GROWING OLD: NEW LIFE, NEWER OPPORTUNITIES What is it that one wants when he starts trying to find a new
meaning to life? W hen he grows out of things he has always been doing, he thought that he always w anted to do? At the age of around 45-46, the way people evaluate themselves, the ir self esteem, their priorities, the way they view life becomes different. Wher e some start making sense of the world around them, others loose the meaning of it. This is the time the self doubts start arising as a result of passing of you th and imminence of old age. The triggers can be numerous: hormonal changes, une mployment or underemployment, death of parents and resultant grief, children lea ving home etc. This self doubt may then manifest as a desire to make significant changes to life, example change in career, marriage, romantic relationships, an d physical appearances. So, basically, a marketer is presented with a class of people who are sensitive but at the same time ready to experience and experiment with new things. This si tuation presents to him a plethora of opportunities as well as poses challenges in terms of trying to understand “What exactly is that these people want?” . Segmentation The opportunities exist because of the differences in the way people perceive th eir situations. While some want to pursue a goal that they always wanted to, oth ers just want to search for a goal itself. Some want to spend time with themselv es, some pay special attention to physical appearances, whereas others want to e xplore new relationships. The way they behave is also a function of their Gender, Occupation/Income Class, Previous Experiences, and Marital Status etc. So, these can be used to segment this class of people so as to present them with appropriate options. Some of the Product/Services that can be successfully offered to this class of p eople can be: 1. Healthcare/Fitness Services: A lot of uncertainty in middle aged men and women is due to their physical appearances. This presents a chance to market to them Fitness Equipments (mostly to the higher income group), gymnasium membersh ips, sports club memberships etc. Positioning has to be done In a manner that it doesn’t give a feeling that they ha ve to take these up because there is something wrong with them or there is some flaw. Rather importance should be given to “taking care” of themselves, results backed by scientific evidence of what potential health benefits they can derive. Text on how to be fit can also be marketed successfully. 2. Beauty Care Products/Spas: A lot of anxiety, especially in women, is due to loss of youthfulness, change in skin texture, skin tones etc with the increa sing age. They may be accomplished and successful but looking good Is something that every women wants (more often than not, even men). It is definitely a confi dence booster. Also with a lifestyle that just doesn’t show any signs of slowing d own, the need for rejuvenation is gaining importance so that the quality oflife and work doesn’t deteriorate.. Positioning should be done in a way that the benefits are seen as means of “self a ppreciation” For Promotions, it is imperative that women feel they are doing it for themselve s and not for others. Also using young models doesn’t work for all the women as th at might make them feel inadequate, so care should be taken to spread the messag e by someone who Middle aged Women can relate to. 3. Non-Profit Ventures: The Accomplished, successful and financially stable usually realize by now that they have achieved quite a bit, they are no more dr iven by just the goal to prove themselves. This is the time they think or can be motivated to think that it is a time to give back to the society. They derive p leasure by the thought that they are doing something for the very world that has enabled them to achieve. These feelings can be triggered by gratitude, guilt or just a need for closure. It therefore makes sense to market to them NGOs, the activities they do, the pro
jects they are involved in. They can range from working for the empowerment of w omen, children, betterment of a state or region depending on what the person bes t relates to. 4. Start-Ups/Entrepreneurship: By this time in the life, people are done wi th pursuing what situations made them to. Though family and societal pressures m ay still exist but at the same time there is an urge of doing something that the y have always wanted to do. There is a need to be your own boss, to not be super vised and to invest and build something that has always been close to their hear ts. Many people by this age are in search of second careers, careers which they can derive some meaning out of, that enable them to make a difference. Also there ca n be cases where women left their careers because of motherhood and now that the children are well established and settled in life, they would want to do someth ing by which they can prove their professional credentials. Also as longevity and healthcare services increase, the productivity at relative ly older age increases, so does the scope of pursuing something that one has nev er done before So, Entrepreneurship workshops, Helping build up and investing in start ups can be offered. These can be positioned such that people derive the benefit of doing something t hat they had always dreamt of, the satisfaction they would derive out of it and the joy of working for themselves. 