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Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond

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Giraffes, Cheetahs and Seniors, Oh My!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

How Road Scholar Effectively Targets Older Travelers

Intergenerational travel

2_Grandma_Safari

Road Scholar Couple Hiking

 

 

 

Creating Results’ Twitter feed recently shared an article about Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) and we were surprised by the flurry of new interest it sparked in this ‘grandaddy’ of educational travel resources for older adults. Several folks shared the tweet with their own followers and many said they were now checking out Road Scholar’s website.

It’s no wonder that Road Scholar is of interest. The 55+ travel market is 4.4 million strong and is made up of active older adults with the time, income and inclination to explore the world beyond their own neighborhoods. Whether living in homes they’ve owned for 30 years or in retirement communities, many boomers and seniors are filling their time (and fulfilling their bucket lists) by traveling. This group is geared toward learning, “giving back” and wellness, and the travel market is learning to cater to those interests.

Woman on Computer

An Untapped Boomer and Seniors Market

The U.S. Travel Association finds that boomer consumers comprise 15 percent of leisure travelers, averaging 4.4 leisure trips each year. They “consider travel a necessity, not a luxury,” according to Kim Ross of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives.

Elderhostel’s first official employee (and current Road Traveler participant) Mike Zoob puts it this way: “Today, it’s taken for granted that older adults are inquisitive and adventuresome, many of them with the means and the desire to travel and do interesting things.”

Travel and tourism researcher and blogger Bronwyn White asserts, “We will never see another demographic with so much spare cash and spare time in our marketing lifetimes–these people are gold and largely being ignored by the travel industry when it comes to marketing, particularly domestic marketing. They are being marketed to the same old way as we have been doing for the last however many years.”

Woman diverBeyond Baby Boomer Buying Power

Beyond their search for new experiences–and ability to pay for them–one factor that distinguishes how seniors approach travel is their desire for safety and comfort. Senior travel should offer adventure combined with a level of safety and security. ‘‘A lot of senior travellers are actively looking for new destinations. . . . ‘They are very active but they have to be catered for in a particular way… they want trips that are full of adventure but are well organised and not reckless,’’ says James Brodie, head of marketing at Harvey World Travel.

Dorinda Galbraith, a Road Scholar alum, explains her priorities for comfort, both physical and social: “I like Road Scholar because I can safely travel with a group [that] will be interested in learning. My meals, lodging, transportation and activities will all be arranged for me. I am single, and I love learning, adventure and meeting new people!”

A Well-Designed Online Tool for Older Travelers

Founded in 1975, Edlerhostel was a pioneer in providing affordable travel opportunities focused on lifelong learning for adults. Road Scholar continues to be the leading travel company catering to older adults, and its robust website not only reflects its mission, but is optimized for senior web usability.

The site provides comprehensive, intuitive online tools that allow this group to pursue their specific interests. Unlike “generic” travel websites (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz), which feature searches focused on location, accommodation type and price (and tend to have a heavy advertising component), Road Scholar offers multiple tiers of search topics targeted specifically to their demographic. With this in mind, below are some of the features we think stand out about their services and website.

RoadScholar_menusregion

Search by Region

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Search by Activity Level

7_RoadScholar_menus_activityLevel

Search by Area of Interest

Super Search

Road Scholar provides many more search criteria and menu options than AARP’s online travel section, for example, which looks more like mainstream commercial travel sites.

* Visitors can search for excursions based on areas of interest, such as Train Journeys, Art Lovers, National Parks, and Intergenerational Adventures such as Cheetahs, Giraffes and Zebras: A Safari in California With Your Grandchild.

* Trips can be searched with a filter for Activity Level (ranging from Easy to Challenging).

* Trips tailored to specific hobbies and activity types are offered, such as Birding, Crafts, Photography, Service Learning, Small Group, etc.

