How brands should appeal to the wallets of the wealthy

March 12, 2014, 9:33 AM GMT+0

YouGov CEO, Stephan Shakespeare, on why marketers must target the over-45 age group.

Youth-obsessed marketers are barking up the wrong tree, and the over-45 crowd is the real consumer goldmine, according to a new study named Generation Wealth.

The principal mistake that marketers have made in the past is deciding to treat the over-45s differently from other potential customers, according to the research published by YouGov and Immediate Media Co.

Having lived through the cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 70s, as well as the ongoing shift towards a knowledge-based economy, these people tend to be highly tech savvy, very open to trying new brands and willing to pay more for quality.

A more sage approach for marketers trying to connect with this group is ensuring that their advertising is age neutral, and therefore does not exclude or ghettoise this generation. Brands should also focus on the values that tend to appeal to Generation Wealth, such as personalisation, great service, reliability, and beautiful design.

Our study divides Generation Wealth into several groups. For instance, the “Fit and Financially Astute” group, equal to 1.4m Britons, tends to be between 55 and 64 years old, heavily male (68 per cent), and a majority, or 53 per cent, are still working full time.

Their favourite brands include Land Rover and Apple, but they are more interested in useful features than brand identity. This means reviews in trusted newspapers and magazines are the way to their wallets, while traditional advertising is going to be less effective.

Then we have the “Contented Consumers” group, made up of 1.6m adults who are typically women (59 per cent) in their late fifties and early sixties, many of whom are retired.

These people are typically keen shoppers, particularly in terms of clothes, and their preferred brands include Zara, John Lewis and Uniqlo.

Marketers looking to sell to this group would do well to focus on glossy magazines, offer their customers promotions and discounts and consider hiring Kirstie Allsopp as a spokesperson.

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 30 per cent of Britons are over the age of 50, and they control a whopping 80 per cent of the wealth. Brands that end up alienating or ignoring this group do so at their peril.

This article orginally appeared in City A.M.