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Sunday Lifestyle

Next target market: Seniors!

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

My professional background is advertising.  I spent 33 years in advertising meaning I have a lot of knowledge gained.  What most people don’t know is that you can’t do advertising without a profound knowledge of marketing.

Let’s begin with the target market, the people who might buy your product.  We used to define them demographically, meaning the hard facts like the social class they belong to in terms of money, age, etc. and also psychographically or the softer truths about them like their lifestyles.  Often we used market research to define the target market because they are key to marketing successfully.

Our marketing efforts in the Philippines lag behind the marketing efforts in the USA maybe because, as I have observed, Filipinos generally are not deeply observant. For example, the past prominent target market is the millennials.  Advertising has been geared to young people yet apparently sales did not hit the desired results.  Why?  Because young people do not spend their own money on themselves.  Their mothers still buy their clothes for them.  They are happy wearing their old clothes.  They don’t want new clothes all the time.

Let’s look at the USA.  We always follow their trends though we are also always a few years late.  There they have discovered a new target market.  It’s the seniors.  If you are a retired senior the easiest job you can get is in a senior’s home.  Seniors homes are burgeoning all over the country and the biggest job market is service to seniors.  I have not been there lately but I’ll bet department stores have sections for seniors and their wear but they must have creative titles.  They have Senior Centers in every district in the United States.  I know we had one in Burlingame where I used to live in the ’80s.  My mother would go to dances at 4 p.m.  Why so early?  Because seniors are early birds.  They like to go home early. 

Did you see last week’s coverage of the book launch of Finding the Sun in Sunshine Place?  That featured a senior’s fashion show.  You should have seen the excitement of the people, the way they attended rehearsals, the way they loved the fashion accessories provided by SM.  But they drove the choreographers a little bit crazy because they didn’t follow the rules exactly.  What did that tell me?  The choreographers did not understand the seniors, expected them to behave like the juniors.  But in the end, everyone had a good time.

Seniors should not fade away at 65.  They should be out there.  They have the money, the time, a lot more energy than traditionally thought. They have lives of their own.  The larger world must recognize that and pay attention.  Seniors, too, must believe in themselves and work towards creating a world of their own, ignoring what their children say if they try to prevent them from having fun because life doesn’t stretch out endlessly before them.  If you are 70 do you expect to live another 70 years?  No, of course not.  I don’t.  I expect to drop dead maybe in 10 years.  But I will die a very happy death.

Since I got married at 73 you will not believe the texts I receive asking if we are intimate or if we married only for companionship.  I’m sorry but to me that is a stupid question.  Why marry if all we want is friendship?  Of course, we are very intimate.  We probably will be very intimate until we die.  Intimacy is created by a couple if they do not allow themselves to be swept up by tradition that says you grow old and stop living at a certain age.  You can stay more or less fit if you exercise moderately.  You can enjoy yourself if you laugh a lot, sing like no one is listening, dance like not one is watching and be as intimate as you can be as often as you want.  You have no more fear of pregnancy.  All you have is a duty to yourself to define enjoyment for yourself and to do it.

But not all seniors believe this.  That’s where advertising can do a job.  As it sells products it defines the possibilities of a senior’s lifestyle, thus building their confidence and making them alive again.

So what kinds of products do we need?  Recognize us.  Entertainment that’s not too loud.  Food that’s less adventurous more like what our mothers used to cook.  Hobbies. House dresses that are more fashionable than the usual batik dusters available.  Intimacy aids for those who need them.  Anti-aging things cheaper than Stem Enhance.  Easy exercise classes.  More senior centers, more socials.   Cosmetics that will help us look younger. 

The products are out there.  They just have to be re-positioned and advertised.  That’s what makes seniors a great potential target market!

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Please text your comments to 0998-991-2287. 

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