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Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond

Archive for the ‘Silent Generation’ Category

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.

5 Things Downton Abbey Can Teach Us About Selling to Seniors

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Yes, PBS’s hit Downton Abbey holds lessons for those selling to the 50+ market of baby boomers and seniors. So while Sunday evenings in front of the fire enjoying the upstairs/downstairs drama may appear to be leisure, it’s really sales training! 

1. Formalities aren’t old-fashioned.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-2While it may seem quaint to hear all the “Misters” and “Missus” we should remember that many elders consider it rude to be called by their first name by someone they have just met, particularly in a business situation. They are contemplating a tremendous change in their life, one with a significant price tag to boot. Perhaps they are moving from a home where they raised their family, a home filled with memories made over decades.

Remember to give seniors the respect they deserve and call them Mr./Mrs. until they give you permission to do otherwise.

2. Dress for the occasion.

Carson and Lord Grantham - Downton Abbey cricket matchOK, I confess one of the things I love most about Downton Abbey is the clothes. You have to admit they never get it wrong. The men and the women know that what they wear demonstrates they take whatever the situation is seriously, respecting the host’s and hostess’s wishes for the type of event whether it is a formal dinner or a rousing game of cricket.

Creating Results once mystery shopped a community frustrated by slow sales with million dollar town homes. The sales director, it turned out, frequently came to work in $5 tank tops and jeans. Not the right brand message at all.

So remember when you are dressing for another day in the office or going to a prospect’s home for an appointment to dress to impress and instill confidence that you are a professional dedicated to helping them make a sound senior living decision.

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

downton-compliment-said-it-wrongObviously the occupants of the upstairs are better off financially but they do express appreciation and respect for the expertise and dedication of Downton’s downstairs staff.

Lords and Ladies know they can’t do it alone and neither can we. When we tour communities and see staff and residents greet one another with smiles and pleasantries it tells us that things are working well. That it is an environment where people enjoy one another regardless of their role in the community. Whether they are the Assistant Director, a Resident or a Nursing Aide, all work together to make the community stronger, and senior prospects will respond to that tone of respect.

4. Don’t forget your sense of humor and open mind.

Older adults take joy in discovery and know laughs are to be found at all times and in all places — even in a muddy pigsty (should that have been a spoiler alert?). 


Keeping an open mind is required both upstairs and downstairs. Don’t presume visitors in your Welcome Center who are not in their Sunday best can’t afford your community–you might be very pleasantly surprised.

5. Teamwork.


When the staff lines up along the stately drive to the side (and yes, slightly behind) of the Crawley extended family it is a very long line, indeed. It takes a large team to make Downton shine.

It takes a large and diverse team to build, market, sell and service the senior living market. Each of us has our own specialty but by working together we create beautiful and engaging communities that people are delighted to call home.


Now let’s hear from you! What lessons have you learned about selling to seniors from Downton Abbey? Do share.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week- Wi-Fi secrets and going native

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Happy Monday! We saw a lot of shares and clicks of mature marketing news last week – here is just an overview of some of the top pieces that drove interest.  Have something to share about these or other mature marketing articles?  Please be sure to share in the comments below.


When acting on data captured through prospect engagement, we like share with our mature marketing clients the mantra – “close but not creepy”. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article regarding a company that provides the technology to follow your prospect’s movements through how they access Wi-Fi from their phones.  The company accesses data captured through sensors that track Wi-Fi signal emissions , allowing for the creation and promotion of content and offers based on individual habits.

“Instead of offering a general promotion that may or may not hit a nerve, we can promote specifically to the customer’s taste,” says Mr. Zhang. He recently emblazoned workout tank-tops with his restaurant’s logo, based on the data about his customers’ gym visits.

The idea of tracking (and using) this information is creating a lot of conversations regarding just what is that “close by not creepy” line in the sand.  Regardless of the side you fall on it certainly is a topic that will make you pause before turning your Wi-Fi on when in public. Read the full story here.

Related: Smartphone and tablet usage by the numbers


By far the article that had the most people talking was a roundtable regarding native advertising.  The article based on the discussion was shared by CPC Strategy Blog, featured insights from 18 industry experts on a topic that is creating a lot of buzz and interest.  Just what is native advertising? Here are some quotes straight from the experts contributing to the roundtable. Read the full article here.

