Teatotalers We Are Not!

by Jeff Weiss

In pursuit of our mission to crush the stereotypes and stigmas associated with aging, we have identified the Dirty Dozen Myths most commonly associated with marketing to active aging consumers.  Our research has confirmed that most marketers are guilty of accepting at least some of these myths as truths, which has led to missed opportunities and/or inappropriate marketing communications.

Thinking of food and beverages (particularly ones containing alcohol), two of these myths are particularly prevalent.  The first is what we refer to as “One Foot in the Grave”, which is the belief that getting old is depressing and that all aging consumers are reclusive or lonely.  The second we call “The Early Bird Special”, the belief that older consumers don’t have a lot of money and what they do have they don’t want to spend (including on meals).

The reality, and why these myths must be busted, is that while some older people are less socially active and some folks don’t want to spend money even if they have it (this is true across all age groups and I know a lot of younger people who are like that!), many active aging consumers are more socially active than ever and they have the funds and are willing to spend them on things such as better (and healthier!) food and more “refined” adult beverages.

Just consider a few things that happen as you get older:

  • Your kids move out and you have more time to socialize and get together with friends — Can you say “No more dance lessons and soccer games to attend?”;
  • With those picky eaters out of the house, you have the freedom to experiment with new foods that you wouldn’t dream of preparing and eating before;
  • Your mature palette prefers finer (and more expensive) alcoholic beverages and your new schedule facilitates more regular indulgence in cocktail hour or wine with dinner.

Observing these active ager lifestyle changes, and considering the large amount of spending in food and beverages attributed to the over 55 crowd, it amazes me to see the disproportionately high marketing investment in younger consumers.  Sure my 21 year-old son consumes alcohol, but last time I checked, he’s not going to the premium brands that I buy (unless, of course, he is having a drink with me when he is home for a visit!).  He’s also less likely to prioritize his spending on premium dining over tech or fashion.

Perhaps a little love and focus on those of us willing (and able) to put dollars behind higher-priced food and beverage products, services and experiences would be worth consideration.

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