The Future of Marketing – taking care of the Needs, Wants and Desires of 150 Year Olds

So, you think that the future of marketing is nothing but digital? Also, that artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and social media marketing are the big trends? Maybe for now they are, but the future of marketing is about a century and a half away. At that time, marketing will also be about satisfying the needs, wants and desires of 150 year olds…

Of course you should think by now I’m busy losing my marbles! I mean – we’ll be considered fortunate (or unfortunate for some) if we reach our 100th birthday. However, Jeff Glor reporting for CBS, recently suggests that some of the babies that are born today may well live to enjoy their 150th birthday.

To illustrate: In 1850, the average human lifespan was 43 years. Now it’s closer to 80. Indeed, the mortality of older populations has sharply decreased during recent years in most western countries 1. But what is the highest that our lifespan can go?

In fact, the longevity record is held by Jeanne Calment of France, who was 122 years old when she died in 1997…

How can we reach the age of 150 years old?

It will be a complicated and an expensive endeavor – and it is work in progress.

Therefore the most recent advice how to reach 150 years (or older), is to live long enough to enjoy the latest breakthroughs and discoveries in that regard. Amazingly, some of the ground-breaking research is happening right now. It’s like science fiction becoming a reality…

Scientists are making huge strides: growing new organs from adult human stem cells, creating body parts with 3-D printers, and the “holy grail” of biological engineering: using gene therapy to successfully treat diseases like hereditary blindness and leukaemia, says Jeff Glor for CBS NEWS.

So, if you’re rich enough to afford the doctors, scientists and technologists, and you’re not afraid to be the first using the latest innovations and devices: then maybe you’ll live longer. Apart from science and biological engineering, changes in your lifestyle can also add a couple of years to your age.

And now the marketers must start recognizing the 150 year olds as potential customers…

The 150 year old age cohort may be the future of marketing

Unfortunately there aren’t case studies regarding marketers targeting the 150 year old cohorts. Therefore this is a future scenario:

It is 200 years from now. In fact this is the year 2219…

Hio Ho (fictional name), the marketing manager of “For Ever Life Insurers” (fictional company) is busy to devise a strategy to get the 150 year olds to keep on paying their life policy premiums. The latest sales results showed that customers that are 150 years or older increasingly cancel their life insurance policies. The trend is a threat for Ever Life Insurers because more than half of its customers are older than 150.

Hio has done a quick survey with the 150 year olds. Most of the respondents said they’d stopped paying their premiums to rather spend the cash on the drugs and devices that will continue to keep them alive. The 150 year olds think they are invincible…

How will the insurance company convince the 150 years old cohort that a life policy is still relevant today? Maybe Hio should leave the problem for his younger colleagues to solve. After all, Hio, is now 119 years old, and will be retiring next year…

Indeed, to address the needs, wants and desires of 150 year olds will probably (or equally) require new innovations and devices for marketers to use…

The needs, wants and desires of 150 year olds

Now we’re back in the present – 2019.

The thing is when marketers target the old age cohorts, the segments are mostly unattractive. For example, how successful will they comprehend marketing messages? After all, sensory and cognitive abilities, such as hearing, vision, sense of balance, attention, and memory, all decline in the course of adult life and, to an increasing degree, in older years 2.

But, as was mentioned earlier, science and technology may help older people to live a longer and more comfortable life. So, instead of the waiting to die, the 100 years or older cohorts will eagerly welcome the latest discoveries and technology that will prolong their life with the greatest comfort…

The future of marketing thus…

So what on earth will the 100 years or older cohort pay for?

  • Comfort? – no pain, a better quality of life;
  • Entertainment? – something to smile about;
  • Company? – Who wants to be alone getting older?

They will probably pay for all of it…

Concluding

Getting old is not for sissies. Indeed, some say it is a slow, painful torture to death. And most of us won’t be spared…

However, with all the new discoveries, new technologies and advances in bio-science we can get older painlessly. That’s if you’ve got money to spend!

After all of this, marketers need to spend more time finding out how to satisfy the needs, wants and desires of the very old age cohorts. This is the future of marketing – because, people are getting much older in developed societies.

Lastly, I’ll be too damned scared to reach 100 – yes, I’m a sissie.

Further reading: Demographic Segmentation – Dividing the Market by Generations 

A Marketing Plan helps you to communicate the right content to the right audience.

Zager And Evans – In The Year 2525

Notes

1 Lyyra, T.M. 2006. Predictors of mortality in old age: contribution of self-rated health, physical functions, life satisfaction and social support on survival among older people, (No. 119). University of Jyväskylä.

2 Nehmer, J., Lindenberger, U. and Steinhagen-Thiessen, E. 2010. Aging and Technology – Friends, not Foes, GeroPsych, 23(2): 55–57.

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Douw G Steyn

Douw G Steyn

Management consultant, blog writer, dreamer

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