It’s Not Game-Over for Mature Women. How Brands Can Prosper By Understanding the Modern Older Woman.
Growing Out of a Taboo
Generally speaking, humans globally are becoming more open about topics that were previously taboo. Growing older is one of those as it increasingly becomes embraced and celebrated for what it is - a beautifully natural part of a woman’s life journey.
Whilst there’s still a way to go to break the taboo of menopause and ageing; no longer is the mature woman shrinking out of society’s focus, she’s flourishing - and even leading the way. How have the older female audience changed, what do they want and how can brands reach them more effectively?
Not Only Are Women Living Longer, They’re Living Smarter
Women in their menopausal or postmenopausal years are becoming notably more abundant in optimism and opportunities. They’re looking for meaningful experiences - to travel and try new things. Having embraced social media, they’re as inspired as younger people to be bold and explore. Marketing Week cited that 39% of over 50s are travelling to more exotic destinations than before.
Increasingly tech-savvy; women are using apps and wearables to monitor menopausal symptoms and restore equilibrium as their bodies give birth to a new chapter in their lives. In fact, the ‘hot flushes' market is set to be worth $5.3 billion by 2023. And indeed, the well-being and health food industries are benefiting from the increase of information available which leads women to pursue a change in diet to support ‘the change’ and the years thereafter. Women in their senior years have never been so open to delving into the new.
Marketing to A Mature Female Audience
Having been marketed to all of their lives, this group often distrust traditional advertising. 45% of older women are more likely to purchase a product if it’s recommended by a blogger they follow. That’s an endorsement in itself for influencers as part of the marketing mix, as the original word-of-mouth discipline evolves to the digital space.
Despite the fact that they didn’t grow up in the digital era; many mature women have risen to the online challenge and embraced tech innovations. Keen to stay connected with friends and family; nearly 90% have a Facebook account, and 82% spend more time browsing online than in bricks and mortar stores.
This confident generation sees themselves very differently from how they’re often represented in the media. 71% disagree that they’re behind the times or disengaged from consumerism. And, not only are they buying the products, they’re selling them! In 2015 the world welcomed a new trend in advertising fuelled by the fashion industry. Saint Lauren held up a 71 year old Joni Mitchell to the light, Marc Jacobs aligned with 65 year old Jessica Longe, and Loreal recruited our beloved strong woman, Helen Mirren. And then of course we saw Iris Apfel in all her colourful glamour zooming about in Citroen ads.
Whilst there was an economic imperative to drive more purchases from this audience; the fantastic fact about the multi-generational approach is that not only is it taking inclusivity one step further, it also doesn’t alienate younger women from the brands because they genuinely find the style and boldness of these icons to be attractive.
Supporting Women to Feel Good About The Later Chapters of Life
Ageing can be deemed as fashionable now. I still have a picture of an incredible lady in her 80s happily demonstrating an advanced yoga position on my vision board. She’s up there reminding me not to argue for my limitations.
But there’s still a way to go to remove the taboo of ageing - particularly when it comes to the subject of menopause. Although celebrities are breaking the silence, the majority of women haven’t broken their own programming or embarrassment. Of course, no one’s expecting them to sing in the street about menopause, but with 44% of women in the UK reporting that the menopause greatly affected their mental health and half reporting that they didn’t see a health professional despite symptoms being worse than they anticipated, it seems that we are not yet supporting this group of women as they deserve to be supported after they’ve given to us for so many years.
Improved education about the menopause both in society generally to all ages and genders, and to business would be a good start. 47% of women who took a day off work due to symptoms didn’t feel able to reveal why. Normalising something so...normal...should be a priority for society (including relevant brands) so that alarming statistic decreases.
To conclude; it’s imperative to return to a key piece that was mentioned earlier in this article: older women (together with people of all ages and genders) are chasing more meaning in their lives. Challenges aside, growing old isn’t a bad thing anymore. Sure, growing house prices mean that older children move out later or come back to live with parents (the so-called ‘boomerang kid’) but older women are pursuing the new. From transforming their home to regular and modern approaches to fitness, from pulling a backpack onto their shoulders for world travel to donning wellies to go wild at a festival; older women are enjoying freedom like never before. It's no longer just about surviving, its about thriving.
And seeking meaning in their own lives is reflected by seeking meaning in the brands they buy from too. It’s not just the young that are calling for brands to have depth. It’s time for brands to see the new older woman for what she's increasingly becoming. She’s pretty awesome in our book.