Published: 14 June 2016

Closing the age divide

With 35% of the UK population aged over 50, and accounting for 50% of total household expenditure, businesses need to re-evaluate their marketing strategies to ensure this group of consumers is not ignored.

This was the message from alumnus Mark Beasley, MBA Class of 2003, who was one of our guest speakers at the MNA Business Breakfasts. Mark spoke about his experience of setting up RHC Advantage, the UK’s first ‘mature marketing’ consultancy, and the powerful mega trend that is the economic behaviour of over 50s.

Mark’s career in marketing began in the worlds of fashion, construction and food, before he co-founded what became a successful marketing agency. His first taste of mature marketing was at Surrey, choosing to complete his entrepreneurship project looking at the ageing population and now, some years later, he has returned to focus on this market.

He explained population ageing as a mega-trend and explored how marketing your product or services as ‘age neutral’ opens up new business opportunities, wider target audiences and even helps avoid social exclusion.

There is definitely a powerful business case for greater focus on the 50-plus market.  Mark advised considering the following marketing techniques to engage these audiences:

  • As a starting point for any marketing exercise, know your demographic
  • Year-on-year marketing assessment will not show changes; invest in longer-term thinking and make subtle changes to your approach
  • Measure segmentation variables, eg inter-generational purchasing
  • Assess the entire marketing mix: advertising, target market, consumer experience, segmentation, positioning, branding, price, CRM
  • Review your creative strategy - avoid stereotypes, opt for visual clarity and realism
  • Consider digital: recognise the digital demands of key age groups over 50.

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