Senior-Market Expert: Sell Experiences, Not Products
Some of the marketing tips that worked well 20 years ago are not effective today, according to Jim Gilmartin, an expert in the senior market. For example, focusing on experiences is a better strategy today than focusing on products.
“Marketers in years past learned through trial and error that selling the rational marketing triad of product features, functional benefits and monetary value worked,” says Gilmartin, president and founder of Coming of Age, Interactive Baby Boomer & Senior Marketing . “But today, product-centered marketing is dead.”
Instead, Gilmartin tells Selling to Seniors that products should be positioned as gateways to experiences. “Although all of us have basic values and motivators that drive us, we manifest them differently as we move through the spring, summer, fall and winter seasons of life. Selling to Boomers and older consumers is different than selling to others primarily because of this shift in values. Our need for identity, relationships, centering, gaining knowledge and growth, rejuvenation and recreation are always with us, but as we grow older, we focus more on having meaningful experiences rather than gaining material goods.”
Focusing on product features and benefits often results in a losing strategy, especially early on in the process.
Gilmartin also says that marketers can find success when appealing to older consumers’ emotions. “Research has shown that consumers’ final decisions are not the direct product of the reasoning process –in fact, emotions drive Boomers and older consumers in their purchase decisions. The reasoning process will confirm their decision, but it doesn’t start there.”
The Chicago-based Coming of Age provides clients interactive baby boomer & senior marketing services and training to help clients capture and retain these customers.
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