Grey Power: Where the Action Is!

Senior Citizens have the loot for now and for the near future. Not sure? Let’s do the arithmetic. According to a 2010 US Census Bureau Report, there are more than 40.3 million people who are 65 years of age and older in America.

Add 40.3 million people to the mix of thousands of retiring Baby Boomers who are leaving the US workforce, daily. Grey Power (also, referred to as Gray Power) has an annual growth rate of 15.1 percent faster than the total US population growth rate at 9.7 percent. Thus, your proof of an exponentially growing market force.

A little less than one quarter of this age group actively attends church, synagogue and mosque services in what is referred to as: organized religion. In round numbers, nine million seniors participate in worship services with some degree of regularity.

While senior citizens are divided into several demographic sub segments, one common thread runs deep. Much of the stuff of their lives inherited from past generations and from their own childhood and adult years is stored in their attics, basements and garages.

This wealth is waiting to be mined by people like you and me. It is truly an endless supply of real antiques and vintage collectibles and, it awaits us!

Here’s how to identify senior citizen communities by zip code anywhere in America.

Because they have a tendency to live in community clusters of like-minded seniors, the old saying, “birds of a feather flock together” is a truism when trying to identify groups of seniors.

Pinpointing organized religious facilities who serve these community clusters is easier than ever thanks to comprehensive databases which segment consumers by their purchasing habits and consumption preferences. Also, by using very sophisticated online demographic marketing tools.

Lifestyle marketing, a term coined by data analyst turned entrepreneur Jonathan Robbin in 1976, classified all Americans into forty neighborhood types or clusters. Within these clusters, marketers employed by, Robbins’ demographic mapping company, identified consumer consumption patterns (attributes) of everything from clothing styles and brand names  to breakfast cereals, automobile ownership by brand, model year and vehicle type. Add TV shows, magazine subscriptions and Internet preferences.

As importantly, as their choice of attributes are their reasons for buying named brands as revealed by telemarketing surveys and mailed questionnaires. These psychographic answers when added to demographics provide a very clear picture of the American Consumer.

Of course, changing attributes have been stored to identify and analyze population trends within major cultural categories of: Caucasians, Afro-Americans, Asians, Hispanics and the mix of other tribes.

Once the great melting pot, America is perceived by demographic professionals as a salad bowl and by 2030 it is predicted that 1 in every 6 Americans will be of Hispanic heritage.

To locate Grey Power communities in North America, go to Using PRIZM, a demographic lifestyles segmentation tool, you can pinpoint Grey Power retirement communities and clustered neighborhoods by their zip codes within regions, states, counties and cities.

While lifestyle population demographic analytical tools like PRIZM have been around since 1976, newer, faster computers with improved programming algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) have greatly enhanced the accuracy and mix of useful consumer marketing information. With the advent of Watson (IBM’s new artificial intelligence computer plus virtual storage cloud) crunching big data has become quite inexpensive.

Once forty consumer lifestyle patterns has now been expanded to 100+ attributes.

Using PRIZM you can collect a wealth of lifestyle behavior patterns (attributes) to reveal: age groups, median household incomes and median home values. Additional demographic attributes include: affluent married and single retirees; owners of single and multi-unit housing; college graduates, white-collar professionals; political party preferences and key political issues.

Here’s how I used PRIZM to identify target prospects within The Villages, Central Florida’s most affluent Gray Community and one of the country’s largest cluster of affluent senior retirees. My PRIZM online research revealed lifestyle sub segments of seniors with lots of antiques and vintage collectibles.

The profile attributes extracted with PRIZM included: Smithsonian and National Geographic magazine readership; frequent international vacation travelers; Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln, Cadillac and Jaguar ownership; premium alcohol and wine drinkers, cheese enthusiasts; $100,000 plus annual retirement incomes; PBS and A&E television viewership to name a few of the profile attributes. These were used to pinpoint senior citizens who would likely have lots of expensive stuff stored or displayed in their homes.

I rented zip code specific mailing lists of named senior-retirees with residential addresses from Nielsen & Company, the multi media giant who acquired several years ago. Until I had some idea of how many calls I’d receive, I conducted a series of 1,000 each Jumbo size postcard mailing campaigns to the profiled universe of 27,000, whose attributes met my criteria.

This thousand lot mailing strategy was a wise decision since the purpose of the mailing was to motivate seniors, with stuff, to call me and to hire me to sell their stored treasures. To convert their gems into ready-cash so they could pay for groceries and the ever-increasing price of their prescription meds. Living on a fixed retirement income in today’s economy is no picnic.

Six days after the first 1,080 Jumbo size post card first-class mailing, we booked six new consignment sales clients, who called me. One of them, a former combat photographer, had 42 Leica and Zeiss still photo cameras he wanted me to sell for him. This one client alone netted me $49,800 in consignment sale commissions. My total mailing, printing, list rental and postage cost for these 1,080 pieces was $658.80 and I still had 8,920 Jumbo size post cards left to mail from the original 10,000 card print run. Click on Show Them the Money to learn how to create your own Jumbo size post card mailing success story

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