Why the grey market has become so appealing

In this guest post, Gill Walker says the grey market of 50-plus Australians is as diverse as the coveted 18-35s demographic, so why aren't marketers more effectively targeting them?

Gill Walker Evergreen

Over the past 10 years of selling the story that 50-plus is sexy, I am delighted to see the increasing interest in media opportunities aimed at older people.

MevCorp Research recently released The Wise Up! Research Study, the most comprehensive Australian research study (it claims) ever undertaken into the 50+ market. The study revealed that brands and services who continue to ignore this well-heeled, large and growing demographic do so at their own peril.

The greatest growth has been in the explosion of digital media offerings, with a number of lifestyle and directory-based websites popping up specifically targeted at the mature consumer. Websites such as Guide, WYZA, Starts at 60 and Over Sixty have joined the ranks of long-running websites such as Your Life Choices and agedcareguide.com.au.

As more dedicated 60+ websites offer their advertising opportunities and preach the consumption of ‘grey food’, we share some observations to save time and money.

Remember to serve a balanced media plate

Our observation is that Boomers and Seniors, to a lesser extent, have added digital into their ‘media time’ selection. Digital underpins nearly every media plan we develop, yet we appreciate the audience still has a voracious appetite for media in general.Senior couple standing together laughing, indoors, portrait

In the past three years we have seen at least five major 60+ sites claim leadership status in the space. Our prediction is the 60+ media winners will be those that align with major networks and can sell an integrated offering across multiple advertising mediums – from digital to print and TV to magazine.

The media partners selling inventory using the latest performance measures, audience segmentation and reporting data, being nimble and responsive, will have an advantage over the more traditional website start-ups with media kits that advertise ‘buy this advert in the section for a year’.

Furthermore, there are nuances within the mature market – one size does not fit all, just like one website is unlikely to be all things to all Boomers and Seniors!

Traditional meals can be filling

Whilst we welcome these targeted channel options, our experience shows mainstream options should not be forgotten.

For example, look at Telstra’s T-Media site. A T-Media Homepage takeover attracts between 400-500 UAs daily, with well over a third being aged over 55 years (Google Analytics Feb 2016). Compared with some of the aged-specific sites, this is nearly twice the reach.

Caviar costs more than carrots

If you are planning to buy media from the plethora of 60+ media alternatives, then ask probing questions and treat the buy with the same rigour you would for non-aged based.

Senior Chinese Couple Sitting At Desk Using Laptop At Home

Expect that their numbers might not be audited as they grow, but appreciate the richness of the engaged environment 10 minutes screen time is better than 10 seconds. Clients and buyers must spend real time looking at the content. How it is relevant to the activity your audience is doing and the product or service you are selling? Is the site an entertainment site or an information site? Directories listings (information-rich content) often underpin some of the older sites.

Aged care marketing is showing a rapid increase in advertising spend (estimated +45% in 24 months *) due to government legislation creating a consumer-directed-care model. Now requiring dual targeting – the influencer (frequently son/daughter) as well as the end user/spouse – this entails profiling 40-55 year olds, as well as the user (typically 65+).

The completely different media consumption patterns of these audiences means that different marketing channels are required to reach each one.

Sometimes it’s wise to taste before you order

One of the great advantages of using the mature-focused sites is that it allows brands to experiment with varied offerings and messages. In the situation where an aged-based discount is offered and needs to be tested, there are excellent and highly credible government websites, such as NSW Seniors Card, that allow advertising.

Read the ingredients panel

It’s a media market rich with data. Insights into the habits and interests of site members are often quoted in research by digital publishers – and yes, often some nuggets of information are unearthed.

We also recommend adding independent sources such as Roy Morgan for buying decisions, to provide the full Australian perspective.

For example, when asked by a client if they can just advertise online to reach the majority of Seniors we advise that Roy Morgan data confirms 90% of Boomers have used the internet in last 7 days, which is on par with the population. However only 72% of Seniors have and they are 23% less likely than the population to have done so.

So for another few years, more mediums than just digital need to be considered.

In summary, we welcome this flourish of interest in the mature media market, we hope it continues and advertiser interest spreads wider than just aged-based products and services.

The secret to making the investment work in the 50+ market remains having a deeper understanding of what really motivates the audience based on life stages and events (not just age). It is paramount that media and creative insights work as one strategy.

*Nielsen, 2013-2016


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