• Targeting your campaign using age alone May 2, 2019
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    I have a neighbour who is 67. He’s grey-haired, a bit overweight and is often seen pushing his youngest grandchild around in a wheelchair. This year he will drive in a motor race for the first time. He says that he’s not your typical grandad, but then, no one is.

    We use many ways to classify subscribers to our email marketing lists but working out what emphasis to put on each aspect is the difficult bit. We often see it done poorly on TV and in newspapers, with people being described by age. ‘Over 50’ is one that is bewilderingly common. It is as if there’s a cliff people fall off at that age.

    It can be a useful demographic, but Age is a crude brush. We are told that the over 50s have greater disposable income than millennials, some putting it at three times that of those half their age. We also read that due to later marriages and easier divorces, many 50 year olds have young families. So which email marketing campaign for your over 50s: the camping holiday or Verona for a long weekend?

    One point we can be clear on is that only using a date of birth to target an email marketing campaign is a waste of time. Both Marylin Manson and the ex-Coventry flanker Neil Back were born in 1969. Other than age, and that both would make fascinating dinner guests, I doubt there’s an email marketing template that would appeal to both.

    We can guess at some things they have in common. For instance, many people approaching 50 do not want to be reminded of their age and might not appreciate being bombarded by marketing emails for funeral plans. The other killer mistake is to patronise. It’s as bad as shouting at over 60s because the assumption is they’re hard of hearing.

    I have to confess to being seduced by ISA ads. This is not because of my age so much as that I have, at last, a little disposable income. Not much, but I am concerned about my future security. Perhaps it is my age. Which all goes to show that, except in exceptional circumstances, you should not use one single demographic to define your segmented email marketing list.

    You might well be wondering if there is any need to use the classification of middle age in email marketing. It is clear that there is nothing unique about any one adult age range. Microsoft prefers to use adoption of technology as a way of differentiating their customers. Whether this is a sensible option for you, only you can say.

    Age is not the differentiator it used to be. I can say that as an older person. The historical social pressures to conform are, thankfully, all but gone. Further, online technology is open to all and this makes available all sorts of opportunities. When going for a long drive, I plug my MP3 player into the car radio in order to listen to Mark Knopfler and Ava Max.

    Age is of little use in email marketing.

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