How Perceptual processes affect The Elderly

My analysis is based on the elders persona or elderly market segment (Age 60 and above).I will explain how the key concepts or keywords listed below affect the elderly personas.



Hedonic Consumption

Audio- watermarking




Actual Self

Pleasure principles

Identity marketing


This is a German word which means whole or complete. Gestalt refers to an overall pattern that guides principles of perceptual organization. According to Gestalt psychology, the whole is more significant or greater than the sum of its parts (p. 195)

The elderly, due to long buying experience and many years of continued consumption of products, have become familiar with particular brands. The elders have also become accustomed to certain messages regarding their preferred brands, as such they are receptive to messages from manufacturers of these brands that use closure principle. For example many males among the elders have used Gillette shaving blades for years and can identify with any message from Proctor & Gamble on Gillette shavers such that at the mention of Gillette they can finish the message with the slogan “The best a man can get”.

The elderly, like other consumers, tend to group together objects that share similar physical characteristics. For example, all washing detergents are grouped together because they have similar packaging and share similar colored liquid character. Most of these detergents have pictures of washing machines or laundry on their package covers. Based on the similarities, all household detergents are grouped together and during shopping an elder can pick any from the supermarket shelf, since one will serve the same purpose just as the next one on the shelf.

Hedonic Consumption

Hedonic consumption focuses on a consumer’s emotional experience of a product. The elderly have over time observed manufacturing costs going down and consumption going up, they gradually want to buy things that provide additional experiences. This suggests that the elderly have a preference for products that appeal to their needs or to the emotional aspects of consumer’s interaction with products. The elders’ tendency have a preference for a microwave oven that can cook, defrost, grill, bake and make popcorn is a case in point , to show how the elders demand a product that delivers hedonic value. The elderly also spur demand for products that they derive satisfaction from, like pure ground coffee which always stimulates them and makes them alert. This is because the sensations we experience are context effects that subtly influence how we think about products we encounter. Some encounters can lead to consumers detesting the product or feeling positively predisposed to it depending on the level of positive sensations experienced from using the product.

Audio- Watermarking

A well-known trick used by producers and musicians to weave a sound motif into a piece of music (p. 180). This is based on the psychological fact that music and sounds affect people’s feelings and behaviors. It is a form of sensory marketing which emphasizes on the link between our senses and product experiences. Radio and T.V commercials commonly make use of this form of marketing.

The elders especially have a tendency to remember sounds associated with particular events especially those that left a pleasant feeling. If a product is associated with a positive memory, the elderly are more likely to opt for it than any other product which has no memory attached to it. Creators of sensory marketing campaigns emphasize on the sensory characteristics of products that sticks with the customers, helping them remember the product in a positive and unique way. This strategy works well with children and the elderly and they are the main target group of radio and T.V advertisements that use jingles and similar sounds, because they are easy to remember and are associated with products that appeal to them. The audio messages are in the form of jingles or songs that usually trigger memories of the past. This gives the product a unique sensory quality, separate from the competition.


Halo-effect refers to the reaction of people to other similar stimuli, the same way they responded to the original stimulus. This happens when the consumers assume that the similar product or the imitation, shares the same characteristics with the original product (p. 210). The elderly are sometimes duped into thinking that imitation or copy products are the original products that are widely known. In the market ,there are many “look-alike” products made in China and Taiwan. They range from motor-vehicle and motor-cycle spare parts, consumer electronics , cosmetics and beauty products. The elderly have often confused imitation or copy “Nikke”, “sonny”, “Phillips”and “everyday” for the original brands of Nike shoes, SONY electronics, Philips electronics & eveready batteries. When the quality of the copy is compromised as it is in most instances, the consumers are more positively predisposed towards the original. In rare cases ,the elderly discover the quality of the original and copy are equal and in such instances they conclude that the price they pay for the original is not worth it and opt for the imitation which is usually of a lower price.


This is the action of adding gaming elements to everyday tasks. Applying basic principles of gaming like winning, losing, challenges, rewards and penalties to motivate consumers and employees. The elderly have been incorporated into the idea of gamification which was previously not practiced in the mainstream business environment. Organizations are now borrowing from gaming by involving customers in various challenges with motivation to progress to the next level with a system of rewards and penalties. Successful candidates get to enjoy benefits ranging from cash to discounted prices and complimentary goodies. Gaming is important for the elderly as for everybody else as it has benefits and important elements like creating a dynamic digital environment, promoting rapid feedback and enhancing healthy competition in a low risk environment.