Scott Reese of blurbIQ Inc:

Native advertising is a way for advertisers to produce, edit, and curate content that supports their brand and a publisher’s quality standards and provides information relevant to users’ interests.

Diana LaGattutta of NativeX:

We define native advertising as advertising that is contextual and complementary to the content in which it is placed. Not above, below, or beside, it becomes part of the user experience and often unique to the viewer or user.

Ari Jacoby of Solve Media:

Done correctly, native advertising symbolizes a new ability to give value back to consumers in a format that is in-the-flow of a user’s experience.


Do you use native marketing as a tactic for positioning your brand? How do you measure success?  We’d love to hear your thoughts, please share in the comment box below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 9/9/13

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Happy Monday!  Here is a list of the top mature marketing news and stories that had people talking during the past week.  Have news to share that isn’t listed here?  Please be sure to add within the comment section.

MOST SHARED: Young Adults Living with ParentsSeveral people were intrigued by the recent Wall Street Journal article regarding the increasing number of young adults still living with their boomer parents.  According to the article, 13.6% of young Americans are still living at home, an increase from previous years.  Difficulty in finding jobs, the recession and the inability to afford housing were reasons attributed to this increasing trend. While the Matthew McConaughey movie Failure to Launch portrayed a somewhat negative view of those 25-34 staying at home, in reality more and more of this cohort are living with their parents—and are content to do so.  The impact of this increasing trend?  Less of this younger generation are buy homes or the big ticket purchases that go along with it which could continue to impact the economy.

MOST CLICKED: Ronni Bennett’s Time Goes By blog “Writing Your Own Obituary” received a significant number of clicks this past week.  In her post, Bennett highlighted the trend of 50+ers preparing for the inevitable and writing their own obituaries, noting that she has even prepared a final blog post to be published when she passes.  She shared an example of a recent obit written by a woman with terminal cancer and penned before she passed.

I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back.  But I was a lucky woman who led a lucky existence, and for this I am grateful”

-Obituary of Jane Lotter

As more and more boomers and seniors take stock of a life well lived one has to wonder if more people will prepare their final words to ensure they have the ability to personally shape how they will be remembered.

chart - one person households by age and sex 1970 to 2012WORTH REPEATING: Our recent post highlighting the US Census Bureau’s new report “America’s Families and Living Arrangements” continued to spark interest this past week.  Read our insights regarding the key stats from this report about boomers and beyond that are important to keep in mind when marketing to the mature consumer.


A Look at American Families and Household Arrangements by Age and Gender

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The US Census Bureau this month released a new report on “America’s Families and Living Arrangements.” There were a few key statistics that relate to our favorite kind of householders — baby boomers and seniors — that we wanted to share with those marketing to older adults.

Are baby boomers and seniors living alone?

Per the US Census Bureau’s report:

* 72 percent of men aged 65 and over lived with a spouse vs. with 45 percent of women. This reflects women’s longer life expectancy, higher rates of being widowed and lower rates of getting married again.

* Double the number of women over 65 can be found living alone: 10.9% of men over the age of 65 are live solo while 25.2% of women the same age do so.


chart - one person households by age and sex 1970 to 2012

* Between 2003 and 2012, the percentage of senior women over 65 living alone declined from 40% to 36%, which, the report states, “likely reflect[s] the gradually closing gap between male and female life expectancy.”

* As America continues to gray, the proportion of homes headed by a 65+ householder has increased (from 20% to 22% of all US households in just the last 5 years).

* Married households make up a smaller share of all American households and are older. Factors include delays in first marriage for both men and women, delays in childbearing for women, and the fact that in the 1970s younger baby boomers were still at home.

Trends in multigenerational households

* The share of one-person households with children headed by men over 65 has stayed the same, while those headed by women over 65 have gone up. The Census Bureau report explains this by noting that as divorce rates rose, women typically maintained custody of the children. (And sometimes they boomerang back well past the time of being “children”!)

* Multigenerational households are more likely to contain folks born outside of the United States.

