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Older Adults and Technology: Two Groups of Seniors Emerge

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

In early April, the Pew Research Center released its latest report on Older Adults and Technology Use. The subhead for the report tells the tale: “Adoption is increasing, but many seniors remain isolated from digital life.” Indeed, the researchers identified two groups:

1) Younger, higher-income and more educated Americans over 65. These use the Internet at rates approaching or exceeding the general population. They feel positively about online tools and services.

2) Older, less affluent seniors, often with significant health/disability challenges. These elders are largely disconnected from online or mobile life.

For nearly a decade, Creating Results has started any presentation about older adults reminding audience members that it isn’t one “single, silver sea.” Behaviors and attitudes WITHIN generations can vary as widely as BETWEEN generations.

Here are four facts from the new Pew report that illustrate how colorful that sea of seniors is when it comes to the adoption/use of technology.

Disparities Seen by Education, Income, Health, Age

Table - Internet, broadband adoption among seniors - Pew Internet Project

* 87% of seniors with a college degree go online. Only 40% of those who have not attended college go online.

Action Step: Web copy should be smart and respectful, not pretentious or pandering. And, not to be flip, but almost nothing turns off a highly-educated older adult than poor spelling and grammar. Proofread those websites!

 

* 90% of seniors with higher incomes (annual household income of $75,000 or more) go online. 39% of those with household incomes of less than $30,000 go online. 63% of those with incomes between $30,000 and $49,999 are using Internet. According to data from the US Census Bureau, nationwide seniors are living off of a median household income of $35,107.

Action Step: Consider the income level of your ideal prospect when creating digital marketing budgets. If you’re serving a lower-income group, money spent on church flyers could go a lot further than money spent on online ads.

 

* Roughly 40% of Americans over 65 reported having a physical challenge. This could be anything from diminished eyesight that makes reading online difficult to a chronic disease. Only 49% of this group goes online, vs. 66% of all seniors.

Action Step: Conduct usability testing on websites to be sure important actions can be taken by all. Avoid tiny “submit” buttons!

 

* 74% of the “younger olds,” those aged 65-69, go online. 37% of those 80 or better are using the Internet.

Action Step: Look at your digital marketing through the eyes of a 65-69 year old target. Do they see themselves there? Do the photos feel authentic and representative of your customer’s self image?

Creating Results’ national Social, Silver Surfers study showed that a decreasing number of younger olds feel websites reflect their generation. Since we first measured attitudes in 2010, it appears expectations have risen and matures are feeling less represented on the web.

Chart - older age groups on whether websites reflect their generation, 2010 vs 2013

As we noted in the Social, Silver Surfers 2013 eBook, “if consumers don’t feel they see themselves in your marketing, they’re less likely to purchase your product or service.” (To buy the ebook and learn what steps to take, click here.)

Tomorrow we’ll share more data — and related action steps! — about older adults and technology.

A Subsegment of Seniors Tops Spending Charts

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

You might not be surprised to learn that those who spend the most daily are those with children under the age of 18. After reading a new Gallup report, we discovered there is an age overlay to daily spending as well: 65+ seniors with young children have the highest daily spending of any Americans.

Americans daily spending - Seniors with children under 16 top charts

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 338,000 households in which children under 18 are living with at least one parent over 65.

There also are 1,648,000 US households in which a child under 18 lives with a grandparent and no parents are present in the household. These grandparents can be of any age, though most are between 55 and 65, per Census data.

While this is not a huge segment, it’s certainly an intriguing one. As demographic trends collide — longevity bonuses, delayed marriages and child bearing, fractured families — our stereotypes of who is the “parent” of a young child will be challenged. And so might stereotypes about discretionary spending and 65+ seniors.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Mobile Apps & The New Face of Retirement

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Happy Monday!  Hard to believe that the month is already half over.  Thankfully, we’ve got another round-up of the top mature marketing articles and insights that had people talking this past week.  Have something to add?  We’d love to see your comments in the section below.

Mobile Apps MOST SHARED: There’s an app for that!

Seems like this is a phrase uttered repeatedly as more and more adapt to smart phones.  An article by Kerry Gorgone introduced 7 must-have phone apps for mature marketers.  Some of the “essential apps” according to the author:

*Evernote Hello: provides full social media profile when an email address is entered.

*Userium: creates a website usability checklist to ensure your site is optimized.

*Moat: suite of online banner ads and design inspiration.

