Creating Results is a full-service strategic marketing, public relations and advertising agency with more than 15 years of experience. Our expertise is motivating mature 40+ consumers, including Baby Boomers, Silent (Ike) Generation and Gen X.
Boomers and seniors are a perfect target market for travel, as they have the most disposable income and time. But are our websites firing on all cylinders to effectively capture this cohort and lead them to purchase? Creating Results’ Social, Silver Surfers research uncovered a number of website “pet peeves” that serve as top turn-offs for boomers and beyond. Tops on the list of things to avoid: poor navigation and difficult to locate contact information.
Here are some tips for what you can do to help your travel website capture the boomer travel bookers:
* Make it EASY - integrate all the tools they will need to book a complete trip- from room reservations to trip planners and highlight the availability of these tools so visitors use (and value) them.
* Make it FRIENDLY - 67% of our mature respondents to Social, Silver Surfers noted a desire to have printer-friendly pages.
* Make it ENGAGING – It should be fun for site visitors to discover the many facets of your city, town or attraction. Ultimately, excitement leads to action, so make it vibrant in both look and content.
Discover how Creating Results helped position one local Convention & Visitors Bureau digitally, leading to more traffic and more visitation. Click here to read the case study.
“As you grow older you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
- Audrey Hepburn (born this day in 1929)
Every Monday, we round-up the mature marketing items that got the most engagement across our various social channels and deliver them directly to you. Read on for last week’s top attention-getters!
NBC TODAY Show http://on.today.com/1DZGTYh
1. MOST CLICKED: People are aging more slowly than we think. That’s the conclusion reached by researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS) in Austria and Stony Brook University in New York. Per NBC Health contributor Joan Raymond,
“In this new study, researchers looked at the population composition of 39 European countries. They then compared the proportion of the population that was categorized as “old” by virtue of chronology alone — being age 65 — to the proportion based on a newer measure of age that they developed, which includes changes in life expectancy.”
In other words, longer life spans have meant that concepts such as “middle age” are shifting and changing. A TODAY Show piece looks at the research and adds a little of what Creating Results calls “me-search” — anecdotes and personal takes on the topic.
* The World’s Oldest Nations by Population and the Implications. While Japan keeps its hold on the #1 spot, Europe claims the rest of the spots on a top 10 list of the oldest countries.
“Demographic experts suggest that the world as a whole has been aging rapidly over the last two decades: UN population projections for 1999 showed, for example, that more than half the global population was older than 26.4 years of age.” http://bit.ly/1JkDVRK
* Professional experience as a remote programmer and personal experience as a caregiver led one man to focus his company on aging-in-place technology. An interesting look at some of the new health tech. http://bit.ly/1GUiZ3N
* Could artificial intelligence technology begin to impact 50+ communities? Senior Housing News suggests IBM’s Watson could be “The Brains Behind Smarter Senior Living.” http://bit.ly/1F1jifC
* I often feel chained to my mobile phone. Apparently, that attitude shifts with age, as seniors are the age group most likely to say a smartphone is “a liberating experience.” http://pewrsr.ch/1FKqsng
We hope you’ll feel free to tell us how you feel about this post, or any mature marketing topic! Please use the comments tool, below.
April 21st marked the launch of Google’s latest algorithm update that is making significant waves for many businesses and their websites. The change positions mobile-friendly sites at the top of online searches conducted from mobile devices, making non-mobile friendly sites more difficult to find.
For the many businesses targeting older adults that rely on organic (unpaid) search as a primary driver of website traffic, this could mean a major negative impact on their results; hence the creatively-coined term, “Mobilegeddon.” As you’ll read below, the use of mobile devices continues to increase across all ages, so your website should be responsively designed to effectively reach the growing number of mobile users.
What Exactly Is A Mobile-Friendly Site?
According to Google’s John Mueller, “A mobile-friendly site is one that you can easily read and use on a smartphone, by only having to scroll up or down. Swiping left or right to search for content, zooming in to read text, or not being able to see the content at all make a site harder for users on mobile phones.”