* 1.5% of America’s families have a grandparent as head of household with grandchildren under 18 living at home. This percentage rises to 3.6% if you look only at families headed by African-Americans. Asian grandparents are least likely to have young grandchildren living with them (0.7%).


Download the US Census Bureau Report: http://1.usa.gov/17hHebj


- Multigenerational Households on the Rise and Impacting Community Marketing

- Grandparent Economy

- Five Fast Facts (and Related Marketing Tips) about Baby Boomer and Senior Women

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – A rose by any other name …

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet …”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

What’s in a name? When it comes to mature marketing, a great deal. Tell an 80 year old that their cohort is officially the Silent Generation and be prepared for a not-so-silent retort. Remind a 40-year-old that Gen X became a popular term for their cohort because elders felt these young folks stood for nothing and well … You are guaranteed to hear something!

Working with our clients, the team at Creating Results sometimes struggles to find just the right balance, just the right words. One client wanted to strike the word “retirement” from their website, feeling that retirement had been completely re-defined. But a look at their webstats showed the highest conversions came from organic searchers using that word. Another hates the word “senior,” yet a significant portion source of leads is from a printed magazine with “Senior” in its title.

This theme of language came up when prepping our recap of the links that captured the attention of mature marketing pros last week. Most clicked?

* Luzerne County (PA) renames senior centers as “active adult centers” to attract baby boomers:

Photo credit: timesleader.com

Photo credit: timesleader.com

“County officials first zeroed in on the need to change the stereotype of senior centers for incoming boomers several years ago, which led to the 2007 introduction of salad bars as an alternative to hot meals on center luncheon menus.

While many boomers are not ready to spend hours at their local center, the changes are meant to warm them up to the center concept, [Aging Director Trula] Hollywood said.

‘We want to give them a chance to see it’s not their vision of what a senior center is,’ she said.”

Read about this new vision at http://ow.ly/n3K9I

* Confessions of a senior center snob. Ronni Bennett writes

“Throughout my adulthood, when my ignorance of senior centers was total, they conjured never-ending bingo games in my mind, daycare for old people who hadn’t the wit about them for anything more challenging … “

Read what changed Ronni’s mind at  http://ow.ly/mU62g


Everything with the label “senior” seems to be getting the once-over.

* Seniors Picky Over What They Are Called, reports MediaPost. A survey by SeniorMarketing.com of 1114 people gauged responses to words commonly used to describe mature consumers.

“Most respondents (71%) were comfortable with the term ‘Baby Boomer,’ but  opinions were evenly split over the term ‘senior,’ with only 49% approving … Perhaps most surprisingly, 44.2% agreed that the terms ‘senior living’ and ‘retirement community’ are outdated. However ‘retirement community’ only had a 13% negative association versus ‘retirement home,’ which had a 48% negative association.”

The folks conducting the survey offered no alternatives, however.

Read the article: http://bit.ly/1dPHazE


A little digging shows we have a disconnect between what language people SAY they like and what language they actually USE. Google’s keyword tool shows us that senior and retirement (what SeniorMarketing.com’s Kevin Williams calls the “wrong terms”) trump the industry-preferred alternatives.

Keywords used by seniors to search for housing.

What’s not on the most-searched-for list? “Retirement community.” But “retirement home” and “senior living” are pulling in eyeballs and visitors.

For those of you crying foul because I didn’t use “baby boomer,” here ya go:

Baby boomers vs. seniors as keywords for home search

The dash means not enough monthly searches for “baby boomer apartment” for Google to register. We got the same results with “residence,” another industry-preferred term.

I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t try to anticipate changing language or even accelerate those changes. Words are incredibly powerful. I’m simply noting that we shouldn’t rush to deny our culture and refuse the name of senior. Smart marketers should consider all tools/perspectives possible when choosing the words and names that lead to sweet-smelling senior success.


Have some choice words to share about this post? Please use the comments section below.

Super Seniors, Super Senior Living Communities, Super Give-Away

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Creating Results’ Kathy East and Todd Harff are at the VANHA annual meeting this week. VANHA is the Virginia Association of Non Profit Homes for the Aging, representing many terrific senior living communities serving elders in the state.