Learn about other apps and read the full article here: http://bit.ly/1kRdhIg

MOST CLICKED: A Forbes article entitled A Guide to the New Retirement Communities drove several clicks this past week.  Beth Baker, author of the book With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community As We Grow Older traveled the country exploring retirement communities. Interviewed by Forbes, Baker shared some of her top insights from her travels, including her surprise at the number of non-traditional communities people have flocked to.

In the past, with traditional retirement communities, people were dependent on a company or nonprofit to create them. That traditional model was much more top-down. I don’t want to come across as bashing those communities, because I know people who have moved there and are happy. But I think many people don’t like the feeling of being isolated from the broader community. They don’t like the idea of being around only older people.

For mature marketing experts, understanding that a community is more than just the four-walls will help you more effectively stand out from competitors and welcome more residents.

WORTH REPEATING: Will the new Facebook Paper format appeal to boomers and seniors?  Read the article by Creating Results’ Jessica Ruhle to learn how to best leverage social media to reach your mature target market.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – A Smorgasbord

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Last week, our Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn connections clicked on a wide variety of links. The result? This weekly links round-up is a smorgasbord* of resources for folks marketing to seniors and boomers.

Without further ado, let’s serve up those insights:

Photo source: ReelSEO

Photo source: ReelSEO

1) The next time someone implies that seniors can’t handle technology, tell them about Peter Oakley, often described as “YouTube’s Granddad.” He once had the most popular channel on YouTube! ReelSEO shared his story along with news of his passing at 86. Oakley was quoted as saying “[YouTube] does, I think, reflect the whole of society, so that’s a wonderful thing.”

Read the wonderful tribute on ReelSEO: http://bit.ly/1h7vGgz

2) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is — we hope — an ongoing effort for anyone marketing to seniors and boomers. But what about social media optimization? Recent Google algorithm changes have increased the value of social shares. James Scherer offers advice for optimizing content for social media in 2014.

Read Scherer’s 5 tips: http://bit.ly/1jUmfBK

3) “If a community works for kids and elderly, it works for EVERYONE.” So notes urban planner Scott Ball in Coming of Age in Aging America, which presents the “big idea in 4 minutes.” This video is definitely worth 4 minutes of your time, and you’ll likely spend many more minutes considering the issues raised.

Watch the video: http://bit.ly/1srQFiI

senior-living-awardsnominee

4) Creating Results has been nominated as the “best sales & marketing consultants” in the Best of Senior Living Awards from SeniorHomes.com. Every vote counts and we’d appreciate yours. http://ow.ly/uUlxM 

5) A communications/messaging tip from David Meerman Scott that isn’t limited to PR:

“PR tip: Don’t tell journalists what your products do. Tell them how you solve problems for your customers.”

 

* Smorgasbord – Merriam Webster definition: a meal with many different foods on a large table where people can help themselves. Erin’s definition: a word that makes me smile and think of the Muppets’ Swedish Chef.

Bork-bork-bork! Have a lovely week.

 

More Senior Living Take-Aways from PEAK 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Last week we shared senior living insights from LeadingAge’s PEAK Leadership Summit.  Here are several ideas from the conference specifically about how to implement and lead change.

What are you doing within your own organization to ensure you are continuing to innovate and evolve?  Perhaps these examples can provide some food for thought:

YMCA core values, as represented by YMCA Calgary

YMCA core values, as represented by YMCA Calgary

1. Know what you stand for – Take the advice of Kelly Papa from Masonicare offered during her session Effervescence: Leading Change with Enthusiasm. Write down your core values and the actions you will take to live those values.  She noted that this will make it easier to practice your values so everyone around you knows what you stand for.

INSIGHT TO ACTION: Do this same exercise with your organization – an excellent start to a repositioning strategy or refreshing a brand. Can you imagine how much more powerful a message you send if your residents see your tagline being demonstrate in every interaction they have?

2. Find your Passion – We also loved Kelly’s working theory on leading change: Inspire, Connect & Transform.  She has observed that a primary catalyst for change is often just one person’s passion.  That passion can become even more powerful when they connect and empower others to share in their excitement.

Kelly illustrated this with a story about a nurse at Masonicare who had sent emails about a therapy for Parkinson’s disease called “BIG & LOUD.” Since the leadership team was unfamiliar with the effectiveness of the therapy, no one had pushed the idea forward. Not until Kelly saw the nurse demonstrate the treatment did she realize its value and was able help secure the proper training.

INSIGHT TO ACTION: What are you passionate about – what is your staff passionate about? Are they empowered to share their passions, especially those that align with your community’s values?  Do you make time to listen and be a conduit to connect their passion into transformation?