Similarly, Pew reports 25% of those aged 65+ now own a tablet (a 38% increase in just a year), and that number is on the rise. Therefore most organic traffic for websites targeting older adults comes from desktop searches – and this algorithm update will not affect those searches.
While the world is going mobile fast, the realm of mature consumers is moving at a different pace. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider a mobile-friendly site, as the number of smartphone and tablet users for those aged 50+ is rising (and rising quickly).
What To Do Now
Getting ahead of the game and going responsive is your best bet to ensure your website renders the best across all devices – desktop, mobile and tablet – so that when your prospects do catch up to the younger population, your site is ready.
When you check your site and find that it is “not mobile-friendly” – don’t panic. But DO make a near-term plan for converting your site to a responsive design platform to give your prospective residents an optimal user experience, no matter what device they view it on.
If you want some guidance on where to start – drop us a line.
Happy Monday! This week our mature marketing stories of the past week which drew the most interest explore a new top 10 list and a tale of 4 technologies. Have something to share? We’d love to hear from you – just leave your thoughts in our comment section.
MOST CLICKED: If you want to reside in one of the “most livable neighborhoods”, a new AARP tool suggests you try Madison, Wisconsin or Downtown Crossing in Boston. According to an article in USA Today, the tool was designed to help everyone, including the mature consumer. If living in Wisconsin or Boston doesn’t sound appealing try Sioux Falls, South Dakota or downtown Seattle. Both are tops on the list.
The ranking looks at several factors including housing, health, environment, transportation and more. For senior living communities, residing within one of these top areas could be an important distinction to highlight as you share what places your communities heads above the rest.
The tool can help city planners, local officials and others who want to improve their cities so people can age in place, which is what most older adults want to do, Harrell says. The group has expanded the definition of aging in place to include people either remaining in their home or staying in the same community in other possible housing options.
Not looking for just most livable when considering where to live? The index also looks at areas based on other considerations. For example, if you want to stay healthy consider Novato, CA. Want to make new friends? Your best bet is Richmond, VA.
MOST SHARED: According to a recent article in Ad Age, there are 4 technologies that are emerging as leads for how marketers approach storymaking.
Now, I should caution regarding use of any new technologies for reaching a mature market. Bright and shiny is nice…but only if it is effective. As with any new strategy or avenue, it’s important to have an understanding of your audience and if they will be receptive to a new channel before you put your marketing eggs in that basket. That being said, these are very interesting and exciting ways to harness technology to tell the story of your brand.
In the article the author highlights 4 specific technologies as well as recommendations for how they can be effectively leveraged. These technologies include:
* Video streaming: Specifically, using this avenue to make your audience a part of the story through social integration.
* Wearables: Using the POV from wearable technologies to create a brand story unique to each and every individual.
* Virtual Reality: With this the individual becomes a part of the story.
* Messaging apps: Creating unique messages based on messaging app portal for a branded experience.
According to the article, when it comes to using technology:
The most successful uses of technology will make the technology itself invisible, and the storymaking itself may go unnoticed. Your audience will just appreciate that your messaging speaks to them in such a relevant way that it’s a springboard for creating their stories.
Happy Monday! This week our mature marketing stories of the week focus on how poor planning can thwart your retirement dreams and the impact of cyber distractions on productivity. Have something to share? We’d love to hear from you.
MOST CLICKED: I admit it, the thought of retirement and how far away it may be has given me pause when it comes to thinking about how well I should be planning NOW for my future. And it looks like I’m not alone in this misguided mindset. Lack of financial planning hits all generations…but boomers regret it the most. This is according to insights within a recent Chicago Tribune article. The article featured insights from a Genworth Study that examined the financial planning behaviors (or lack of) among all generations.
But ask Baby Boomers now in or nearing retirement and they will tell you the one thing they wish they could have more of is time. Not only time to enjoy life, but time to go back and start investing to make their money grow. Time leverages money.