Todd and Kathy are there to both learn and help others learn. Tomorrow, Friday the 24th, they’ll be presenting a dynamic session titled “What Do Today’s Seniors Want From Online Marketing and Social Media?” The presentation includes the first look at early data from our national Social, Silver Surfers study. And they’ve jam-packed their session with action items, insights and a case study on how one continuing care retirement community is pursuing social media marketing.Marketing pros play the Super Seniors Trivia Game at the VANHA 2013 conference 

Be sure to attend Todd and Kathy’s presentation — Friday, May 24 at 8a.

They’re also there for fun! If you’re attending, be sure to stop by our booth – #305. Todd, Kathy and Judy Harff (our illustrious CEO) are running a game show. Really, a game show!

VANHA attendees can win prizes on the spot or enter to win a drawing for a social media start-up package valued at more than $1000. Please stop by booth 305 and enter to win!

Not attending VANHA’s 2013 meeting?

Then we want to bring a bit of the fun to you.

Here are a few of the questions asked in our Trivia Game. How well do you know Super Seniors?


Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 5/20/13

Monday, May 20th, 2013

As the song goes, “rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But sharing great resources and insights is a nice antidote!

Welcome to another edition of the Mature Marketing links round-up. This is a collection of content that received the most attention from 50+ marketing pros in the past week on various social channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, to name a few). And what set folks clicking last week?

1. MOST SHARED: The Baby Boomer Retirement Crunch Begins. US News & World Report took a look at 65-plus Americans, a group growing rapidly as Leading Edge Baby Boomers age. (This age band grew 18 percent between 2000 and 2011.) What does author Emily Brandon see as retirement for the typical 65-plus senior?CHART - Social security as source of income for 65 plus seniors

* Low incomes – In 2011, nearly 3.6 million elderly  people (8.7%) lived below the poverty level in 2011. A typical 65-plus household had a median  income of $48,538.

* Reliance on social security –  86  percent of people age 65 and older receive monthly payments.

* Continuing to work – In 2012, 18.5% of Americans  age 65 and older were in the labor force. Those aged 65 and 69 are the most likely to  be working. Brandon does note that some work because they have to, some because they want to.

RELATED: Re-thinking Retirement – 6 Lessons for Marketers

* Staying put – It’s getting harder for destination retirement communities to attract older adults.

“Between 2011 and 2012, only 3 percent of people age 65 and  older moved, compared to 14 percent of people under 65. And most older  movers stayed in the same state (83 percent) and the same county (61  percent). Only 16 percent of people who traded spaces after age 65  relocated out of state or abroad. Most senior citizens (81 percent) also  reside in metropolitan areas.”

RELATED: Todd Harff discussed locations in this post on Baby Boomer housing trends from the Urban Land Institute conference.

* Making it to Medicare – In 2011, 93% of 65+ers were covered by Medicare and 86% had supplemental coverage to fill in gaps.

* Longer retirement – Retirees and pre-retirees are more aware of the longevity bonus, in which the average life expectancy for people turning age 65 is an additional  20.4 years for women and 17.8 years for men.

RELATED: 5 Facts (& Marketing Tips) about Baby Boomer and Senior Women

Read the whole post in US News: http://bit.ly/12GpXFV

2. MOST CLICKED: 6 Myths about Social Media Marketing. Michael Mothner debunks misconceptions for Inc. We especially liked:

“Myth No. 2: My customers are older, so social media won’t work for my company.

A whopping 56% of Internet users 50 years or older use Facebook. Your clients and future clients are absolutely waiting for you to find them on Facebook–as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and other social tools.”

Read all 6 myths: http://bit.ly/17Trehf

Mature couple searching the Internet3. MOST FAVORITED (that’s the Twitter version of Facebook’s LIKE): An “oldie but goodie,” this 2011 post by Todd Harff makes clear the new realities of real estate marketing:

“No longer are builders simply ‘hunting’ 50+ homebuyers with oversized postcards targeted by age, zip and income.  Prospects begin hunting on their own – starting their research online, on their time, long before they think of paying you a visit in the real world.

So an integrated Internet Strategy that matches your prospects’ preferences is a critical resource to help you pursue AND nurture Leads.

Lead nurturing is an ongoing conversation, not a series of hit-and-run campaigns.”

