May 8, 2014

Marketing to the older generation

Written By Martin Sandhu
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It’s easy to assume that online marketing, websites and mobile technology is a waste of money when it comes to attracting an older audience, but you’d be very much mistaken.

The number of people aged 65 and over accessing the internet has risen by more than 25% in the last year. Greater awareness and understanding, coupled with education and ease of access is making the internet a more appealing place for the over 65’s. The Ofcom Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014 found that tablets are a large driving force in this shift, with 17% of over 65’s using a tablet in 2013, up from just 5% in 2012.

This isn’t just good news for big brands with an online presence, trusted local retailers often have a band of loyal customers who have been shopping with them for a long time. Finding that a local Nottingham business, such as a butchers, has a website and social media presence where they alert customers to new deliveries and offers is appealing to audiences of all ages.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to marketing to the older generation online though…

Responsive design

Website that aren’t optimised for mobile devices are infuriating for anyone; as the over 65’s tend to access the internet via a tablet, ensure your website and other platforms use responsive design and are appealing regardless of the screen on which it is being viewed.

Ease of access

Motor skills in the over 65’s are not the same as those in their 20’s, so simple tasks like tapping a button can be more difficult. It’s always good to undertake testing on any new website development and if you are targeting an older audience, get someone of their age to test it too. Making sure buttons are big enough, not too close together and the menu is clearly labelled for ease of use.

Terminology

This is particularly pertinent when it comes to social marketing. Only 30% of over 65’s now regularly access social media, so it’s a great channel for marketing too them, however be weary of using too much jargon! Social media has lots of different terms, slag phrases and new words (such as Tweet or hashtag) that can isolate those who don’t understand.

Future generations will have grown up with mobile and online technology, making it second nature to them. But for the next few decades, marketers will need to be aware that the over 65’s audience is there but allowances need to be made in order to appeal to them.