Marketing that isn’t about Millennials

Marketers are obsessed with youth. And none more so it seems than marketers at outdoor leisure brands.

So, when our client Rohan wanted to appeal to a younger audience, we thought long and hard about the implications.

There was compelling evidence to support the brief. The average customer age was steadily increasing from 58–62 over a 5 year period. A great indication of client loyalty, less positive for business longevity.

But on wider investigation, the brief started to look a little too simplistic. Consider the following insights from our initial research phase:

  • Spending by over 50’s now accounts for 50% of all consumer spending in the UK. That’s £320bn.
  • But just 5% of total ad spend targets those aged 50 or over. And most of that is on the ‘dreary necessities’ of ageing — dentures, stair lifts, funeral plans and walk-in baths
  • Men over 50 are most likely to agree that “what I want most is to be fit and active”
  • They’re also the fastest growing segment of entrants in the London Marathon. Which might help explain why they buy more trainers than any other segment, too.
  • Women over 50 spend more on beauty products than anyone else
  • And as one lady we interviewed outside a Rohan store put it — “the last thing you want to be at my age is beige.”

As Protein Journal’s “The Age Report” reported:

“Coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s, then living through the punk, yuppie and dotcom years, Boomers have an adventurous spirit. And they’re rewriting the rules of ageing.”

Reflecting this, we discovered a new wave of media featuring thriving and adventurous boomers with age-positive stories.

This didn’t only better reflect the lives and behaviours of Rohan’s ‘homeland’ customers, it was a savvy positioning move too. Competitor density — direct and in-direct — for customers over 50 is incredibly low — not something that can be said for those targeting younger age groups. A fact best reflected in Mintel’s finding that “Over 50’s feel overlooked by the High Street”. Or as we started to put it, if you’re over 50 and don’t want to shop at M&S, where do you go?

Along with a renewed brand purpose — “to inspire and inform a lifetime of journeys” — we encouraged Rohan to make heroes of their customers, and empower them to share their stories of a “lifetime of journeys”.

To drive new customer acquisition, we studied what our target customers do when they’re not busy bucket-listing their way round the far flung corners of the world.

35–54 year olds had the fastest growing rate of social media adoption, and 45–64 year olds are the fastest growing segments for internet purchases.

More specifically, 45–54 year olds were the fastest growing segment for “using the internet to research travel and travel related accommodation” and the second fastest growing segment for “using the internet to find information about goods and services” (second only to 35–44 year olds…)

It became apparent that for our target customers, the internet was being used more to ‘do’ something than for entertainment. So whilst customer stories are interesting, they had to be part of an online customer journey that was fundamentally useful and helpful. A subtle shift of the brand purpose was required — improve journeys first, then inspire them.

But it was the ways in which we drove customers to the website that arguably provided the biggest surprises — and certainly the greatest ROI.

Find out more about what we did to achieve that here.

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