Read the post: http://bit.ly/11Re4QG


I hope you’re getting nicer weather in your neck of the woods. How about bringing some sunshine to this blog, and sharing your comments or questions below? Happy Monday!

Counting our Blessings

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

photo_si_cover-78-year-old-boston-marathon-runner-2013One week ago, I was starting a “stay-cation.” My Monday plans were to sleep late and check Facebook for photos of friends running the Boston Marathon. Tuesday’s mission was to walk Boston’s Freedom Trail with my teens. Instead, like so many others, I found myself anxiously wondering after the safety of friends and family, checking Twitter and Facebook for news, and hugging my teens far more than they’d like.

As the week went on I turned to counting my blessings.

I feel a lovely perk of working with seniors is the example they set for how to gracefully navigate an often-crazy world. As the elderblogger Ronni Bennett put it,

“But the amazing thing about living with all these losses is how good we are at it and how resilient. … We adjust, adapt and accommodate.

But best of all, we find, almost naturally, the silver linings in the difficulties that appear in these late years. We trade old pleasures for new ones. We make time to serve others. We each invent the best possible way to navigate the changes and losses we encounter and we make jokes. My god, how we laugh at ourselves even if it is rueful sometimes.”Tribute-to-WWII-Korean-War-Vets-USAir

Creating Results’ CFO Susan Hughes found one such example at (of all places) the airport last week. USAir brought in WWII and Korean War Vets from Hudson NY to spend the day in DC. At Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport, the veterans were greeted by The DC Premier Big Band playing jazz — and dozens of folks clapping, cheering and thanking them for their service. (Susan captured the moment in the photo at right.)

I found my example while surveying seniors at a line dancing class in Bristol Rhode Island on Friday. (Yes, this is what I do on my vacation.) About 15 folks ranging in age from 60s to 90 hit the floor. The dancers chatted as the music played, asking after regulars not in attendance. They shared news of the Boston bombs and worried about the wounded. And they sang along, teased each other, and laughed.

Those marketing to older adults should take a cue from their targets. Transitions during senior years are often triggered by losses — loss of mobility, of hearing, of friends and spouses, of memory, of energy.

A resident at a continuing care retirement community once took me to task for ad copy she felt was avoiding the subject of loss. “We know our health isn’t what it used to be. That’s one of the reasons we came here!” It didn’t have to be the main message of the ad, she said. But seniors face the facts of loss, of increased needs for healthcare and she was telling me that our marketing should face facts, too.

Here are the examples our targets are setting for marketers:

* Don’t fuss and fret.

*Don’t be too negative.

*Don’t lie — be straightforward in what you offer to help elders “adjust, adapt and accommodate.”

*Don’t forget your sense of humor (seniors haven’t!).

And keep counting those blessings.


P.S. That now iconic photo from the Boston Marathon bombings at the top of this post is of 78-year-old runner Bill Iffrig on the ground just after the explosions. He got up and finished the race.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 4/22/13

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Let’s get to it! Our weekly round-up of top links, articles and resources for mature marketing.

1. MOST CLICKED: We have a tie –

* If you’re happy & you know it … You’re a member of the Silent Generation, per Prosper Insights: http://ow.ly/k14Rq PIA-HappiestGeneration041113

Whether it’s their love life or their homelife or their home, 65+ers are reporting themselves as happier than Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials.  Click on the chart or the link above to see all the data.

* Interesting infographic imagines the world as 100 people: Did you know that 8 out of every 100 people in the world are over 65? Find out about languages, religions, housing and literacy by clicking this link: http://ow.ly/jWb3b.

2. MOST SHARED: 24% of Millennials say a company’s social media policy would be a key factor in accepting job. http://ow.ly/jVGdV

RELATED: Case study – social media launch for Orion Residential properties (Did you know Creating Results works with companies to establish social media policies and strategies?)


Also of note:

* “Smart CEOs Know Training Matters,” a smart piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on the vital role of CEO media training, by PR pro Mitch Leff. http://bit.ly/ZHSJ5a

*”We’re Hot Again,” writes Chuck Nyren. http://goo.gl/U6Fnf 

*The manner in which companies respond to media in crisis situations can play a large role in how the public perceives them, says Todd Harff in Senior Housing News. http://bit.ly/15zHJxJ


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