More insights from the study:
* More than 1/2 of all adults have made no financial arrangements for their retirement.
* 4 in 10 Boomers have noted regrets about not sufficiently planning.
* 47% of unmarried seniors rely on social security for 90% of their monthly income.
* 70% of people will require long term care at some point in their lives.
The article offers the following advice: save now. Even if in small increments, automatically deducting money now whether in the form of your 401K or other auto-savings will help you in the long run. Because no matter how long we deny it, retirement will be more expensive than we plan and the more we can do now to prep for it the better. Advice I will certainly take myself.
MOST SHARED: Cyber distractions are real…and, well, a huge distraction. 70% of children age 8 and under used some sort of mobile device last year, setting a trend for even more cyber distractions as we age, according to an article from the BBC.
While electronic interruptions disturb people of all ages, millennials are more tightly tethered to their computers and phones, obsessively checking texts, email and social media sites.
In a world where information is just a check of the phone away, many are getting so distracted by what the article termed ‘cyberslacking’.
Research shows that millennials are more likely to say that this attachment has led to a decrease in work productivity. But many are saying that they want to do better, with 70% of respondents to a recent survey examining the phenomena reporting interest in tactics for strengthening their focus. Companies are even exploring ways they can assist in this renewed desire to step away from the smartphone, with no device policies at meetings or encouraging email checks just twice daily.
Email is still the top preferred digital channel among baby boomers and seniors. This fact was uncovered through Creating Results national Social, Silver Surfers research in 2010 and 2013. Recent MarketingSherpa research noted the same trend when they surveyed people regarding their preferred channels of communication with brands.
According to the article:
While most people preferred email across all age groups, email was the exception when it came to digital media. There was in fact a pretty significant digital divide:
* 27% of 18 to 34 year olds want text messages from companies versus 6% of people 65 and over
* 33% of 18 to 34 year olds want to communicate through social media with companies versus 4% of people 65 and over
When Creating Results surveyed more than 800 boomers and seniors as part of our Social, Silver Surfers research we found similar insights.
* What was their favorite tool for sharing website content? 77% said they email links to friends and family, using the built-in “email-a-friend” tool.
* What is the dominant social platform? When asked to name a social network, 11% of Social, Silver Surfers cited email! For them, email IS social and this preference grows stronger with age.
In the Social, Silver Surfers ebook we even note that if you look at the top websites visited by affluent, 65+ seniors (per Quantcast), several popular websites are actually email-based portals such as Comcast.net. For many if not most older adults, email is their gateway to other online destinations, tools and purchases.
What’s Holding Your Email Program Down?
Yet … despite the fact that older adults use email … and older adults want brands to use email to communicate with them … many marketers are not investing in their email program and/or they find maximizing their email efforts challenging.
This spring we plan to launch a series of posts on MatureMarketingMatters.com that focuses on email marketing to baby boomers ands seniors. We’ll share insights, case studies, inspiring examples of effective campaigns. To make sure these tips are most relevant and useful to YOU, please tell us:
Spring has sprung..as have my allergies – but that won’t stop us from explore this week’s mature marketing stories of note that had people talking and clicking. Read on to discover how technology and postponing retirement may impact your boomer and senior target market. Have something to share? We’d love to hear your comments.
MOST CLICKED: “There’s an app for that”…and boomers are using them. According to a recent chart from GlobalWebIndex, 17% of Boomers age 45 – 54 and 9% of those 55 – 64 used a shopping app in the last month. The insights are based on a recent survey of the online buying habits of people in more than 32 countries. While the younger demographics are more inclined to utilize apps for shopping, more mature consumers are adapting to the trend. And as more people own smartphones this number is sure to increase.
So what does this mean for those targeting the mature consumer? Even if you do not offer online shopping, it’s important to understand that Boomers and Seniors are on-the-go and mobile. In fact, we discovered in our Social, Silver Surfersresearch that 37% of boomers and seniors will reject your community based solely on your website and their ability to easily access their desired information. Ensure all of your digital efforts are optimized for mobile and tablets to ensure ease of interaction with your website to effectively capture this market.