3. Transform Habits – I highly recommend Charles Dughigg’s book The Power of Habit.  Dughigg served as PEAK 2014’s keynote speaker and shared many ideas regarding how to effectively use the science behind our habits, social connections and even a crisis to affect positive change in your organization.

Some actionable take-a-ways from his research included:

* Willpower: Research shows willpower (self-control) is similar to exercise endurance – the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Beware, however, as major stress or inflection points can completely derail one’s willpower.

Charles Duhigg - Power of Habit - Starbucks LATTE Method

Charles Duhigg – “The Power of Habit”

INSIGHT INTO ACTION: It is important for leaders to tune into the stressors or triggers of their team and offer strategies for perseverance. Teach and practice tools like Starbuck’s LATTE method (Listen, Acknowledge, Take, Thanks, Encourage) to handle difficult customer encounters gracefully.

* During a crisis people are more susceptible to change, Duhigg found, because after a crisis people are more likely to make the connection between their current routines to the negative outcomes of the crisis.

“Good leaders will seize crises to remake organizational habits.”

INSIGHT INTO ACTION: Be aware of the habits you may not even know exist: Every organization has unwritten rules regarding how an organization communicates.

* Give employees “permission” to challenge a superior. At Rhode Island Hospital, doctors didn’t listen when nurses challenged them and several patients’ lives were lost as a result.

* Take time to listen to front line employees’ ideas. They could lead to innovation, solving problems, cost savings and may even create a competitive advantage. For example, at the multi-national company Alcoa, their new CEO set an unwavering rule to report safety issues across the company in “real time.” This led to the creation of a worldwide corporate email system in which employees shared more than accident reports. They now shared competitive intelligence and pricing information. Since everyone in the company had access to the tool, even employees on the production floor could share the process improvements.

3. All Stakeholders Matter – Make sure that you get your residents and employees invested in implementing change. I had the pleasure of sitting with three residents of Thomas Circle during a roundtable discussion lead by Amy Levner of AARP. Thomas Circle is a community in the heart of Washington, D.C. a location that the residents I spoke with really valued. The residents offered such a different perspective on the conversation topics than the senior living professionals gathered for PEAK.

INSIGHT INTO ACTION: Don’t forget your existing residents when approaching a change or innovation.  Their insights and experiences with your organization could be invaluable.

BONUS Invest in the Next generation of young leaders NOW – Larry Zook of Landis Communities is a loyal Mature Marketing Matters follower – thank you, Larry! – and a leader in senior living. He emailed me that Charles Duhigg’s session reinforced for him “the opportunity we have to encourage young people new to the workforce to become serving leaders, and to celebrate our organizational cultures and habits that empower and reward service to others.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Senior Housing and Creative Inspiration

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Happy Monday!  Let’s jump right into the mature marketing news and insights from the past week that had people talking, clicking and sharing.  Have other senior marketing news to share?  Please be sure to post it in the comment section.

1. MOST CLICKED

A 2012 survey identifying real estate trends reported that senior housing was  “among the most attSenior Housing Trendsractive property types for new investments.”  The research was shared in a recent Senior Housing News article, and noted that 1/5 of survey respondents indicated they had current investments in senior housing properties.

The sector has, according to NIC, “consistently remained among the respondents’ five most attractive property types” for new investment.

This is of no surprise as more and more baby boomers come of age and begin to look for communities that offer maintenance free living and amenity packages.  For marketers, knowing senior housing continues to be a focus for developers and how to best distinguish your community from the increasing competition will be key.

Learn more about the findings here.

2. MOST SHARED

As marketers, we’ve seen great success in launching new brands or initiatives by creating experiences with the marketing. Several people shared (and were inspired by) an Advertising Age article that identified what they felt are 15 of the most memorable experiential marketing campaigns. While each of the examples they noted took very different approaches, one thing that ties them together is that they were unique and engaging.  From transforming local gas stations for the premier of “Dallas”, to staging senior year football games between rival schools 15 years after the fact to virtual balconies on a cruise ship, these campaigns definitely inspire.

What experiential marketing are you doing that is relevant to your brand and helps it stand out to the mature consumer in an authentic way?  We’d love to learn about successful campaigns – please share within the comment section below.

Read the full article here.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – PR Myths, Senior Living Selling Points

Monday, March 17th, 2014

I can’t help but start the day thinking of a dear friend of Creating Results, Bill Shaevel. Bill, a dynamic Boston lawyer of Jewish ancestry, got his start working for Tip O’Neill. And so he began every conversation with “Top of the Morning!” It made my Irish heart glad.

