Rogers Targets Seniors

by Jordan Richardson on October 27, 2010

There’s no question that companies of all stripes engage in some form of target marketing as they narrow their fragmented demographics to specific market groups to specifically aim campaigns at those groups. Senior citizens, teenagers, children, young adults, adults, married adults, single adults, and so on comprise a good sample of the spectrum of various market groups. Some companies narrow these groups down even more, as we’ve seen with Telus’ recently uncorked Caya venture.

Sometimes chasing down a market makes perfect sense, while other times it doesn’t. While the case of Caya stands out as an instance of marketing savvy gone in a strange, unnecessary and potentially offensive direction, Rogers’ latest foray into targeted marketing has a more legitimate feel.

Rogers is going after senior citizens by releasing a device specifically designed for older users. With shades of the Jitterbug dancing in their heads, Rogers has come up with the Doro Phone Easy 410gsm for its product.

Considered a basic and easy-to-use phone ideal for seniors due to the big buttons and spacious keypad, the Doro Phone Easy 410gsm seems like it could go a long way for Rogers. I’d like to meet the person who decided that us younger folks wanted less space and smaller buttons and pick his brain for a scrap of reasoning, but I digress.

Rogers is offering the phone at $99 no term or with a two-year term for $24.99. Conspicuous by its absence is the three-year term.

The phone has a pricing plan called the “Essential Connect Package” that is essentially your garden variety set of prices: $15 for 100 weekday minutes, $20 for 150 weekday minutes, $25 for 200 weekday minutes. You can pay an extra $5 for call display or an extra $7 for call display and voicemail.

We are, without question, at an interesting point in our planet’s history. We exist in a time when we may be alive with anywhere from three to six generations at the same time, so population aging is a very real topic. With declining fertility rates and longer lifespans, the senior citizen is fast becoming the consumer market of choice. While many companies still focus their advertising dollars on the young, the aging boomer generation will soon be holding the vast majority of the cards. Health care facilities are already preparing for the impact, so it stands to reason that retail would follow suit.

And that’s just it: why are cell phones and other tech products for senior citizens so rare? It seems to me that the older generation is being under-served by today’s tech giants and telecom companies. Instead of helping them understand and adapt to a rushing wave of perplexing products and services, modern corporations are neglecting seniors by charging them for paper billing and ignoring their basic needs.

What makes more sense to you: a store designed exclusively to target consumers based on sexual orientation or a store designed exclusively to assist senior citizens with understanding and procuring tech products that they can actually use?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Klassen October 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

With Telus focusing on the LGBT community and Rogers focusing on the Seniors community, when will someone focus on the one forgotten demographic, white men aged 18-35!?!?

Jordan Richardson October 27, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I think Bell Canada is planning to release its “Red Meat, Porn and Pro Wrestling” package soon, but I can’t confirm or deny its existence.

Beryle Chambers May 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I obtained the Doro phone with the essential plan because it was “designed for seniors”. I liked the big buttons, volume control and the Emergency button on the back. What Rogers does not advertise in its commercials is that the PHONE CANNOT WORK IN ALL AREAS. I live in Vancouver and there are distinct areas of town in which I cannot get a signal at all. One of those areas is the Killarney Shopping Center at 49th and Elliott. I can get no signal there at all – and since that is one of the places I visit most because I have family in that neighborhood – I need a phone that works so I can call a cab to take me home. I have called tech support twice and they tried to reset it but no luck. My sister tried her cell phone, got a signal and called tech support for me. They said that the Doro is an old cell phone version and they can’t fix it. I called Rogers and was told that in the 3 year contract I signed, (in the fine print) it says they cannot guarantee cell service in Canada. When I got the phone the sales rep assured me “don’t worry – that would hardly ever happen.” I told him that the advertising campaign made no mention of lack of cell reception and is misleading to seniors, the disabled and low income customers. He would not be moved. He suggested sending me another Doro phone. What is the point of that if I can’t get service somewhere because of its network capability? Finally, he agreed to send me a refurbished different kind of phone – but with a limited warranty. Pretty sneaky of Rogers. Targeting seniors is right. A senior with the Doro phone is a target for assault if they can’t call for help on the cell phone they bought to keep them safe. We may be old but we are not stupid, we may be fragile but we still have worth. For shame, Rogers, for shame!

olive le clair June 30, 2012 at 3:04 pm

thank you so much for this info as it stands i was on my way out the door to buy this dora ohone you saved my butt thanks olive

olive le clair June 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm

thank you so much for this info as it stands i was on my way out the door to buy this dora phone you saved my butt thanks olive

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