RoadScholar_safari

Easy Navigation

The site’s clean, simple design makes it easy to navigate–despite the relative complexity of the large number of travel options offered:

* The left sidebar features an extensive list of search/navigation topics that are easy to scroll through.

* The main content is rich with photos and brief, but informative, descriptions of their trips with an “Enroll Now!” button that leads directly to a page with detailed trip information.

* Each trip page includes highlights, program notes, activity level, trip cost, travel dates, traveler ratings and reviews, social sharing tools, Add to Wish List button, and links to other related information. These detailed pages do a great job showing both the professional organization of each trip and the adventure that awaits.

* The right sidebar contains a search window and a series of teasers in the form of graphic links to other site content.

For those seeking a rich, rewarding travel experience, it’s hard to beat the options offered by Road Scholar. And with a website that is so easy to use and offers so much information, they have set the bar high for others in this marketing space.

Coming soon! In a future blog post we will take a visual survey of a handful of other sites that either specifically target older travelers or have sections for senior travelers. Have a specific travel site you’d like us to check out? Share the link and any other insights using the comments section, below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Sixty and Social

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Happy short work week…I mean Monday.  Before the barbeques and fireworks that will take place this weekend as we celebrate our Independence, we want to first take a look back on the most notable mature marketing stories that had people talking and sharing.  We hope you’ll share (and comment) too.  Have a great week.

MOST CLICKED:  Bob Garfield’s reflections on turning 60 had many people clicking this past week.  In his June blog post Garfield reflected on the early passing of his father and penned a post to share all of the missed milestones, trials and triumphs with his dad.

Living is hard. Living is gorgeous.

This was how Garfield summed it up in his “update” to his dad – focusing mainly on the gorgeous parts of life.  From stories of time spent with grown daughters living hundreds of miles away and the teenage angst of his youngest, to world happenings including great TV shows and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the author’s piece perfectly captured a life lived to the fullest and the sadness of not being able to share it with his father.

Read the full post here.

MOST SHARED:  We work with many of our clients to effectively engage boomers and seniors through social media.  Recently we shared an article outlining tips for how to use social media to promote your organization and yourself.

Here are just a few of the tips within the article:

*  When using Twitter to engage with a person or group, create an initial interaction (comment on one of their tweets or retweet something they shared) and then follow them.

*  LinkedIn is a great way to network with industry professionals.  Through LinkedIn groups you can engage in conversation and network with a number of individuals at once.

*  Facebook groups function a lot like LinkedIn groups.  The platform will then suggest related groups that you can join to expand your reach even further.

While these are tips mainly focused on how to expand your personal network, many of the points hold true when promoting your organization and engaging senior prospects through social media.  Visit our website to discover how you can expand your social reach when you read a case study detailing how we worked with one developer of 55+ communities to reach their active adult prospects through social media.

 And be sure to check out more tips within the full article here.

WORTH REPEATING: Read the first in our new blog series of Marketing Engagement Stories, penned by our very own Beth Spohn.  The post includes insights from Larry Guengerich of Landis Communities on creative marketing engagement opportunities and take aways for senior living.  Read the full post here.

Marketing Engagement Stories — Landis Communities

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Last week we had the privilege to speak at LeadingAge Pennsylvania’s annual conference on “The End of Advertising. The Advent of Engagement.” There was a lot of enthusiasm for Creating Results’ definition of engagement: “the act of turning people on to your brand in a way that improves business.”

Definition of marketing engagement - Creating Results

Many attendees asked for additional ideas and best practices, so we’re kicking off a new series of posts – the “Engagement Stories.”

Our co-presenter in Hershey was Larry Guengerich of Landis Communities. The perfect senior living provider to kick off this series! Here is their story of creative (and effective) marketing engagement.

Where would Landis recommend other senior living communities focus their initial marketing engagement efforts?

Who better to “turn people on to your brand” than your employees and others invested in your organization’s success?

