Often when I talk to marketing folks who manage more mainstream products and brands in categories that don’t normally market to older adults, I hear the same thing: “Old people are loyal to their brands and I won’t be able to get them to try my products – so why bother!”. This is often accompanied by, “I am targeting younger consumers as once I get them as a customer, they’ll be with me for life.”
Regardless of age, people in general have some brands that they are completely loyal to. There would have to be some type of life-changing moment (or an extremely bad experience) that would get them to give up the use of that product or service. High on the list would be your bank since many of us still bank with the same financial institution that we’ve been with ever since we opened up that first savings account from babysitting or delivering newspapers door-to-door (which used to be the only way to get news outside of TV and radio).
To help us understand brand loyalty and the myth that older adults are stuck in their ways and have no desire to try new things, we reached out to our friends at Age of Majority, a marketing consultancy that provides insights to companies so that they can better market to the group of consumers they call “Active Agers”.
We connected with Jeff Weiss, Age of Majority’s President and CEO (aka Chief EvAGElist Officer) to get his take on brand loyalty amongst older adults. Weiss pointed to some research they did in 2017 that indicated that over half of Active Agers are willing to try new brands and experiences.
Weiss then backed it up with more recent research conducted with their unique online insights community for Active Agers called Revolution55. This recent study reinforced those initial findings by showing that just over half of Active Agers are either entirely open to trying new things or will frequently try new brands. Weiss says that while there are a small portion (only 4%) of older adults who are Loyalists (who won’t ever switch brands), over 40% have only been loyal to 5 brands or less over the past five years.
Weiss also said that the pandemic hasn’t greatly changed Active Agers’ attitudes towards loyalty as less than 10% are less loyal now than they were before. His belief is that like many of us, boredom crept into our lives during lockdown and there was a craving to try new things, particularly in categories like home appliances, home electronics, footwear and packaged food.
To determine the motivations behind loyalty (and disloyalty), Age of Majority asked its community members, called Revolutionaries, about the motives that leads them to switch brands. The number one response was that their old brand no longer meets their needs, followed by their old brand disappointing them and wanting to try something new. Weiss is not surprised by these responses as he believes that many brands aren’t doing a good job in changing their product offerings to meet the changing needs of older consumers. One example that he sees all the time is in footwear, where stylish options are much harder to find in products that meet the varying and changing needs of our feet as we get older.
As for what keeps Active Agers loyal to the brands they love, not surprisingly it is probably similar across all age groups with product quality, good pricing and product consistently leading the way. Like it or not, this is why brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have been so popular for so long.
As for targeting younger adults and bringing them on as “customers for life”, Weiss said that this is a bigger myth since younger consumers are fickler than ever. “To think that an 18 year-old will choose a brand now and use it for the rest of their lives is unrealistic”, Weiss says, noting that many marketers believe that their brand is the exception rather than the rule.
To help us improve the Amintro social platform user experience and social outcomes for people over 50 years of age, we have teamed up with Age of Majority for an exclusive research initiative. Together we will explore innovative new features and functionalities that support social inclusion, social participation and building the community.
How can you help? As a member of the 50+ crowd, we greatly value your opinion and we hope that you will participate in a survey that will guide us on our journey. Here’s how you can participate:
- Join the Revolution55 online insights community — it’s easy to register, there is no cost to join and you can win great prizes just by providing your opinions on a wide variety of topics that will be of interest to you;
- Participate in the survey that is being sponsored by Amintro — and you will be entered into a special draw to win one of six (6) Amazon gifts cards valued at $25 each!
If you are tired of being ignored by marketers and want to voice your opinion on a wide variety of topics, we would welcome your participation in our unique online community, Revolution55, that will help break the myths and crush the stereotypes and stigmas associated with aging.