Grandparents and email marketing: a golden opportunity

When it comes to technology such as email and the use of email marketing, seniors are far too often overlooked because we assume they are rooted in the old ways and not technically savvy. Oh, we’ve all heard the horror stories from someone about how they get calls from parents or grandparents daily about how they’ve managed to “mess up the thingies on the PC screen”, but in fact, your parents and grandparents are just as able and just as adaptable as you are – if the technology has relevance for them.

When it comes to grandparents, I don’t have to tell you that one thing which is extremely relevant are their grandchildren. Any technology which offers them an easy way to stay in touch and spoil the kids is going to be popular with a segment of the economy which in many countries is very powerful, active and growing.

For example, according to Nielsen, grandparent households spend 4.4% more each year than others. Almost 40% of those responding to the survey said they support their grandkids with everything from clothing to food. And this is a growing segment with senior numbers in the US alone expected to rise 11% by 2015.

While these numbers are US focused, they still carry a powerful message to email marketers anywhere who are looking to expand their reach and subscriber base. Mom and dad are not the only people out there looking to spend dollars on the kids and the households they live in.

Identifying target groups in email marketing: think beyond the obvious

When a new baby is on the way it’s not just the parents who are looking for information and bargains. The grandparents are also doing research online according to Nielsen. When my father found out he was about to be a grandfather, he went on an email communication and information rampage. By far the most popular activity for expectant grandparents is email and that means email marketing practitioners have a golden opportunity to target a market segment that have disposable income and are motivated buyers.

Marketers should be very aware of this growing demographic and keyed into the fact that they make purchases for younger demographics as well as themselves. Remember when kids used to cut out toys from catalogues and give them to mom and dad for birthdays or Christmas? Technology has made that kind of thing even easier! A couple of clicks and Sally has just sent Grandma a link to the new MP3 player she wants or the new jeans she’s dying for.

If your market is the younger generation, you should also be considering relevant content for the older grandparents too! There may be a lot of marketing potential gain to your company if you provide resources targeted at older consumers who make purchase decisions for the younger set.

Educate people on products they might not be acquainted with, answer questions which would be relevant to a grandparent. Heck, maybe even send them great excuses for spoiling grandchildren which they can use on the parents if they get any resistance!

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About Jim Ducharme

Jim Ducharme spent 15 years as a broadcaster before taking a different direction by studying computer programming and leaping from the analog to digital world. He spent years in the technical support field which included a stint in Silicon Valley in the midst of the dot com bubble. Through those years he’s been heavily involved in online community building and management. Jim was the inaugural editor for PC World Canada where he helped build one of Canada’s first major online tech brands. Jim also edited The eMail Guide.com and was instrumental in building that brand via social media. You can follow Jim on Twitter here. With his considerable experience in both traditional and new media, Jim has great perspective to offer.