Guengerich says that engagement goes beyond the responsibility of the marketing and communications department at Landis.  When you think about marketing engagement as “the act of turning people on to your brand in a way that improves business” … keeping employees, board members and the members of the Lancaster community engaged with the organization is key to meeting their business goals. In this case, Landis is better able to offer safe homes, good jobs, excellent care and ample opportunities for all to demonstrate joy, compassion, integrity, stewardship and community (Landis’ core values).

One of the best ways to be engaging in your marketing is through “experiences”. But Landis doesn’t limit “engaging experiences” to just selling to their prospects.

Larry Zook, President/CEO of Landis Communities routinely facilitates communication throughout the organization by hosting “conversations with the president” events. As he explained in a recent blog post, Landis Communities is very intentional about hiring employees who, as one employee’s put it wants “to see their job not as what they have to get done, but to be at Landis Homes to bless residents and co-workers.”

How can you emulate this in your organization?

Zook advises that servant leaders should listen intently to what team members are passionate about, and then be a conduit of vision and necessary resources to support the team as they carrying out their mission.

Source: Landis Communities

Source: Landis Communities

This is exactly what happened with Landis Communities “living green ” initiative. A humble recycling program has grown into a culture of “being good stewards of natural resources” for employees, current and future residents.

A recent Landis Homes Facebook post illustrates how this offline engagement translated into online, marketing engagement. The shareable content shows the passions of residents involved in the living green initiative and invites others to join them in eradicating invasive plant species from a small woods on the campus of Landis Homes.

Good for the environment and an illustration of how living at a Landis Community fosters a sense of purpose among residents, employees and others engaged with the organization.

What advice can you give for reaching people not yet involved with your organization?

Engage your greater community, says Zook.

When Landis Communities was planning to build Steeple View Lofts – urban loft-style 55+ apartments in walkable downtown Lancaster, Zook says they “connected with the local “village movement” group, the Lancaster Downtowners, and invited them to fill two of four focus groups.” The Lancaster Downtowners are persons age 62+ who live throughout Lancaster City. They engage with each other in social and educational activities, plus they have an on-call volunteer support coordinator to help each other as needs arise – the ideal folks to give Landis unique perspective on a new type of housing for their organization to sponsor.

The Downtowners shared insights that were ultimately incorporated into the design of Steeple View Lofts. One such suggestion was including community rooms, each with a unique purpose on every floor.

These rooms have been a significant contributor to the sense of community among the residents. For instance residents use them for pot lucks  they organize to get to know their neighbors from every floor. Those pot lucks demonstrate the vibrant community spirit, and have become a marketing point for Landis.

Please leave us a comment below with your creative marketing engagement stories! And subscribe to this blog for more inspiration on how to keep engaging ALL of your stakeholders.

“Fun Size” Sweet Somethings from Hershey – #15LeadingAgePA Conference

Friday, June 19th, 2015
T-shirt - I'm not short, I'm fun-sized. Photo Credit: BigNutTees.com

Photo Credit: BigNutTees.com

Today the Creating Results team is wrapping up its time in Hershey, Pennsylvania, after a wonderful week at the annual LeadingAge PA conference. Things I love about this meeting: the speakers, the inspiring conversations in the hallways, the chance to exchange ideas and resources with dedicated senior living professionals. Things I’m not crazy about: the temperature in the main hall (arctic), the lack of wifi or even cell reception in some of the breakout rooms … Because of the latter it was hard to share in real-time many of the great senior living marketing insights we gained.

So, here are some “fun size” take-aways from #15LeadingAgePA.

Session: “Adapting to Change: Defend your market position and growth mission”

Speakers Lisa McCracken of Ziegler and Perry Aycock of Retirement Dynamics focused on the various change signals being sent to non-profit CCRCs.

