4 strategies to market to an older audience

How to market to older adults
How to market to older adults

As you create advertisements that appeal to your target audiences, it's essential to keep in mind that older and younger consumers sometimes have varying preferences and will be drawn in by different strategies. Marketers with a large target audience consisting of all ages should balance different advertising approaches to cater to everyone. 

When pharma companies need to advertise a product solely to adults, they should be aware of what strategies are most efficient in catching the attention of an older generation. Here are a few ways to effectively market to older consumers.

1. Balance out the focus of general target audiences
According to the World Health Organization's "Priority medicines for Europe and the world 2013 update" report, there are more European citizens over the age of 65 than there are 15 years old or younger. This is the first time that that the number of seniors on the continent has been larger than the number of younger adults. 

The majority of marketers within the health care industry tend to focus largely on younger consumers like millennials. However, WHO's report emphasizes the importance of addressing the aging population as well. Even when marketers are targeting large, general audiences consisting of different ages, they still tend to make younger consumers more of a priority over older customers. 

"Anyone who is foolish enough to devise and operate a campaign which ignores almost half of the adult population is likely to have an ill-conceived campaign on their hands," Mark Beasley, managing director of RHC Advantage in the UK, told The Marketing Donut.

2. Take advantage of telehealth
Creating tools like wearable devices to appeal to target audiences can work for both older consumers and the younger generation. Communications firm Makovsky and research firm Kelton found that 66 percent of the general population of consumers in the U.S. would use mobile apps to manage their health.

"The other piece is that no matter what age you are, you are likely to be willing to use technology to improve your health and it doesn't matter if they're over 60 or under 30. That is essentially across the board," said Afshin Mohamadi, Kelton's vice president and managing director.

Regardless of age, consumers are looking to have more control over their health and will be pulled in by companies who can offer that. Therefore, developing mobile apps to promote brands may be an effective way to appeal to all target audiences. 

3. Make it readable
Although it's good to consider factors, such as impaired vision, that may be impacting the older consumers you're selling to while creating an ad, it's also essential to avoid patronizing your viewers. According to The Marketing Donut, research by direct marketing agency Millennium in 2008 found that 55 percent of patients over 50 years old feel that advertisers either ignore them completely or patronize them.  

While it's effective to use font in size 12 points or higher and rely on options like Times New Roman so that your messages can be read clearly, fonts that are too large or colors that are too bright may come off as patronizing to older consumers. 

4. Create emotional connections
Baby boomers didn't grow up in a digital era. It's common for members of this generation to feel most comfortable with face-to-face interactions before investing in a product. As this isn't always possible, creating emotional connections through your ads is important. Older adults aren't only looking for products that work, but medications that are tied to a brand that cares about its customers. 

Use videos of real people telling their stories to make your ads relatable and create the the human connections that many older consumers are looking for.