Secret to Better Messaging to Older Consumers: Understanding the Intervening Factors

Ageless Marketing has been the traditional marketing adage when communicating to older consumers.  This concept states that marketing approaches should not acknowledge age to avoid offending older consumers or alienating younger ones.


Therefore, to avoid being ageist, the term “ageless” is used instead. But in those attempts to be ageless, age is devalued: the savviness, the maturity, and the wisdom of this older consumer is ignored. An Ageless Marketing approach states that years of living don’t matter. It implies marketers can talk to everyone the same. In a marketing world where segmenting, one-to-one messaging, and data-driven communications are the norm, it seems impossible to continue to be relevant with Ageless Marketing as the solution.


I want to be clear that I not against the term “Ageless.” it is an excellent way to describe that age is not a restriction for doing, interacting, or engaging in life. But, to leverage it to communicate how products and services will be solutions for these consumers is missing a big part of how to authentically understand them. 


In my experience in marketing numerous products and services to these consumers, a few key factors always came into consideration. At the core, age and demographics need to be considered. Next, consider their cohort. Many marketers stop there by only using milestones and stereotypes of the cohort to resonate with a specific group. How many times have “hippies” been the focal point to target Baby Boomers?


At BrandMETTLE, we have defined these as the Eight Intervening Factors for Marketing to Older Consumers. They are:



The Mature Brain


Physical Health

Emotional State

Life Events

Social Norms

Cohort Influences


Over the next few months on this blog, we will be breaking down each of these factors, explaining the science and research behind them, and discussing why they are relevant to your business.  We will share how to put them into practice in your messaging to this consumer group.


The Mature Brain: It’s A Changing Brain Not a Declining Brain

Coming at the end of July


The first 90-days

One of the best books I’ve read (multiple times, in fact) is Michael Watkins’ The First 90 Days.  It is a thoughtful guide for leaders beginning new roles or taking on new assignments.  One of his more important suggestions is that you should take the appropriate amount of time to let it all sink in before taking action.  In other words, take the time to listen and observe.


You might recall that we started BrandMETTLE because our target audience – the 50+ experienced consumer – wasn’t being heard. And just as important, we observed that too many marketers’ needs weren’t being met by their agency partners.


Therefore, Amy and I committed to following Mr. Watkins’ guidance when we launched BrandMETTLE. In fact, most of our initial meetings with clients, valued colleagues, and strategic partners involved listening for challenges rather than just talking about our solutions.


Indeed, we had a vision for what we wanted to bring to the industry, but, refreshingly, we weren’t encumbered by existing talent, traditional processes, or old technology. Of course, starting from a blank slate meant hitting the ground running to serve clients and build out solutions, so we simultaneously assessed the opportunities while focusing on our strengths – customer insight, branding, and technology. 


Throughout our first few months, we’ve been observing how the market is responding to the totality of our promise as well as the individual components of our offering. While not surprised, I think we may have underestimated the need for excellence within some of the categories we serve:

1.      The desire for proven, effective branding strategy and process

2.      The mandate for effective, new, and innovative technology

3.      Authentic depth of understanding and passion for this consumer market


The great news is that our collective strengths align perfectly to the greatest needs in the market.


While the learnings have been consistent, so, too, have been the questions.  Many of you recognize the need to focus on this consumer and the significance of their contribution to your brand, but express uncertainty on where to begin or how to approach. Additionally, many of you have inquired how to get greater visibility into the effectiveness of marketing initiatives and greater control over how efficiently they get done.


We heard you.  That’s why we have developed a clear and simple brand strategy process, supported by an understanding of key intervening factors of our target audience.  And then providing every one of our clients, across a variety of industries, the visibility and transparency into their marketing efforts.



One final note.  We have been encouraged and excited by the response of the market to our new offering. Not only do we have new and potential clients entrusting us with their brands, but the talent throughout the industry wanting to be a part of BrandMETTLE is overwhelming.  And, most importantly, from those experienced consumers who fall into this target audience – all of whom have expressed that our offering is one for whose time has come, thanks to all of you!  


We are very excited and ready to uniquely serve you! 


Welcome to Our Blog:  METTLE IQ

This blog will discuss new ideas, evolution of aging theory, plus application in everyday marketing to older consumers, a.k.a. experienced ones. But before, we start down that path... Let’s back up–why BrandMettle?

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