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Marketing to the risk averse

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce,web marketing (Tuesday July 8, 2008 )

With age comes, ahem, wisdom and a little more caution – for many of us anyway. The changing face of the US consumer presents challenges to marketers wishing to target the “risk averse”

While our culture may worship youth, the reality is that we’re an aging society.

According to AdAge, U.S. head of household average age is bordering on 50 years old and over 80% of the growth in the household numbers over the next 5 years will be among those headed by people 55 and older.

And these folks have cash to burn, increasing their total spending at almost double the rate of all households in the most recent five-year survey period.

But, and I lump myself in this category even though I’m not even close to that age, these folks aren’t as responsive to spin as young ‘uns.. probably because we’ve heard it all before.. over and over and over again. Risk-averse spending behavior occurs in all age groups, but it certainly increases with age.

So how do you become attractive to this group?

– Safety
– Security
– Credibility

As we’ve all been stung before, we’re looking for online businesses who are safe to deal with and who offer the security of a guarantee.

I recently made a purchase on eBay after much deliberation. I had whittled down the merchants to 3 and then emailed them all with the same question. While they all had similar products, my heart was set on product A as it was the flashiest, I settled on product B which had fewer features and wound up costing a little more, purely because the merchant answered my questions thoroughly and had slightly better feedback ratings.

If you’re wanting to tap into the “risk averse” – and bear in mind they do have a bit of cash to spend as a result of being cautious in their dealings, the “we’re great” profile pages are out. You need to tell a story about your company; a convincing one, with minimum fluff. A potential customer needs to feel secure, for example, by the display of security certificates and money back guarantees. Learn more in my article; Reassuring your visitors.


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