Top of the morning to all our readers!

Today’s top links of the week cover quite a few topics — public relations, repositioning, sales centers, TV. A reminder that successful 50+ marketing requires integration and strategy. Enough of the blarney … on with the resources.

1. MOST SHARED: As the new homes and senior living markets pick up, so has investment in sales centers. Today’s versions go beyond displays of tile and carpet, as Kimberly Miller reported in the Palm Beach Post.

“Homebuyers can find so much out about communities online, such as designs, pricing and the site plan of the neighborhood, that they don’t need as much procedural information from the sales center. Where once the walls may have been covered with only printouts of floor plans and bulleted design details, now there are accessories that try to evoke an emotional response.”

Miller said many builders try to keep secret the high-tech, new gadgets in their sales center. Fortunately for her, Creating Results’ Todd Harff was happy to talk about one low-tech, old school tool: the topography table.

“‘With the 55-plus, we recognize they will still need some traditional displays,’ said Harff, who also uses brighter lighting in 55-plus sales centers to increase the feeling of vitality.”

Read the article for more of Todd’s insights: http://bit.ly/1dfszOn

2. MOST CLICKED: Think PR is not needed in this digital age? Think again. In 2010, our team set out to debunk this and three other myths of public relations, and the topic continues to command interest. A tweet with a link to the newsletter article became the most clicked item of the week. Economic development pro George Harben added his two cents:

Tweet - pr is needed for web traffic

Read the post and share your own thoughts in the comments: http://bit.ly/c3cjEW

3. Also of note:

* Senior living sees wellness as selling point for repositioning. Senior Housing News looks at communities expanding their continuum with subacute care and therapy. http://bit.ly/1ebuvuO

* Baby boomers and seniors are least likely to watch video on a smartphone, most likely to watch TV. Marketing Chartshttp://bit.ly/1iVsJhk

Chart - age distribution of multimedia video viewers. Nielsen

* A social site called Quora allows people to post any type of question. Stan Hayward’s answer to “What does it feel like to be old?” is a must-read. http://b.qr.ae/1cQgrsh

This Saint Paddy’s Day and always, “may the wind be always at your back.”

Mature Marketing Links of the Week- Teen Content Marketing and Living Longer, Better

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I don’t know about you, but while I love that daylight savings means that it stays lighter longer, I detest the hour of sleep that is lost.  That loss won’t stop us from sharing the mature marketing news that influenced and inspired this past week.  Have something to share?  Please note in the comments below.

1. MOST CLICKED

While they may be sullen and sulky most of the time, content marketers can learn a lot about leveraging social media from teens.

While they may be sullen and sulky most of the time, content marketers can learn a lot about leveraging social media from teens.

By far the story that drew the largest amounts of clicks for the week was an article by Ann Handley, “How To Invigorate Your Marketing, Ask A Teenager”.  In her article, Handley focused on social media and chronicled how, what at times seems like a struggle for content marketers, is second nature for teens.

Then: You bought a dress at a dress shop. You wore it to prom and hoped no one else had the same dress as you. (Or if they did, you hoped you looked better in it.)
Now: “Remember that time when someone else showed up wearing the same dress to prom that I did?” said No Teen Ever.
That’s one example of the ways that people like you and me are looking to innovate with social media and content, all the while teens ( “digital natives”) are already seamlessly and naturally doing it.
Except they don’t call it “social media and content and mobile.” They just call it… living their lives.
While I doubt any mature marketing expert would dare admit it, there are many things that we can learn from how today’s teens use social media and how we can make it more engaging for our audiences. So while at times sullen, these younger generations’ ease of use teaches that  the more you can engage boomers through your social channels naturally, the more effective your content marketing will be.
2. MOST SHARED
A blog featuring an interview of the author of  the New York Times best seller, A Short Guide to a Long Life was shared by many this past week.  The book, written by Dr. David Agua, features advice for how boomers can make the most of living longer, better.  One question by the interviewer focused on how boomers can best take responsibility for their health.
The personal responsibility is our obligation to ourselves and to younger generations — we owe it to our children to be good role models. We need to train our kids to practice healthy behaviors by embracing these tips ourselves. Not only will younger generations live healthier, longer lives, but we will help prevent our own chronic illness from attacking us sooner, which means we delay the day our children will need to be our caregivers as we age.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Persistence, Peers, Priorities

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Happy morning-after-the-Oscars! Did you watch the awards show all the way through last night? If you’re feeling a little down(ton) this morning, perhaps this post can Perk you up.

