Science is changing our lifespans and healthspans. Social science needs to catch up.


We are all living longer. Increased Longevity is one of just five global megatrends identified by the World Economic Forum – others megatrends are climate change and shifts in global economic power. So it’s major.

Businesses that embrace this longer lives megatrend can capitalise on market growth in financial services, real estate, health, travel, entertainment and retail goods.

With greater product parity, tighter margins, smaller budgets and a shrinking middle class (with less disposable income), it’s harder than ever hit to sales targets, From a marketing perspective, it is critical to focus your dollars on segments that are trending up.

Part of the challenge is to move beyond the belief that marketing disruption is solely about digital. In value terms, it’s also about demography.


The longer lives megatrend has opened up a powerful, high-spending category of 50 to 75 year olds who buy and behave differently to other age segments. These are the New Old.

Many marketers don’t seem to have noticed this seismic shift. They remain youth-obsessed. With the average age in marketing departments and ad agencies constant at just 29, we suspect an element of ‘marketing by selfie stick’.

Clearly ageism is at play here – where older markets are not seen as sexy and dynamic. Ageism is an unfortunate social reality, but it shouldn’t be getting the way of effective and efficient marketing. Especially when you consider the size of the prize.

The problem, of course, is that if 50+ is not on your radar, you’re not on theirs, either. And that’s money left on the table.

Ageism masks the huge potential of the New Old to drive business growth.

If money talks, the New Old should be dominating the marketing conversation.


According to the Grattan Institute, older Australians today have substantially greater wealth, income and expenditure than their equivalents just two decades ago. Unfortunately younger Australians have not made such progress. In fact, Australian households are typically at their wealthiest between ages 55 and 74.

Most of this increase has come from the housing boom and growth in superannuation assets. But it’s also due to greater participation in the workforce by women aged 55-64, and by more people generally choosing to work past 65.

Over 50s have 60% of all disposable income in the country and use it to buy two thirds of all new cars, over half of all travel and 40% of all Apple products. They also dominate in cosmetics, luxury goods, healthcare and financial services

Clearly the New Old has yet not hung up the boots, rather they’re putting them on to keep working … or go shopping.


Over 50s are far from homogeneous segments of pre-retirees and retirees They can – and should – be categorised around both lifestage and shared passions, rather than just age, income and other standard demographic breakdowns. They are every bit as niched and nuanced as younger markets.

The multi-generational nature of the New Old market gives you greater opportunity to leverage your investment in data analytics, customer segmentation and CMS platforms over a longer period of time.

Imagine how your business could be positively affected by targeted this diverse group who have 15 years of extra consuming potential over previous generations.

One of the arguments we hear against taking a targeted approach is ‘we already reach them with our current media plan’. The response to this is ‘maybe’. Wouldn’t you want to know for sure? And wouldn’t you want to maximise your potential?

The New Old is a diverse, multigenerational market.

Not digital natives like their kids, but they are digital first.


If your customer engagement strategies and conversational design are built by digital natives for digital natives, you may be missing a trick.

The New Old are absolutely digitally connected – but it’s critical to understand how they use tech and how they prefer to interact. They shouldn’t be forced into behaviour that constrains them to a one-size-fits-all digital framework.

Every business undergoes some level of digital transformation with a view to automating the basics and creating efficiencies, which is a good thing. But an important question to ask about transformation is – who are we transforming for?

For 50+, digital is not the only game in town. They still read print and watch TV. And of course they like to speak on the phone, much more so than their children.

And yes, such old-school channels may seem an expensive way to do business. But what’s the cost of losing these profitable prospects?