McCracken noted that some organizations assume that they’re set to capitalize on the increased numbers of American elders because they’re already in senior living. Her point was that even though the age wave is coming your way, the consumers within that wave may not want what you offer. She shared a Will Rogers quote: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Demographic growth is obviously a major signal of change, as shown on this slide:

 

Demographic growth - Signals of change - LeadingAge PA 2015 conference

Some possible responses to these signals? The speakers touched on several ideas, including: shifting focus from nursing care to population health (which is more in line with the desires/demands of future younger residents); exploring continuing care at home; and “unbundling” services much like telecommunications companies have done.

Aycock pointed out that processes put in place for efficiency or quality or whatever reason can become bureaucracies that impede CCRC innovation. New competitors in Independent Living and Assisted Living are slipping in quietly because they’re smaller, require less start-up capital and less land. Some 100+ year old senior care organizations are too slow to react because their processes make them rigid.

RELATED: What senior living can learn from nimble innovators such as Southwest and Marriott – http://bit.ly/1K1L3oo

Session: “Solutions for Living Life to the Fullest”

The inimitable Diana Nyad held all the delegates in thrall with her personal story of challenges and triumphs, leading up to (but certainly not ending with!) her successful swim from Cuba to Key West.

Do you want to learn how to “just keep swimming” towards a goal in your personal or professional life? Or do you want a master class in storytelling?

Either reason will do for you to check out Diana Nyad’s TED Talk, which captures some of the magical story we enjoyed: http://bit.ly/1LjMJvu

Session: “Leading with Strengths to Create Engagement & Well-Being”

Speaker Tom Rath demonstrated how meaningful work leads to positive daily experiences which leads to true well-being. More importantly, he made the business case for leaders to care about and invest in the well-being of their team. Rath noted, however, that the idea of investment shouldn’t be a deterrent. “It doesn’t take a lot of money to have great days or make great days for other people,” he said.

What makes work meaningful? Rath noted three attributes — small wins, doing something others and the feedback loop between seeing meaning and creating more:

Tom Rath - attributes of meaningful work - LeadingAge PA 2015 Conference

The timing of the talk was wonderful, I must confess. Just the day before our entire Creating Results team had met for a bi-annual development workshop. A large section of the day was spent on the WHY of our agency. WHY do we do what we do? WHY do we celebrate and work to continually move mature marketing forward?

The consensus was that it’s because our team finds meaning in helping others get the benefits of new opportunities and new thinking provided by senior living, travel, 55+ housing and other clients. Our WHY is that it’s both fun and rewarding to be creating results together, collaboratively with those clients.

It was pretty fun and rewarding to hear Tom Rath reinforce Creating Results’ thinking! What do you think? How is your organization investing in/promoting well-being? Please share your thoughts below.

Session: “Spinning Your Organization’s Story into Marketing Gold”

Asbury Communities‘ Cathy Canning and Maura Richards spun some gold of their own with a lively and very transparent discussion of the what, why and how to of content marketing for senior living.

“Content has a cost. It takes time. It’s an investment,” said Canning. She encouraged senior living providers to be strategic about the stories they try to tell and then to repackage and repurpose content to maximize the ROI. Take a press release and cut it into pieces for the blog, tweak and put in your newsletter, and so on.

Stealable idea! To reward team members for their contributions to the blog and other communications, they invented the “Azzy Awards.” Instead of a thank you email, employees were recognized as the “Media Darling” or the “Eyes & Ears” of the effort. Definitely fun-sized!

Session: “Tapping the Independent Living Middle Income Market”

Steven Jeffrey of Ziegler set the stage for this terrific panel as follows: for most of the providers in the senior living industry, for most of the industry’s existence, the 90-10 rule has applied. Only 10% of older adults that could be served by CCRCs can afford this option. “What if we could find models that are more open to the other 90%?”

Steven Jeffrey, Ziegler - growth opportunities with middle income seniors

I connected this to the session above about signals for change, because the signal says there is a huge income gap coming along with the age wave. The middle income Boomer is one of the largest growing segments. While senior community living is a wonderful track to be on, if we can’t make it affordable we’ll be run over.

