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BlogThe 50 Rule for 50-Plus People

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Demographic Map (Age in years v Number of residents in millions with male & female stacked data.)

The 50 Rule for 50-Plus People

There is no question that ageism is practiced in statistics and surveys. Yet cutting out “older” people from media buys or images of gray-haired people from marketing materials is a mistake. Lumping together all people ages 50-plus as some kind of homogeneous group is a demographic planning disaster. The group may not be homogeneous, but if you want to remember something about 50-plus, it is the number 50.

Don’t ignore the power of the 50-plus force. If you miss the 50-plus audience, then you are missing the audience cohort that is responsible for more than 50% of all consumer spending in the U.S.

There are nearly 110 million people ages 50-plus. AARP reports that this group has strong earnings, less debt, spends more, loves tech, buys more than half of all the cars, shops online and is connected.

Demographic Map (Age in years v Number of residents in millions with male & female stacked data.)According to Mark Bradbury, AARP Media Solutions, “Even during COVID-19, 50-plus households remain engaged, active and financially strong consumers. It’s clear they mean business.”

The group is also media ambidextrous. The cohort watches TV, watches online, reads magazines and listens to the radio. Nearly 75% use social media, and consumers 50-plus constitute half of all spending on audio-visual equipment, appliances and entertainment.

If you’re not including 50-plus in your marketing, then you’re missing more than half your audience and more than half the money. That means that 50-plus is 50% of your future success.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.