Wooing the Older Americans with Public Relations

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Summary: With the increase of the elderly, it is important for public relation agents to effectively reach out to them.

Devising a single promotional campaign won't work if you want to woo all the Americans. There must be at least two: one to reach the young, "with it" generation, and another for the older, professionally successful set. Once it has been decided that more than one effort is in order, the professional public relations person must determine, within certain age limits, toward which aspects of the consumers to direct his or her efforts—education, economic status, snob appeal, desire for upward mobility, or other areas.
The number of factors that must be considered and analyzed are virtually unlimited. For each separate group within a certain age or economic category, one approach may appeal while another will not. However, it is impossible to set up a widespread campaign that incorporates every favorable aspect for each separate entity within a general category. Therefore, the specialist must pick and choose—disposing of some thrusts and making use of others.

Already, even with the unheard of success of youth-oriented movies and video games, there are signs that previously youth-oriented industries (phonograph records, for example) are not doing as well as they used to. American society is getting older and older; there are fewer and fewer young people.
We have already seen a great increase in products directed to the older American. Denture cleaners are advertised often on television. Aspirin, when advertised on television or in newspapers, doesn't concentrate only on relieving headaches. Relief for arthritis is at least as heavily emphasized. Makeup creams to hide wrinkles rival soft drink ads in terms of frequency. One sporting goods company is marketing a golf club directed solely to the older American. They predict that it will "allow the mature golfer to get the ball up in the air faster."
In trying to determine the internal and external motivations of consumers in the years to come, public relations specialists must bear in mind that the United States is becoming an increasingly older society. Consequently, attitudes of these older Americans will help determine what marketing strategies should be used.
In order to woo the hearts of the older generation of America, all professionals will have to understand what older people want and how to help them realize it. Naturally, in medicine, gerontology (the study of aging) will be required of medical students and physicians, but other people, like public relations experts, also will have to know a great deal about elderly Americans.
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