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Another way to segment the market is rate of use. This consists of using statistics to find out how often costumers actually buy a product. This is particularly useful in the Grey Market as a perception still exists that older consumers spend less on products than their younger counterparts despite this not being the case Hutton When marketing a product to this age group there are many things to consider and in most cases the best approach for companies will either be to conduct differentiated marketing or concentrated marketing Kohlbacher and Herstatt Differentiated marketing consists of targeting numerous segments and implementing a different marketing approach for each segment.
Given the unique demands of segments of the Silver Market the most beneficial approach may be concentrated marketing, where the company solely focuses on one particular market Unerman When the process of segmentation and target marketing has been completed it is then very important for companies to position the good so it has a perceived added value. It emphasises the fact that a good needs to be positioned so that it has a unique selling point. What is important is that no one type of segmentation will be correct in every case.
Companies have to be smart in choosing the type of segmentation they use and in the large majority of cases there should be a mix of segmentation strategies. From the work covered in both Section 1 and Section 2 one can now appreciate the importance of the Grey Market and the potential profits that exist for a company who can market successfully to this age group.
However this is not as simple as it sounds and there are a lot of important variables which have to be considered. These shall now be examined.
The first consideration to take into account is that older people feel younger than they actually are Klumb Therefore they will not buy products that are positioned as being for elderly people or goods that make them feel old Klumb , Kohlbacher and Herstatt This leads to a paradox that consumers want goods that are easy to use but do not want to be treated as being old. Products that will be successful in the Grey Market need to be marketed so that they make little reference to the age of the customers they are targeting while also making sure that the good is extremely accessible when it comes to actually purchasing it.
Volkswagen has developed a car which is specifically tailored towards the Grey Market called the Golf Plus. The special features in the car that are tailored for this age group are that the car has raised seats and is particularly spacious.
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Volkswagen has marketed this car extremely well. Although older people are the target market the car has been advertised in an age-neutral way This approach is supported by Dick Stroud who believes that the future marketing of products must take no account of age. To expand on this idea, Stroud explains that the theory behind successful marketing must remain in place but without the assumptions and stereotypes that are commonly associated with older people Stroud Something else that Volkswagen has done very well when marketing the Golf Plus is humour.
Often advertisements targeting older people are serious but older people do not lose their sense of humour once they pass a certain age. Indeed an argument has been put forward that older people appreciate humour more than their younger counterparts and are more likely to remember these products Hutton Iain Murray argues that the majority of humour in advertisements is juvenile and this needs to be tailored better to an older market Murray This is something that Volkswagen has also taken in account in their marketing of the Golf Plus.
Another variable that businesses need to take into account is the danger of under-marketing, that is not leaving enough time to attract the consumers that need to be targeted Thornton In the case of the Grey Market a good example to use is holidays. A large percentage of the age group travel frequently, be it to enjoy a holiday, see the world before they are unable to do so or visit children abroad.
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It is likely that they will already have a preferred travel agent before they turn 55 and therefore these companies need to spend a percentage of the marketing budget on potential consumers who are not be in the targeted age bracket yet Thornton The potential of this particular area is supported by numbers that show more than six million people over the age of 50 would use the internet to pay for holidays in Glover and one would presume that number has increased since. While discussing possible ways to segment the market both health and wealth were put forward as possible suggestions Pages In general, healthcare is something that older people are more aware of and companies use this knowledge to help maximise their profits.
A prime example of this approach is Vivas Health who used age to formulate price plans for their healthcare offerings Domegan and Fleming They offered five different levels with the highest price plan aimed at older customers who want comprehensive cover and this strategy proved successful Domegan and Fleming In this case Vivas actually segmented the Grey Market by wealth despite healthcare being the core of their business. Old people who are poor would be unable to avail of this service if they wanted it. From this we can see that the service was targeted at wealthier old people, regardless of their health.
In the analysis in Section 1 of this essay the potential importance of the internet in marketing to the Grey Market in the future was briefly discussed Page 7 and this is something which shall now be analysed in greater detail.
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The explosion of social networks in the last few years is something that companies should aim to exploit but some have been more responsive than others in this regard. A common mistake that many organisations make is to assume that sites like Facebook are exclusive to a certain demographic and that people over a certain age cannot be targeted through a medium like this. As long as websites are easy to use and understand for older people then this is not the case Stroud This false perception regarding older people and their internet use has been challenged by figures that prove people of all ages are now engaging in activities like sharing opinions, searching for reviews of products and services or purchasing holidays Sicot Extensive research in this area shows that a large percentage of the Grey Market are now extremely comfortable using the internet Greenwood In Ireland Facebook has up to , unique users in a day Sicot To put that in context only one television show in the country, The Late Late Show, has more viewers Sicot It can also be extremely beneficial for the company as costs are relatively low Jamail in an area which has huge potential for expansion.
Indeed it has been argued that online marketing may capture the attention of an older audience better than a younger one. The theory behind this is that older people have seen all types of traditional advertising frequently and are less receptive to this than a younger demographic Unerman The main purpose of advertising is to increase awareness and the use of online advertising in targeting the grey market is something that companies may have to conduct in-depth research into.
Indeed social networking may not even be the most profitable way for companies to market online in the future. That honour may yet belong to web video. Sites like YouTube are considered exclusive to younger generations by many, in the same way that Facebook is also perceived, but the following table, exclusive to US internet users, indicates that this is a misconception:.
Hopefully some of the facts stated above may be used to help alter the existing perceptions.
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The importance of making this technology accessible to older generations has already been stated and if this is to become reality then the internet will have an extremely important position for marketers who focus on the Grey Market. Although this approach can be successful companies also have to be very precise with their segmentation as there is still a high percentage of old people who would be completely unaffected by this medium. In conclusion it is important for companies to realise the vast scope of the grey market. There are many variables throughout the market and this age group posses vastly different education levels, wealth, beliefs and wants.