Marketing to seniors (open and closed)

It’s common knowledge among marketers that marketing to seniors is largely a waste of time. All you need to do is look at the ads in Modern Maturity magazine compared to, say, Rolling Stone, to see what marketers believe.

The reason most believe this is because of a simple distinction: open and closed.

Open people are seeking out things that they believe will make their lives better. Experiences and products and styles that will open doors, cause growth, save time and money and increase status. All of these things are ‘go up’ events. Find people who are open and you find people you can talk to.

Closed people are trying to maintain the status quo. They are very focused on keeping things from getting worse, but they’re not particularly concerned about joining the in crowd or starting something.

For a long time, the easy way out was to believe that 18 to 34 year olds were open and seniors were closed. Web surfers are open, National Enquirer readers are closed. etc. etc.

Then the baby boom happened.

Baby boomers have been open their whole lives. And now they are seniors. So all the conventional wisdom goes out the window. Senior travel, senior fashion, senior experiences… it’s all fair game, because there’s a different demographic inhabiting that age group now.

Psychographics (open vs. closed) are way more important than demographics.