Posted 10 November 2014

Is the 50+ group a priority for brands and marketers? Our research suggests it is.


Every 40 seconds in the UK, someone is turning 50 – and there are now 22m people in the UK aged 50 and over – a huge third of the population. Therefore, the 50+ group should be a top priority for brands and marketers. As younger groups struggle to make time for leisure due to an active professional life or family responsibilities, the 50+ have both the luxury of time and resource; as they control 89% of all disposable wealth in the UK.

The 50+ age group deal with many changes at this stage in their lives including children fleeing the nest, fluctuating financial situations and health concerns. As such financial patterns change, for example, they may downsize to a smaller home, invest in a dream car or upgrade to a comprehensive health insurance scheme. This is where huge opportunities arise for a range of brands.

Great opportunities are being missed by brands when they make assumptions about who the 50+ are, and what they want.: a common misconception is that the 50+ age group aren’t tech savvy and prioritise in-store shopping for example, but there is so much more data to consider about this age group today and how they vary from their counterparts 15 years ago.

Let’s imagine that a retired couple is looking to book a holiday for next summer: they will conduct extensive research on a high number of different channels; search engines, forums, face-to-face or use Facebook discussions with family and friends, holiday agency visits and so on.

During that search process and especially for high-value purchases such as holidays, we found that 58% of the age group do value speaking to a well-informed advisor on the phone, in order to make sure they have the correct information. Even the most connected ones of the 50+, who claim to do all their research online value the effects of the human voice, with 37% of them recognizing that a call gives them that extra assurance about what they want, as well as improving their brand experience.

With 8 out of 10 baby boomer couples earning more money in retirement than when they were professionally active, they can and are looking for quality services. When a retired couple look for information online, giving them the option to call directly is of huge benefit to a company, as 48% of the 50+ group confirm that speaking to someone on the phone helps them in their decision-making process.

Now, what are the things that matter for this group when on the phone?

While younger consumers prioritise a quick and hassle free phone call, it is no surprise that only 3% of the 50+ group want a quick call. They care about quality rather than quantity or speed: they take as much time as needed to find the answers to their questions, and 66% of them value talking to a local person rather than to someone based abroad. Regarding the person they are talking to, 80% of the 50+ group do expect to be put through to a well-informed person on the other end of the line, whilst being passed from pillar to post is seen as a let down for 64% of them.

Being able to understand this groups expectations is a considerable advantage for the companies interested in going further than the marketing stereotypes, as they do value the power of the human voice, 72% of them affirm that speaking with an operator who is well-informed, helpful and who deals with the call as they expect them to offers peace of mind and confidence in the fact that they are making the right purchase. Additionally, if this operator is someone they can relate to, close to one-third confirm that it will speed up the decision-making process.

Voice is the key to build a loyal brand relationship with the 50+ and all stereotypes should be left behind when interacting with them. You can read our full whitepaper here to find out more about how voice is the new relationship milestone.

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