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Clubs should invite older groups to visit their facility and give feedback on what they did and did not like 6 PROMOTIONS

We mentioned earlier that a great majority of marketers have neglected older consumers, despite their purchasing power. Effective promotions and marketing must be rooted in the reality of life for older adults; many of today’s older people will simply not recognise themselves in the somewhat negative stereotypes of older people used in many marketing campaigns, and will be turned off by the messages that ostensibly target them.

Shifting the marketing model will not only meet consumer demand, but will also inspire societal change. We need to be real, ageless and inclusive in our messaging. We should tell a story – the past is fi lled with great memories, so don’t be afraid of nostalgia. Talk about what people will be able to achieve now, not in the future: more energy, better sleep, greater strength and balance that will enable them to do the things they wish, now. And use real older models, not beauty queens, in your marketing.


Environments can encourage or discourage people of all ages when it comes to leading active, engaged lives. From indoors to outdoors, what environments will you need to engage the older member? Hire a group of older adults to visit your club and your competitors’ clubs, and have them jot down on a piece of paper what they liked and didn’t like. Put all the recommendations on a large board for your staff to see, then start the process of improvement, whether that’s changing

signs, lighting or the way your club’s laid out. Don’t stop until the list is completed. Then ask the group to walk through your club again. How is their reaction now?


Ask the group that reviewed your club to share their thoughts on your policies too: do they support inclusiveness, or do any of them create barriers to entry? Are any unacceptable? You may fi nd things such as refund policies don’t work for this group, or that they want a longer trial period. You may also fi nd that your policies on club hours, accessibility, music and how your staff interact with members need adjustments to better accommodate this group. Whatever policies you create, ensure they are posted for all to see and that they are legible – in a suffi ciently large print – and understandable, in language that can be understood by someone other than a lawyer.

As promoted by ICAA, the seven dimensions of wellness are the backbone of active ageing. They are also key to providing the breadth of programmes and environments that fulfi ll the needs and interests of the 50-plus population. When looking at what you offer this diverse group, think functional ability, not age. An example of this is chair aerobics. One of the main reasons to offer chair aerobics is the simple fact that 42 per cent of adults aged 60–69 years, 52 per cent of individuals aged 70–79 and 66 per cent of those aged 80–89 have

9 64 Read Health Club Management online at PROGRAMMES ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colin Milner is the founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), and a leading authority on the health and wellbeing of the older adult. For the past fi ve years, the World Economic Forum has invited Milner to serve on its Network of Global Agenda Councils, recognising him as one of “the most innovative and infl uential minds” in the world on ageing-related topics.

March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013

some diffi culty stooping, crouching or kneeling. You could also consider buying stairclimbers or providing step aerobics classes, as 18 per cent of adults aged 60–69, 26 per cent of people aged 70–79 and 41 per cent of those aged 80–89 have diffi culty climbing 10 stairs without a rest. Or you could offer 30-minute classes, as 21 per cent of adults aged 60–69 years, 30 per cent of individuals aged 70–79 and 49 per cent of those aged 80–89 have diffi culty walking a quarter of a mile. Creating programmes for older adults is about enabling the user to fi nd what they ‘can do’. By doing so, you will create services that are used by all generations.


So when should you begin your efforts to better cater for older people? Ask yourself three questions: What’s the cost of taking action? What’s the cost of inaction? And what’s the cost of reaction, addressing these needs with wholesale changes further down the path? The time is now. ●


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