Age-Based Market Segmentations Need to Be Retired

I get excited when I see major brands steering away from the out-dated concept of age-based market segmentation.

Recent research in the UK conducted by Marketing Week, suggests that just 7% of marketers believe terms like Gen X, Gen Z and millennial are a very effective means of segmentation. In fact, 55% say such demographic groupings are not very effective or not effective at all.

Westpac Bank

Westpac Bank in Australia has launched a campaign based on a life-event strategy. They feature major life-events such as ‘Separating from a partner’ and ‘Having a baby’. Unfortunately, I don’t see any reference to issues of later life such as the ‘kids leaving home’ or ‘Facing retirement’. Let’s not go there.

Our work has shown that attitudes, opinions and values don’t change much as we age. That’s why we promote the concept of Lifetime Customer Experience. An adventurous 70 year-old can have as much in common with a similarly minded younger person.

Sure there are categories that need to focus on specific age segments but regardless of age, people need to eat, dress, maintain their health and beauty. They want to travel, to learn and to be entertained.

Global demographics have turned upside down yet brands remain paranoid about blatantly appealing to the older consumer. All the more reason why marketers should appeal to attitudes, life-events and stages that transcend the traditional demographic marketing segmentations. It’s time they were retired.