Frequently, when we think about next markets, we mention Next-Gen, Millennials or Gen-Z audiences.
We immediately jump to the generations following or before ours. Or those that will have the largest working and buying power.
One of the growing markets that is often overlooked is the Perennial Market—people of all ages, sometimes over 50 and sometimes in their 30s. Perennials are those that understand age is not a limiting factor and are living in the present. They stay current with the world, embrace technology, build relationships with people of all ages and most importantly, they embrace curiosity and learning.
Who Are The Perennials?
You’re a perennial. I’m a perennial. My parents are perennials. My great niece is a perennial.
Tech entrepreneur Gina Pell coined the term perennial. Why? Because she was frustrated and done with demographic labels. She was tired of marketing being driven by age and generations.
Age is a poor marker of function.
When we say senior citizen, or someone over fifty, our minds jump to images of elderly people that are considered a drain to society. When we say Millennial or Generation Z, some of us think of images of youth always tethered to their smart phone, the entitlement syndrome or slackers.
Regardless of the age, we trash talk those not of our generation. Or we paint with a broad brush that a specific age group does or does not like something. We stereotype generations.
Age is a poor marker of function.
The Perennial Mindset
The term Perennials is a metaphor comparing plants that return with blooms year after year to a category of people without using generation labels. Perennials are groups of people that bloom in a specific season, take a break to nourish and flourish while remaining green, and then renew themselves throughout a growing season.
Perennials get involved, stay curious, mentor others, foster passion and compassion, and embrace creativity and collaboration. Perennials are confident, risk takers, and learners. They are also diversity- and globally-aware, says Perth.
It’s all about mindset and no longer about a one-dimensional timeline that runs from birth to death. ~ Gina Pell
The Opportunities Of A Cultural Zeitgeist
Social media has helped remove some barriers of ageism.
Marketing and advertising have shifted from spending ad dollars on a single demo group to going after a cultural zeitgeist, says Margaret Johnson, the chief creative officer at Goodby and friend of Pell.
Your organization can harness the human potential found in the growing numbers of perennials. Maybe you seek out those who are starting a second or third career. They have some experience, skills and motivation under their belt from previous work. However, they don’t know the industry or profession well.
Consider this, nearly 40% of those still working when they turned 62 had changed careers after the age of 55. These people have vibrant networks from their previous careers, strong cash flow and want to continue to contribute to society. They can bring wise experience to your organization as well as a curiosity to collaborate and co-create with younger perennials.
Older adults want to remain connected, relevant, useful and engaged. There’s this collective feeling of ‘we’re not done yet’ says Marci Alboher, author of The Encore Career Handbook.
Perennials are deeply connected to civic engagement and meaningful work to paraphrase Pell. They defy traditional demographic labels.
How can your organization leverage the perennial mindset when creating and selling products and services? How do you see yourself as a Perennial and what could an organization do to obtain your commitment, loyalty and purchasing power?
Sandra Wood says
I like the Perennial concept because: a) I’m an avid gardener! And b) because I never felt any of the prescribed labels applied to me but this one is the closest I’ve seen. I don’t need a label, but understanding a demographic is important when you are in an empathic business which events definitely are!