Marketing Management - Life Stage Assumptions

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Marketing Management

Improvements in both the average standard of living and in health care have had profound effects in the industrialized world during the last two generations. Other than an increase in the average life expectancy for both men and women, what effects has this trend toward longer and healthier lives in general had on the traditional life stage assumptions that marketers make? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

One traditional assumption of marketers was that once a person enters a life stage, such as retirement, they may no longer be desirable as a customer. In fact the TV advertising industry labelled individuals aged 50 and over as “undesirable”, believing their preferences and buying patterns were fixed by that age. However, many studies show that those over the age of 50 nowadays are reluctant to accept their passing youth and will actively go out of their way to appear more youthful, by buying products and services associated with the demographic group they have just left (18-49 year olds).

KOTLER, P. & KELLER, K. L. (2007). ‘Chapter 8’. Marketing Management. 13th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Prentice Hall. p 256 cites the case study of Honda who developed a campaign to attract youngsters (age 21) by depicting a college-party scene near to the vehicle they were promoting. Subsequently, Honda discovered that it was the baby-boomers, with an average age of 42, who actually bought the product in an attempt to appear (and feel) young.

Improved standards of living and healthcare advances have impacted on many life stages such as home ownership, marriage, becoming parents, empty nest, retirement, and so on. For example, the retirement life stage; particularly in Europe but also similar populations such as USA, Australia, etc., not only the extended life expectancy but also economic and political forces mean that retirement starts later and...
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