Selling To The ‘New Old’

By June Ramli

Jeff Sanders wants to see more astute marketing in Australia being carried out for the ‘new old.’ And by that, he means tasteful targeted marketing for baby boomers between the ages of 50 to 75.

“Over 40 per cent of this country’s population is over 50 but they receive less than 10 per cent of the (marketing) budget, ” Sanders told in an interview recently.

With over 40 years of marketing experience under his belt, Sanders wants to help marketers do more in targeting this underserviced cohort who holds more than 70 per cent of Australia’s disposable income.

Selling to the 'New Old'

“The older crowd is not a sexy crowd,” Sanders said when asked why they were being ignored.

He also said many marketers employed in the sector were in the millennial age group of 29 to 30 and had little to no understanding of how to skew content for the 50 to 60-year-olds. 

Realising the missing link, Sanders, 65, decided to form an agency called FiftyNotOut along with another experienced marketer Nick Richardson to work with companies and come up with best-suited strategies on how to target the ‘new old.’

“I guess you can call me an entrepreneur, but instead of a product, we provide a service,” he said. 

One tip Sanders had for millennial marketers was that they should always do their best to exclude trigger words such as ‘retirement’ in their copies as it was one to surely put the ‘new old’ off.

“The over 50-year-olds are still a happening group of people,” he said, adding that many of the ‘new olds’ were still doing the same things they did when they were 35 except this time with lesser hair.

Sanders said it was unfair for most marketing materials to be skewed more towards the millennial crowd when clearly most of them were ‘broke.’

According to Sanders, the over 50s in Australia had a lot of cash, thanks to real estate purchased in the 80s and 90s.

“It was really cheap then. They probably bought two houses, had a job, super(annuation), and money in the bank and (by now) their mortgage would have been paid off,” he said, adding that many were on the verge of downsizing, leaving them with more disposable income to use.

Sanders-backed the claim up with some stats too, saying that there were approximately over 3.2 million ‘loaded’ Australians that weren’t being targeted as much by marketers.

Whereby on the international front, the over 50s had dominated the market with over AUD$7.6 trillion in spending power compared to AUD$143 billion held by Gen X who was born between the mid-1960s and the early-1980s.  

He said at present only healthcare, financial and travel services in Australia were doing a great job in targeting the ‘new old’.

Builders too were slowly joining in the foray, thanks to more retirement apartments being build for the over 50s.

Jeff Sanders
Jeff Sanders. Photo: Supplied.

Sanders said companies who had a hard time hitting their targets should look at increasing their budgets towards the ‘new old’ which will evidently result in more money for their businesses. 

“Instead of 10 per cent (of your budget) increase it to over 20 per cent, that would surely help you reach your target,” he said.

He said despite the pandemic, the over 50s were still buying new cars, Apple products, booze (alcohol) and clothes.

“Many of them are smart and experienced buyers,” he said.

Another really good market that lacks targeting was women over the age of 50.

He said despite being big spenders these ladies were still being ignored on the marketing front. 

All in all, Sanders believes the lack of targeting was also due to a perceived problem in ageism.

In one of his presentation slides which he uses to educate marketers, Sanders tries to get the message across with one slide stating the obvious.

It reads: “Ageism is discrimination against your future self.”

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