Jeffrey had recruited two fantastic speakers for frank discussions of how their organizations have risen to this challenge. Keith Frndak of Concordia Lutheran Ministries put it plainly: “If you want to serve the middle market, build a product FOR that market.” He said too many providers fail because they build Cadillacs for a market that truly desires (and can afford) Toyotas.

Concordia buys troubled properties and are extremely active in keeping construction costs to a minimum, all to reduce capital costs. Then it’s a heavy emphasis on aging in place and a la carte services, not providing support before it’s really needed. “Your goal is to keep them independent longer,” Frndak said, as it’s the mission AND it’s going to keep healthcare costs down.

Keeping costs down but expectations high was Concordia’s key to success. His team is not satisfied with 90% occupancy, the goal for many non-profit CCRCs. They aim for 97.7% occupancy; this keeps them from being overly cautious in approving applications and means more middle-income seniors can benefit from Concordia’s communities.

Jeff Davis of Presbyterian Senior Living said their organization discovered affordable housing for older adults in 2005. The organization has 29 MidAtlantic locations with a range of services from adult day to CCRCs. It’s a type of a Robin Hood mentality — they take from the Independent Living entry fee resources to support what they offer to low income and acute.

Two great quotes from Davis about why to even consider middle-income senior housing:

* “As non-profits we are organized in the public trust to meet an unmet need.”

* “If we [non-profit senior living] don’t adapt … somebody else is going to give our market what we couldn’t seem to do.”

 

What is your organization doing to adapt? Do these take-aways resonate with you? Please share your sweet somethings in the comments below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Tribes and Jibes

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Quote: Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. Betty Friedan.

This week’s round-up of the top Mature Marketing links of the week illustrates the strength of (aging) tribes and the opportunities provided by originality. On with the links!

1. MOST CLICKED: Regardless of what age you’re marketing too, if you’re marketing online you keep one eye on your consumer and two on Google. When is it appropriate to stray from best practices and ignore Google? Mark Schaefer defines five situations when you can ignore the search engine and succeed through originality, including:

* When You’re Epic – “If you’re creating content so consistently compelling that you have become part of the conversation, you really can work outside the boundaries of Google, right?”

* When You’re Huge – and he’s not talking about being the biggest provider of assisted living in Tennessee …

* When It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Schaefer points out “over time, Google has made its search results highly-tailored to your environment. Where are you? Who are you? Who are your friends? This has resulted in an ever-tightening bubble of personalized results.” In the future, he suggests, there might be new tools that find items with even greater relevance and push them to you.

That said, Creating Results’ research shows baby boomers and seniors are not yet those using new tools. As we wrote in Social, Silver Surfers:

“it’s Google’s world and we all live in it. 71% of all the recent movers in our study used Search Engines as part of their move decision.”

Chart: online tools used by recent movers, by age.

Source: Social, Silver Surfers ebook — http://bit.ly/SSS13blog

So perhaps it’s a bit early for most readers of this blog to stop jibing with Google.

Read the full post: http://bit.ly/1FL8wEx

2. MOST SHARED: How do Australia’s consumer “tribes” shop? A leading forecaster says it’s important to understand the differences between generations, as GenY is set to overtake baby boomers as the nation’s biggest spenders. According to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald,

“Baby Boomers, now mostly in their 60s, are being called “flat agers” because they do not want to be defined by their age. They are travel happy, meaningful spenders … Next are the “multi-tasking” Generation Jones-ers, now in their 50s, who are community-focused, cautious spenders. They prefer high-quality, sustainable products from brands with a strong back story.”

I’m not sure I’d agree with all of the forecaster’s assessments — especially with the creative labeling of a “cohort” born after 2003 as “phygitally active” — but it’s worth a read: http://bit.ly/1G6MoYo

3. Also of note:

Did you know that jibe can mean both to be compatible with and an insulting remark? You might be offended by those who jibe at older adults, as was Marc Agronin in the Wall Street Journal, who explored “Why is aging still a joke?”: http://on.wsj.com/1Kkrx6W

Or you might jibe with this cartoon, by the talented John Atkinson:

Cartoon - Vintage Social Networking - John Atkinson, WrongHands

Source: http://wronghands1.com/

Please share a comment and let us know which part of this post jibed with your tribe!

