Continue Reading #3 Mature Marketing – "Gateway to Experience" & "Legacy"" />

#3 Mature Marketing – "Gateway to Experience" & "Legacy"

by Louis on January 19, 2009

These boomer marketing keys are about the lifestage psyche of the mature consumer. Matters of the spirit, personal growth, family and legacy are subtle but important motivators. These relate to Maslow’s pyramid about which I wrote in a previous entry.

From the pyramid we expect mature consumers to have different, higher level, concerns than younger consumers. The first two or three levels should be satisfied by middle age, where boomers are now. Even the esteem issues are mostly resolved. That means our mature clients are more motivated by personal issues. The client may not be ‘aware’ of their desires in the conventional sense. You know when you are hungry or full, cold or warm, wet or dry. But once you are secure in these basics as well as your career, family, and self esteem it is harder to pinpoint desire.

Wolfe’s ‘Gateway to Experience‘ speaks to the ‘inner mind’s eye’. Every one’s is so personal and different that no picture will ever get it right. Fulfilling an unspecified desire is best left to each consumer’s imagination. Advertisements show folks who look happy and content. Happy and content is what they are selling. A consumer who sees themselves in an advertisement is free to associate their own image of happiness. The product is personal fulfillment. Advertisers cannot get it right and consumers cannot get it wrong.

This is subtle. The gateway to experience is about enhancing life in terms visible in the individual client’s mind’s eye, not the specific qualities of the product. A quiet dishwasher is about serenity in your home. A soaking tub is about a spa-like experience at home. Even if your life is noisy and chaotic the quiet and the spa help the purchaser feel the potential that these desires may be met. Satisfaction is gained from a purchase bringing the potential closer.

Who operates in this space? Personal cosmetics and spas, travel, active adult housing. In the cruise industry, for example, it is about dancing on deck – a lifestyle activity – not the length of the boat.

The one I know best, active adult housing is instructive. (contrast to Pulte Homes, Del Webb’s parent company) Advertisements don’t show foundation details or speak about construction quality. The product is the potential for personal fulfillment and human connection, not shelter. Shelter is too low on Maslow’s pyramid for the targeted age 55+ consumers. The sale is about lifestyle, not houses. Lifestyle is the community and amenities. The social and physical activity center is value. You don’t need to golf to select the premium lot on the golf course. Proximity affords time. Having the potential nearby is worth the cost.

‘Legacy’ also comes from high on Maslow’s pyramid. Mature consumers, once lower needs are filled and if they move to higher thought, are free to take pleasure in worrying about issues outside themselves. This is grandchildren and less personal concerns such as the planet and those who are less fortunate. The best products are those that allow the consumer to have their cake and eat it too. A product the client wants that once purchased also contributes to the larger and greater good is ideal. Green/Sustainable products work. They provide value beyond your own needs and years. The benefit is larger than yourself. Donations coupled to purchase are nearly as good. We see this in lots of marketing.

Legacy Leadership, Civic Ventures and other organizations are in the whirlwind of a movement to harness the social capital of older citizens. Older citizens have experience that can only be developed over time. Recognizing and approaching it with respect earns commitment. This is an important lesson for social and commercial marketing.

Too often marketers are afraid to acknowledge reality. Life stage marketing is not denial that new and often problematic things are happening and that biological age is a contributing factor. Rather it is defined by the problem-solving attitudes and aspirations mature consumers bring to the situations they face. You are on the right track if your product helps find meaning, be productive, reduce stress, make a contribution to society and relish the fully lived life.

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