Popular gaming names include Aherk! That promotes negative reinforcement, Gympact which encourages workout and penalizes inconsistency and work or die which is a remedy for writer’s block. Fitocracy is a weight-loss game that the elderly can engage in because it encourages achievement of physical fitness (p. 217 ) . Gamification incorporates many aspects of business and life in general with a common need to motivate and reward people to achieve excellence. These include repeat business, brand loyalty, social marketing, employee performance and bulk purchasing.


To measure memory for product information, either recognition or recall technique is used. Consumers will more easily remember an advert or product message if it is presented to them than to recall one without being given any clues. The elderly bear memories from the past and even if they might not recall messages, they will easily recollect an advert from the past if prompted with an image or sound clip. The elderly also tend to keep in their memory, adverts that stuck in their minds because they were positively disposed towards the product. For the elderly, any product they recall because it has always been in their minds, Is a product they can readily purchase again. Recognition as well as recall methods play a vital role in purchase decisions by the elderly. Recognition is more important to the elderly since there are a multitude of options to choose from which can cause confusion if one does not have enough data on all the products available. In the battle of recall versus recognition, I think recognition is better because the results are more reliable in that they are more durable. The results from recall tests expire after a very short period and are therefore not very reliable. Apart from reliability, recognition is a simpler process and the consumer has more retrieval cues source from. Elders are more likely to recognize as they need prompting to recall, many of them recall products because of long-term consumption in the past.

Actual Self

This refers to our own realistic appraisal of qualities we possess or do not possess, based on a genuine personal evaluation. We buy products that help us to reach the ideal standard we have set for ourselves based on this personal appraisal. We also purchase products that are in conformity to the actual self. The elderly make purchase decisions based on how they perceive themselves and buy products that represent that image. For instance, when purchasing clothing items, the elderly shop in places where they can find the right items and purchase those that appear to create an image they would want to portray to others. This is impression management where we work hard to manage what others think of us. The elderly are also influenced by societal expectations and strive to conform to what society finds acceptable. In the market for clothing items for instance, there is segmentation based on gender, sex and age, and as such you find sections for ladies wear, children’s wear, gents wear and even within these, there is further demarcation like teens wear. It is unacceptable therefore for the elderly to purchase and put on attire meant for teenagers.

Pleasure principle

This refers to a basic desire to maximize pleasure an avoid pain. It is a desire that guides our behavior and the id operates on this principle, according to Sigmund Freud (p. 260). The id is illogical and selfish and directs the individual’s psychic energy towards pleasurable exploits without regard to consequences. The opposite of the id is the superego and it counters the id. The superego is the person’s conscience, using societal rules to counter the id’s selfish gratification.

The ego is the mediator between the id and the superego and tries to strike a balance between the opposing forces using the reality principle. The pleasure principle underlines consumer behavior by bringing out the importance of unconscious motives that guide our purchases. This means elderly make purchase decisions based on guidance from the pleasure principle even without their knowledge. Because the pleasure principle operates in the subconscious mind, it works covertly and hence the customer cannot point out accurately the basis for their decision or their true motivation when they choose a product. According to Freud, there is the possibility that the ego relies on symbolism in products to reach a compromise between the demands of the id and prohibition of the superego (p. 260).

Identity Marketing

Identity marketing is a promotional strategy whereby consumers alter some aspects of their selves to advertise for a branded product (p. 276).

This is done so that the product can identify and be in touch with the market. For a product to be acceptable in the market especially among the elderly, they must identify with it and trust that the product will meet their needs. Identity marketing gives the product validation and empowers a product to be accepted based on the fact that people are receptive to products that have an identity that they can recognize. Just like they trust people they know, consumers develop trust for products that portray a human side. This point is especially poignant for the elderly because they are not receptive to new ideas and products. They view any new product with aloofness and mistrust and so identity marketing is the right strategy to reach the elderly.


Solomon, M.R. (2015). Consumer Behavior: buying, having and being (11Th ed.). Pentrice Hall.





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