Three Ways A Marketer Can Approach the Ripple Effects of an Aging Workforce.
As Canada’s population ages, so too does its workforce, creating an influx in retirement. A record 307,000 people retired last year and we can expect this pace to continue given that the average working age has never been higher. In fact, the Canadian population now has a larger share of people who will soon be exiting the workforce than it does entering – a dynamic that has significant economic implications.
For the modern marketer, this impending wave of retirement means an entire cohort of customers will be evolving their priorities, spending habits, and media diets. It also means that any research and assumptions we’ve made about this group pre-retirement may need to be reconsidered.
Here are some ways you can begin to approach this sociodemographic shift to ensure your marketing plan remains relevant and engaging with this new and powerful audience:
1. Capitalize on industry spikes.
Industries like travel, hospitality and healthcare are sure to see a boost in business as retirees look to spend and enjoy their unemployed years. Understanding how your business is positioned with respect to retirement is critical in capitalizing on it. If your business or service is often used by seniors, then you’ll need to prepare for an increase in the next few years. If it is not, there may be an opportunity to affiliate yourself cross-industry with another brand that is. For example, Gucci collaborating with North Face when outdoor recreation surged in popularity in 2021.
2. Reevaluate your targeting.
While we know the Baby Boomer cohort is typically labelled with strong work ethic, independence, and competitiveness, we must consider that retiring will radically shift some traits. You may have to adjust your targeting strategy to accommodate a new routine for consuming media, new preferences for tone and messaging, new interests in products previously dismissed, and more. Conducting fresh research or bringing in representatives of this cohort to consult may serve you well to better understand these shifts. Take Lucky Charms, for example. Although they primarily targeted kids, their research showed a huge interest from nostalgic Millennials, leading them to pivot and find success with an evolved target.
3. Do more with less.
The amount of job vacancies left by an unprecedented rate of retirement is bound to fuel the war for talent even more. Marketers will need to get creative and consider leveraging social to account for talent shortages. Virality is accessible and provides an opportunity to reach the masses with minimal budget. Just this year, a man went viral for setting up a table to eat French toast on public transit. “The French Toast Guy” amassed thousands of views that were ultimately used to promote new breakfast options at Wendy’s.
So, before you send through your marketing plan for the next year, take a moment to consider how Canada’s influx of retirees will affect your business. There will be moments to capitalize on, some reevaluation to consider, and some compromises to be made however one thing is clear, ignoring this audience could be a missed opportunity to grow your brand and connect with a distinct and powerful consumer group.
This post is part 1 of a 5-part series, bringing to life our STEEP framework for 2023. The framework presents macro trends that span Socio-Demographic, Technology, Environment, Economy, and Politics to account for each letter in our STEEP acronym. Within this series, we will explore how each one of these macro trends trickle down into our daily lives and provide the modern marketer with cues to help them navigate this evolving reality. Stay tuned for our next blog where we discuss impacts of modern technology.
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