5. Real estate: Need for a hideout, a place to relax, rejuvenate or simply a change or beak from monotony can trigger middle aged people to search for a pl ace which can satisfy these objectives. Also the facility and ease of working f rom Home compels people to look for houses which they find more comfortable, inv iting and soothing. House hunting may also be triggered due to expanding families and need for more space. This is an opportunity for all the property developers as they can target this g roup with all comforts example societies/townships with gyms, parks, sports faci lities, multiplexes, etc. and also the other extreme that can be targeted with s erene environment, calm and relatively leisurely localities. 6. Luxury Goods: The need to confirm and yet to be unique is a contradictio n that this class of people is well acquainted with. They want to buy luxurious, high vale stuff like their peers own but at the same time they want their stuff to be different, unique. This group forms a major target group for all the Jimm y Choos, Guccis, Louis Vuittons and Mercs etc. The target market for these are a gain achievers who have accomplished much in life and take pleasure in being dif ferent from the crowd. These goods can range from motorbikes, to cars, yachts, clothing, jewelry, gadge ts, tattoos, piercings etc. The best way to position these goods/services is to customize them or to design them in a way that it defines or stands for the values of the owner. They should reflect their achievements, their differences from others, their sta tus and most importantly their identity. So it is important that the brand image has congruency with their self concept, and it arouses the appropriate feelings . An appropriate means of communication would be to tell them how they Deserve the Brand and how it makes them elite. Case in point would be L’Oreal’s “coz you’re worth i t” campaign. 7. Tourism: Midlife crisis is accompanied by an urge to break free of all t he predicaments, experience new things to find out what exactly a person wants a nd to take a break from the clutter. There are those who want to take up medical tourism for the purpose of healing b oth physically and mentally and then there are those who seek adventure, religio
us reasons, romance or just to break away from monotony. Though tourism is something that provides intangible benefits, it needs to be po sitioned as something with tangible outcomes. The Hotel room, the beach, the mea ls and the mountains are not what a tourist is really looking for. What they are really looking for are experiences. So it is imperative to understand what is important to target market, how they p erceive a particular destination, how they perceive a competing destination and what all attributes should a destination use to differentiate itself and deliver the underlying value that a tourist is looking for. The destination should have a pull, something that offers them exactly what they have been looking for, or what they didn’t even know that they have been looking for. For example, a destination that has to be promoted as an adventure tourism desti nation has to have an image of being unexplored, remote exotic or even hostile e g. Africa 8. Matrimony: It is a phenomenal marketing opportunity targeting singles an d divorced looking for companionship, love and commitment. Being single at this age can lead to loneliness taking full blown proportions. It is at this time tha t people start looking out for companionship, especially if they are not left wi th much to achieve otherwise. It is an opportunity for everyone involved in the wedding industry, from matchma kers, bridal consultants, florist, and caterer to the wedding photographer. But before positioning it is important to understand the marriage psychology of these people, it is imperative to find out what held them back for so long, or t he reasons for divorce and then positioning in a way that can convey to them the benefits. The matrimony marketing strategy can be promoted by stressing on the stability i t offers, how it solidifies love and commitment, by sharing photographs, videos and experiences of long-married couples. It is important abate the anxiety and apprehensions these people might have abou t being able to handle relationships this late in life. 9. Motivational talks/Speakers: Finally the most important of all: the role of an advisor, a person who can make them understand the turmoil they are going through, who can help them find problems and subsequently solutions to those pr oblems. Usually people are apprehensive about talking about their deepest fears, their apprehensions, and confusions to their friends, family members and even t heir spouse. And even if they do talk about it, there can be lack of understandi ng of the root cause and subsequent solutions offered. In such a scenario, people lookout for people who can help them understand their current situation and means for tackling them, who can help them handle stress, suggest ways to overcome anxiety and thus deal with situations. This itself is an opportunity for the swamis and the likes who offer courses lik e Art of Living, Catharsis etc. They need to have proven credentials and also should be a pleasant mix of being friendly but not probing too probing into the personal lives and at the same tim e not too impersonal. These opportunities and others just go on to show how a stage in life itself can act as avenues to explore for marketers. How understanding finer nuances of beh avior exhibited at a particular age can help them exploit business situations an d accordingly develop marketing strategies. Growing old brings its own problems, confusions, desires and passions. For any marketer the importance developing a nd providing solutions to these cannot be overemphasized.