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – A Positive Effect

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The greatness of a man is  not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. - Bob Marley

On this day in 1981, musician Bob Marley died. I found myself thinking of this quote after having the true privilege to hear Nancy Frates speak at the LeadingAge Massachusetts conference last week.

Frates is the woman who helped start the Ice Bucket Challenge, the social media juggernaut that raised funds and awareness for ALS last year. Frates’ son Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 27. His nearly immediate response was to tell his family that this was not a moment to be wasted. They were going to “change the trajectory of the disease.”

Team FrateTrain already has — more than $150 million raised, millions of people more educated/aware … Even got the global health community to coalesce around one name for the disease. An incredibly positive effect.

(If you weren’t at the LeadingAge Massachusetts conference, here’s a link to a TED talk Nancy gave just a few months after the Ice Bucket Challenge swept the globe.)

Nancy Frates’ frank, funny and ferocious approach is a great match for senior services, where countless servant-leaders change the trajectory of aging.

And with that, on to the week’s top links for those marketing senior living, fundraising, or otherwise trying to motivate older adults.

1. MOST CLICKED: In 2008, 45% of RNs were aged 50 years or better; is there a mass exodus of experienced nurses coming? A Center for Health Affairs Report addresses the impact of Baby Boomers on healthcare from several angles, including workforce challenges.

“One of the most frequent causes for concern in the healthcare workforce is the rising average age of registered nurses. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average age of registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S. has been steadily increasing for the past decade; however, with 45 percent of nurses 50 years of age or older in 2008, a mass exodus of experienced nurses is expected in the near future. Combined with the impending uptick in the demand for healthcare services, ensuring additional workers are seeking a career in the nursing field will be essential to properly caring for the elderly.”

Read the report: http://ow.ly/JDcMa

2. MOST SHARED: 10 Facts from the Real World for marketing “experts” by the Ad Contrarian, including these gems:

* 96% of video viewing is currently done on a television. 4% is done on a web device.

* In Europe and the US, people would not care if 92% of brands disappeared.

The Ad Contrarian is often salty, always enlightening. Read the whole post: http://bit.ly/1KXbevp

Have Baby Boomer, Will Travel

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

How to Effectively Leverage The Web To Attract Baby Boomers

According to a recent finding by Gallup, 26% of baby boomers are spending more on travel.  Quirk’s Marketing Research highlighted a study examining buying behaviors, and found that 90% of boomers are making their trBaby Boomers and Spending from Gallopavel purchases online.

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.

RELATED:
Social, Silver Surfers
Traveling Baby Boomer Pet Peeves

“Mobilegeddon”: Should Websites Targeting Older Adults Panic or Prepare?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

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.”

Google’s Mobile-FriendlyTest makes it easy to see how your site stacks up to this new algorithm. Hopefully you see a message like the one:Websites for older adults must be mobile friendly. Google message showing mobile friendly.

 

If you don’t get a mobile-friendly diagnosis, you’ll see this:

Message that appears if a website for older adults is not mobile friendly, per Google.

This ‘not-mobile-friendly’ ranking means that it’s time to look at your website and identify how you can adjust  your site design to comply with this change.

Do Older Adults Even Use Mobile Devices?

There is a silver lining: if your audience is the mature consumer, you can take a breath and not panic (yet). At this stage in the game, Nielson reports that 46% of 65+ers own a smartphone. But only 19% of them  use their smartphones for internet use.

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.

RELATED:

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Top This!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

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.

Learn more.

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.

Click here to read the full article.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – No Retirement for You

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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.

Read the full article here.

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.

Do you own your mobile device or does it own you?

Read the full article here.

 

 


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