Marketers Should Consider Packaging When Reaching Older Consumers
Marketers of consumer goods know that packaging is key to increasing and maintaining sales. So what's being done in research, development and deployment of packaging targeted specifically at the largest and most moneyed demographics -- Boomers and Seniors?
Jonathan Asher, senior vice president of Perception Research Services, can't think of many manufacturers that are distributing products in packaging aimed specifically at the mature market. But, he believes, they should.
"It may be something people are starting to pay attention to now that more decision makers are in that demographic and it makes sense to design for them, but frankly it's not being done to the degree it could or should be," he tells Selling to Seniors.
"The irony is, anything you do for the older demographic would work well for everybody."
Asher continues, “It will not necessarily cost the manufacturer much more to adjust the packaging to make it easier and more appealing to an older clientele. In fact, upfront costs to changes might be offset by increased sales to all consumers, not just mature customers.”
PRS is based in New Jersey and has offices located around the world. The company conducts more than 800 studies a year helping marketers across various industries and product categories create packaging that "helps them win at retail." Clients include Hewlett Packard, Crayola, Target, Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods, among others.Benefits Across All Demographics
Appealing alterations in packaging can be functional, such as "easier opening, easier closing and easier dispensing, that would help anybody," Asher says. "Tamper-evident packaging and over-the-counter medication is difficult to get into, and everybody struggles and complains about that. If you fix this for the older market you're doing everybody a favor.”
Beyond the functional, "older consumers must be able to read the label," he adds. "People as young as in their 40s start to need 'reading glasses' to read labels. It can be the size of the copy, the color contrast, the fonts -- whatever the manufacturer can do to make it easier to read is going to be a plus." Customize the Copy
Messaging for the mature market also needs to be addressed beyond the size and color of the type. According to Asher, "Simpler is better, and not because they're not smart but because they want to cut to the chase. Tell me what I need to know. Say it in few words, and pictures are better than words.
"But manufacturers should not just concentrate on the ingredients and directions on a label," says Asher. "Messages, claims, benefits, you want that to be real, believable and relevant because this is a market that is skeptical and has been around the track, and they don't want to be talked down to, and they don't want to feel like you're trying to get over on them."
And what works when it comes to messaging?
"'Better for you' are messages that resonate, generally," he says. "And mature consumers want convenience; they want it to be better for them; but they don't want to spend hours making it work."Caution in Changes
Redesigning packaging shouldn't be drastic since familiarity with previous packaging most likely created loyalty with mature consumers. "You have to make sure they're comfortable with changes. While they're open to change, it has to be for a reason and still have enough familiarity to make that leap," he says.
The bottom line, says Asher, "creating packaging for an older clientele is not that hard to do well. And marketers aren't thinking about it enough. Whether structural in nature or simply the graphics, any packaging improvements you make for older consumers will benefit everyone; including, the forward-thinking marketer."
Info: Information about PRS can be found here: www.prsresearch.com