This will probably be the ONLY 2017 predictions you will see for entrepreneurs and business owners serving customers over age 50.
Why? Because people like to talk about the market and what it means, rather than the movements and essentials of being successful in it.
My 2017 predictions
So, here are the opinions of a 13+ year veteran in the aging space who serves both the senior consumer and the companies that serve them.
These are my 2017 predictions of what I think will be shaping your reality this year.
The number of customers over age 50 will grow
This one could go without saying, since it’s common sense. But, if you’re like many business owners, this one fact isn’t firmly fixed in your mind as something you are preparing for.
There are 108.7 million people over the age of 50 in the United States. (This includes 76.4 million Baby Boomers.)
How many people over the age of 50 are there in your community?
3,000? 10,000? More?
The real question, though, in terms of sustainable growth, is how many more will there be in 15 years?
Well, that an what do you plan on doing to get a larger number of them as your customers.
What is the lifetime value of one of those customers to your company?
$500? $3,800? $10,000?
Given the value of these customers to your business, what are you specifically doing to reach and serve as many of them as possible?
You have to keep these things firmly fixed in your vision and act on them. Prepare your company to serve more of these customers.
Serving more people means growth.
Competition is going to get tougher
Companies of all types are starting to pay attention to the senior market. Not many are making a dent with their effort to attract more of these customers. But, awareness is growing.
That means you are in an even greater competition for their attention and their dollars.
I will state emphatically that there will be no time like 2017 to establish yourself as the company to do business with. To be the preferred provider of whatever it is you do.
To make your company relevant to these consumers.
Because, your competitors (current or future) … they’re going to be fighting for that spot, too.
Consumers are going to demand even more
Customers over age 50 research before they buy, and they take word-of-mouth seriously. (Often times, they know who they will buy from before they get in the car or go online.)
They know what they want, and they’ll get it somewhere.
They also know they have power.
The defining factor for most companies that succeed in 2017 (and beyond) is going to be your customer’s experience with your business.
Customer experience is a serious business objective. So important, media outlets, such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Guardian, Customer Think, MediaPost and many industry and trade organizations, regularly cover it.
If you don’t think focusing on the customer is your #1 priority, you’d better think again.
Reaching them is going to get harder
This is a group of people who have been advertised to their entire lives. So, advertising in the local senior’s magazine isn’t going to cut it. (Or, the newspaper, T.V. or nearly any other outlet.)
Not to mention, advertising is just going to keep getting more expensive.
The truth is, reaching them is going to be hardest on the companies that refuse to embrace marketing that actually works for older consumers.
That is, finding ways to insert your brand into their lives, and becoming a trusted source of information and guidance.
If you want to grow your revenue significantly, that is the path to it.
Money will keep being left on the table
Your inability to focus your effort on these customers …
… to understand them …
… to reach them …
… to develop a relationship with them …
… to serve them …
It is going to keep them from becoming customers or more valuable customers.
Without the combination of an intimate level of knowledge of these people and having a company that does everything necessary to properly serve them, you will leave money on the table.
Lost sales, or lower revenue per sale, will indicate if you reach that or not.
Gaps will get filled with or without you
You’ve probably heard that, “water finds a way”.
So will customers.
If you can’t (or won’t or don’t) serve them the way they want, with what they want and when they want it …
They’ll go somewhere else.
Or, worse, they’ll tell someone … maybe a competitor … about how they didn’t get what they wanted and that other business will give it to them.
And, that business owner will get a new way to be that much better than you.
2017 will probably be a repeat for you
This group of customers … right now Boomers and some of Gen X over 50 … they are highly under served.
Most business owners will not see impressive growth in 2017 serving those groups.
That is a fact.
Why? Because you don’t make it a priority.
You talk about serving them. You go through the motions of serving them. You even help many of them.
But, you don’t get down to the real business of serving them.
And, by that I mean, you aren’t highly focused enough on doing whatever it takes to reach your dream of success serving them.
Think I’m off base? You can check yourself by answering these two questions.
- Do you understand that this group of consumers have more money than anyone else?
- Have you committed yourself to carefully planned and purposeful action that will net you a greater share of these customers in your community?
If you answered “no” to either of those, you most likely will NOT be one of the companies that experience a marked increase in revenue serving them in 2017.
Unless … you make up your mind to pivot.
If you serve this group of customers and you have a goal to grow your revenue by 10%, 30%, 50% or more …
That doesn’t happen by chance.
You’ve got to have a vision for it. You’ve got to understand where you are and where you need to be in every aspect of your business.
Most importantly, you’ve got to plan the change that will get you there.
Otherwise, the results will be the ones you’ve already lived through, and didn’t like.