Email marketers have, for awhile now, virtually ignored grandparents and the elderly. Why? Based on the simple theory that older people do not know how to operate modern technology that well, it would be hard to target them via email marketing. Seniors are often overlooked because marketers assume that they are too rooted in their old ways and have not learned new technology enough in order to be considered technologically savvy or marketable via the internet. I’m sure a majority of us have received a phone call from our grandparents asking about “this thingy” on their computer that they don’t know how to use. However, recent news has surfaced that suggests your grandparents may be a little more adaptable than you think, especially when the technology has relevant use for them.
The first thing we know about grandparents is that they LOVE their grandchildren. They love to spoil them, talk to them, keep in touch with them, see how they are doing, and hear what they’ve been up to lately. So logically, any technology that allows them to do this they will want to learn how to use, right? Well, according to a recent survey, 40% of grandparents say they support their grandchildren with everything from food to clothing. It’s also important to note that households with grandparents spend 4.4% more than any other type of household. This is a growing segment of the population and senior numbers in the United States are expected to grow significantly over the next few years, rising 11% by 2015. So now we know grandparents love to keep in touch with their kids, they spend more money than anyone else, and this is a growing demographic!
Now for the surprises. Think, when a new baby is born, the parents usually get online and look for information and bargains regarding the newborn. However, the grandparents are also doing this and evidence has pointed to grandparents going on email binges not just when newborns come into the family, but any time! Think about how grandparents love to buy things for their grandchildren. No, an elderly person is probably not going to want that new iPod, iPhone, or tablet that’s just been released to the public. They’re probably not going to want the new shoe that’s all the rage, or that new game system either, but their grandkids will. Marketers need to take note of the fact that email and the internet has replaced the usual catalogs kids would give their grandparents for Christmas and any other time of the year for them to buy. Email is easily the most popular medium for grandparents to communicate through, and marketers now have to realize that an awesome opportunity is sitting right in front of them! Where else are you going to be able to find so many people with disposable income and are motivated buyers?!
It’s easy to forget that this older demographic makes just as many purchases for others as they do for themselves. Now, with today’s technology, little Johnny can send Grandma that link to that toy he wants so desperately for his birthday instead of sorting through catalogs to find it. So email marketing should not just be something you are targeting at the younger and middle aged generation, but also to the oldest generation too! If you put content into your email marketing that appeals to the older generation you will be opening yourself up to a completely new flow of cash and revenue. You will undoubtedly find new marketing potential by providing content and resources that appeal to older consumers who make purchases for younger consumers.
To do this, you’ll want to educate them on products they may not be familiar with, answer frequently asked questions, and answer questions you would expect a grandparent to ask. You could even get creative by offering them excuses to offer parents who don’t like grandparents spoiling their children. The potential is unlimited! So stop ignoring the oldest population, take advantage of the demographic that is most willing to spend its money, and laugh your way to the bank!