The advertising industry is in the midst of growing turmoil, with signs like the 11% plunge in the share price of the world’s largest advertising company, WPP, or the threat from P&G’s chief brand officer to dramatically shift the company’s $2.4 billion in ad spend. But while many attribute this turmoil to “the rapid shift to digital” or the cyclical nature of the business, a far more profound cause has been overlooked: advertisers’ failure to pursue older consumers.
These consumers hold immense market potential for the consumer-goods companies that advertisers rely on, yet ad dollars continue to flow primarily towards younger consumers. This has been confirmed by multiple studies, including one that found only 10% of marketing spending targets Baby Boomers, even though this demographic controls the majority of disposable income in the US. Other studies find that just 31% of firms have accounted for longevity in sales and marketing plans, and only 15% have a business strategy focused on the older demographic. The results show, as more than half of people globally say advertising does not reflect older consumers.
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