Make the Golden Years Your Gold Mine
Breaking down the section of society that collectively has reached its golden years is no easy feat. While many know this group by one all-encompassing name—the 50-plus market—“There are a gazillion different segmentations,” laughs Kurt Medina, president of Medina Associates, a Rose Valley, Pa.–based consultancy that specializes in marketing to this niche. When considering these folks in the broadest sense, however, he narrows down the “gazillion” into three general categories:
• Pre-retirees: These folks are of the baby boomer generation, around 52 to 62 years of age.
• Active retirees: Those who have retired. But Medina notes that it doesn’t have to mean “retired,” as in not working anymore. “You’re no longer doing what you did before as your principal source of income,” he explains. The age breakdown typically is 62 to 75 years of age.
• Seniors: More of a state of mind than an actual title to grow into, this is when a person starts to slow down, either mentally, physically or both, Medina says. For argument’s sake, he gives an age range of 75 and older for this group. However, he is quick to say that a person can be 95 and still be an active retiree.
Although the mature market as a whole shares many similar ideologies and life experiences, each of the above groupings has distinguishing characteristics marketers should take into account when tailoring their messages. For example, pre-retirees work their in primary careers, might have college- or even high school-aged kids and look for the bottom line, since they’re busier than their mature market counterparts. By contrast, active retirees have entered a phase of life when they can commit their time to themselves. “Re-education of oneself is a major, major thing in the active retirement phase of life and it’s possibly the most exciting time of a person’s life,” Medina notes. This group has more financial wherewithal and, if there’s an interest in the product, they’ll make time to read up on it, he adds. For these reasons, when it comes to choosing which of these age ranges has market potential, pre-retirees and active retirees usually are the most lucrative. “When you enter seniordom … you don’t have needs for as many new things,” Medina says.