The sheer number of 50-plus consumers is leading tech companies to hit the delete key on many stereotypes about "older" consumers--that they're cemented in existing buying patterns, that they're
not active, or put off by anything with multiple buttons. "Any company wanting to grow their business in the next 10 years better have a strategy for marketing to those 50-plus," warns Matt Thornhill,
founder of market research company Boomer Project.
A young-at-heart attitude has helped lead many older Americans to snap up global cellphones and GPS services for travel, tap into
online job-search sites for second-career options and play video games. But juxtaposed with physical realities, it can make it hard to engage the older consumer with a single sales message.
Smart advertisers use age-related physiological changes as guidelines--such as predicted shifts in vision, hearing and mobility--but then segment consumers on lifestyle needs as well, says Bob Fell, director of strategy and planning at marketing company Varsity. For many marketers, that means serving up a range of products and backing them with multiple marketing messages.