Market segmentation by age: does it work?

Two women sit on a bird nest swing.Time to challenge the entrenched marketing theory of market segmentation by age. It follows mindless formulas and plays into stereotypes about older people as needy and helpless. It also perpetuates these stereotypes. An article in FastCo highlights why sectioning out older people leads to negative representations. Or worse, they patronise. 

The title of the article is, Why marketing to seniors is so terrible. It’s based on research by various marketing companies. Online purchasing by over 55s has increased significantly and cuts across stereotypes of older people being tech-averse. Here are two excerpts from the article:

The most surprising finding Tuma and her team discovered was when they asked people to envision an aging utopia–and an aging dystopia. In every single country surveyed, the utopia had generations living together in harmony, learning from each other, and helping one another other. The dystopia, conversely, strictly segregated young and old. Which one do we see most in advertising today?

When was the last time you saw anyone over 55 in a decent ad? The world of oldsvertising is a hellscape full of reverse mortgages, erectile dysfunction pills, and bathtubs that won’t kill you. The video below is an example of a bathtub advert.

Time to focus on attitudes, not age. No more patronising pictures of older hands, thank you – real life please. We are all ageing and we are all individuals 

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