MOST SHARED: Putting off retirement could translate to a longer, happier life. It’s true, at least according to an article in MoneySense. In the article the author referenced the book The Longevity Project, which detailed 8 decades of research following the lives of 1,500 people. This survey found that many who put off retiring reported living longer and being happier.
Specifically, the article highlighted the following points:
* Life is expensive enough but even the prospect of living longer than you once thought should give you pause about retiring at the peak of your powers.
* If you value a long life, a happy productive career is likely to aid your longevity. And if you’re working longer, that solves the problem of running out of money before you run out of life.
For senior living communities, the reality is that your younger residents may still be working when they move to your community. Plan programs and offerings in the evenings and weekends so they can still enjoy the lifestyle you offer and socialize with fellow residents.
WORTH REPEATING: Don’t forget to read our March Madness blog post by Creating Results’ own Jessica Ruhle, where she shares insights and opportunities from the recent LeadingAge conferences in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Creating Results’ Top 6 Takeaways from LeadingAge MA and RI Conferences
March is not only a great time in college basketball, but it has also been an exciting time for Creating Results when it comes to attending and gaining insights from senior living conferences. We’ve gathered all of the top tips and tricks from the various sessions to give you ways to improve your marketing “game.” From major trends in advertising to navigating social media, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 3-pointers from two recent conferences that will help you and your team.
1st Half: Ziegler/LeadingAge Massachusetts Senior Living Symposium
Insight: 8.8% of Massachusetts 65+ seniors are at or below the poverty level (vs. 9.6% of U.S. seniors).
Speaker: Lisa McCracken, Ziegler
Session: The State of Senior Living Capital Markets
Marketing Action: It’s beneficial to know the trends in the both the poverty levels and the other end of the spectrum so that you can speak to the correct consumer. This is why we advise our clients to purchase mailing lists based on their net worth and their income value. Otherwise if you’re selling a luxury product you would be wasting money by sending a message about your community to those that are in this growing group of older adults.
Insight: “33% of time is wasted in Board meetings because we are doing more telling than engaging.”
Speaker: Melissa Radford, LeadingAge
Session: (Re) Engage Your Board
Marketing Action: If you’re finding that you’re wasting time at Board meetings, have an agenda, send it out and get buy-in ahead of time and stick to it.
Insight: Creating Results’ definition of engagement is “the act of turning people on to your brand in a way that improves your business.”
Session: The End of Advertising – The Advent of Engagement
Marketing Action: Make sure you know your audience and who you are engaging with. What is of value to them? Use your insights and learnings to tailor a segmented message to this group. Building a relationship will go much farther than a sales pitch. If you missed this session, click here to download a complimentary whitepaper around one of the ways Todd and Erin recommended to engage your audience, experiential marketing.
2nd Half: LeadingAge RI: Be the Voice
Insight: By giving people purpose (jobs, participation, satisfaction) you tend to have greater results in improving their quality of life, even in later stages of memory loss.
Speaker: Sharon Johnson, The Hearthstone Institute
Session: Research-based Strategies for Creating Meaningful Engagement for Persons Living With Dementia
Marketing Action: Is there a local organization or charity nearby? Form a committee within your memory-care to get residents involved. Give them each a task or a job based on their ability. Whether it’s making cookies for a child-care center or setting up a table in the local park, this could not only foster a more vibrant environment within your community, it would be a great PR opportunity!
Insight: “Passion is what creates a champion in the soul of an ordinary person.”
Speaker: Matt Jones, Motivational Speaker, 3-Time Cancer Survivor and marathon runner
Session: Aging Services is a Marathon
Marketing Action: Use the passions of those within your community or organization to highlight the benefits you offer seniors. Client North Hill does a great job of this. We helped put the ideas to “paper” and created a video series of both residents and team members telling their stories about their passions and what gives them purpose.