Lady Grantham, Downton Abbey - At my age, one must ration one's excitement.

Our weekly round-up of the top links for marketing to 50-plus consumers is brought to you by the letter P

1. MOST SHARED: P is for Persistence, the theme of a terrific post by Chris Abraham.

“What separates winning content marketing campaigns from the losers? Persistence. From my experience, too many new media marketing campaigns lack bravery, boldness, confidence, and persistence. They do the messaging equivalent of “ahem, excuse me, if you would be so kind, ahem, I don’t mean to bother you or anything, ahem” rather than “hello, my name is Chris Abraham, damned glad to meet you.”

It’s understandable, really. Brands are afraid of the online world, especially earned media, where anything that a brand says and does can be used against it. So, over time, shell-shocked from seeing everyone around them being shot down and rejected; and, after repeatedly being warned by the media and by social media gurus as to how much of a mine field blogger outreach is, once-bitten, twice shy.

If you want to be successful in search marketing, earned media marketing, and content marketing, you’ll need to reach out not once, twice, but three times.”

Read the post: http://bit.ly/1jM37Vv


2. MOST CLICKED (a tie):
P is for Peers, specifically the Granthams of Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abbey. Kathy East last week shared 5 things 50 plus marketing can learn from this popular TV show. From respect to teamwork to how to dress for success, these lessons generated excitement among Creating Results’ followers in the Twitter and Facebook universes.

Read the post: Five Things Downton Abbey Can Teach Us About Selling to Seniors

P also is for Priorities, the question posed by Tom Ahern in his post, “Which Is Your Next Priority: Younger Donors or Boomers?”

“You see, age matters. It’s not that younger donors are less generous. It’s just that they have so much more to buy: clothes, cars, furnishings, homes, education for their eventual kids. Older donors have been there, done that.

A person aged 65 is far more likely to have two things a young adult won’t have: (1) enough stuff, and (2) a sense that time is running out.”

Read the post: http://bit.ly/1dTfmL5

case study - 50 plus marketing audit, strategy for Tufts University Planned GivingWe have had the pleasure of working with and speaking to planned giving professionals during the past few years. (On their behalf we ask, have you made your charitable plan?) I am always blown away by the Persistence and Professionalism of these folks. Their Priorities are the People (donors) and organizations they serve, and they seem to strike the Perfect balance between the two.

RELATED: The Power of Generational Marketing – slides from a presentation to the National Conference for Philanthropic Planning, with actionable tips for marketing to the 50 plus donor.

Case Study: How Creating Results helped Tufts University’s Planned Giving Department with insights into 50+ marketing

 

We hope you’ll Post your comments — on the Oscars, these links or my terrible Puns — below. Thanks!

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Senior Happiness and the Power of Twitter

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Happy Monday! Let’s jump right into the mature marketing stories that had people talking last week.  Have something to share or add?  Please note in the comments below.

1. MOST CLICKED

Using Tailored Audiences to Drive Relevancy in TwitterThere was a lot of interest in a recent article by Shift Communications, which shared ideas for how to effectively leverage Twitter’s Tailored Audiences functionality.  Tailored Audiences was launched by Twitter in December of 2013 as a way for marketers to use tracking cookies to target subscribers who had visited their website.

The article highlighted new features which allow brands to expand their reach, including using  email databases, to identify additional brand enthusiasts within the Twitter realm.  One such example provided was to create an audience using email addresses to promote exclusive offers/news through Twitter.  Because of increased relevancy among this segment you can more effectively encourage a desired action.

Privacy concerns among boomers and seniors is one thing to keep in mind when leveraging Tailored Audiences.  While using this as a part of an integrated marketing strategy can be effective, remember to include reminders that people are receiving offers and news because of their previously expressed interest in your brand.

Read the full article here.

2. MOST SHARED

What makes us happy changes as we get older.  This is the focus of a New York Times article and associated study that drew a lot of interest this past week.  At the heart of the study was understanding why interests and desires tend to change as we age.

According to the article:

For young people trying to figure out who they want to become, extraordinary experiences help establish personal identities and are therefore prized, said Amit Bhattacharjee, the lead author of the study and a visiting assistant professor of marketing at Dartmouth College. As people become more settled, ordinary experiences become central to a sense of self and therefore more valued.

The article goes on to note that for seniors, the feeling that time is limited causes an increased desire to focus on the things (and relationships) that are most meaningful. For mature marketing professionals, knowing that time with loved ones is highly valued can help when positioning the unique selling points of a brand or organization.  Learn more about the study here.


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