bill Byrd, 87, of Vancouver and his 81-year-old wife, Catherine exercise and do their best to stay active.

“I don't mind if people call me a senior,” Catherine said. “I'm pleased I've gotten this far.”

They’re a perfect example of an older demographic who experts say are too often, ignored by advertisers.

“They dominate in almost every single segment when it comes to purchasing power,” said Colin Milner, the CEO for the International Council on Active Aging.

Milner explained that research shows there are 110 million boomers and their parents in the United States who have more than $2 trillion in buying power.

“We're retired. We have a little extra money,” said 73-year-old Dorothea Schultz. “We'd be willing to spend it, but we don't see it geared to our age.”

Of the advertisers that do target these age groups, the research also found that 75 percent miss the mark, with a patronizing and stereotypical approach.

With more older adults still very active, Exercise Equipment Northwest actively targets them with ads.

“They just want to keep going as much as they can,” said Kim Moore, Sales Manager for Exercise Equipment Northwest.

The Vancouver store, When the Shoe Fits also aims for older customers.

“If we can modify an insert or modify a shoe to address the needs of a particular women's foot, we have that customer for life,” said owner Alan O’Hara.

Milner said if more businesses changed their ads with this target group in mind, it could ultimately change their bottom line, too.

“Social change takes time and I think we'll see the baby boomers drive that social change because we won't put up with that,” he added.

Milner will be holding a workshop titled “Is it too late to change how we age?” on Tuesday at Embassy Suites in Tigard. The workshop starts at 9:30 a.m. and costs $40 per person.

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