Must not eat jelly beans for breakfast … must not eat jelly beans for breakfast …
1. MOST SHARED: 3 Senior Housing Marketing Strategies That Deliver Results
Last fall at a terrific conference called SMASH, reporter Emily Study and I got to talking about the “micro yes.” As she explains in an article for Senior Housing News:
“In the sales world, it’s called a ‘micro-yes.’ In the senior living world, it’s called guiding a lead.
But the idea is the same: Marketers and senior living providers, alike, must guide customers and prospects along through a series of smaller decision points, or micro-yeses, to get to the ultimate yes, which is the purchase — or the move-in.”
Our conversation continued beyond the conference as Study gathered three examples of “micro yes” techniques that shorten the sales cycle: experiential marketing events, guest-stay programs and “gold card” waitlists.
The article published last week features examples from continuing care retirement communities and active adult developers from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and Hawaii and a quote or two from yours truly.
* 9% of 55-64 yr old baby boomers are using shopping apps (vs. 30% of 25-34 yr olds) — GlobalWebIndex http://bit.ly/1Cs8FKY
* It seems someone was diving deep into the Creating Results Twitter feed because we ended up with quite a number of clicks on this blog item from April of 2013, “Counting Our Blessings.” http://bit.ly/1JePPNl
The post was prompted by the Boston Marathon bombings. The sentiment holds true and seems appropriate as we wrap up a holiday weekend and near the two-year anniversary of the tragedy: We count our blessings … including you our readers … daily.
Our readers in the American Northeast may scoff at this headline and the thought that anything will ever bloom again. But in Oregon this past weekend they celebrated Cherry Blossom Day, and one of my favorite bloggers posted this gorgeous pic from Georgia. (Thanks for permission to share, Ashley!) There is the promise of spring.
In the meantime we promise to share the top links for 50+ marketing from the past week! Please share your thoughts — on marketing, on boomers, on blooming — in the comments.
1. MOST CLICKED: Multifamily Executive projects that senior housing will “boom” in 2015, based on a Marcus & Millichap report.
The report estimates that 11,600 units of independent living are under construction this year. This number is well-above the 3,000 independent-living units added to the nation’s stock last year. Meanwhile, the report also says there are about 18,900 units of assisted living and 6,800 skilled nursing units under construction this year.
The article also identified the top 10 states for senior housing construction. At the top of the list are Florida, Texas, Ohio and … Minnesota?
2. MOST SHARED: “A story of loss, change, growing older and family conversations.” That’s the kicker for Alan Wolkenstein’s piece called Carolyn Called, which explores how adult children and the senior they love found themselves at an impasse.
“Carolyn called several months ago. She had heard of me through her realtor, in that the two of us have collaborated on a number of home sales that involved elders and their adult children. Each of the situations was an emotional mess, and so was this one. Carolyn and her two sibs had ‘pushed’ their widowed father to sell his condo and sign up for a retirement home. Now, he was refusing to sign the papers for the sale, pack his ‘stuff,’ and move. He was essentially doing nothing in their view…but he was doing something.”
Read about the solutions being explored by these boomers and their caree in The New Social Worker: http://bit.ly/1BJ6p2Q
3. Of note:
* Boomer Segmentation: CMO.com recently published a piece in which the author “learned something very revealing about the Baby Boomer generation.” Eric Holtzclaw learned, it seems, what Brent Green wrote about 9 years ago in Marketing to Leading Edge Baby Boomers, that the cohort actually can be seen as two groups.
Holtzclaw calls the first, born 1946-1955, the “Pre-Vietnam War Boomers” in his CMO.com piece; Green’s seminal book explores this Leading Edge cohort in depth. The second group Holtzclaw labels “Post-Vietnam War Boomers,” born 1956-1964; those marketing to older adults should be sure to read Green’s thoughts on Trailing Edge Boomers, aka Generation Jones.
It just seemed a good time to encourage those newer to 50+ marketing … perhaps attracted by all that senior housing construction (grin!) … to take advantage of the great research and analysis that’s been done in the past.