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Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond

Posts Tagged ‘baby boomers’

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 6/17/13

Monday, June 17th, 2013

And just like that, it’s Monday again.

Time for our weekly round-up of links, articles and resources that can help you get better results from your mature marketing program. Please join in the conversation — in the comments section of this blog, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Google Plus … — and share your own insights!

 

Jiroemon Kimura - world's oldest man

Photo credit: ibtimes.com

1. MOST CLICKED: Imagine having lived through the introduction of the Model T AND the rise of the iPhone? Jiroemon Kimura did just that. Born in 1897, Mr. Kimura was the last person alive to have witnessed the 19th century. His story in the Wall Street Journal captured the attention of our Twitter followers last week.

“He lived through two world wars, the reigns of four emperors, the terms of 20 U.S. presidents, and 61 Japanese prime ministers. Along the way, he had five kids, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren, his family said. And on June 12, at 2:08 a.m., he passed on, in his hometown of Kyotango. He was 116 years and 54 days old.

… After working at local post offices for 45 years until his retirement at the age of 65, in 1962, he helped his son with farming until he was 90.

In 2009, Mr. Kimura told camera crews that he exercises daily, reads newspapers at least two hours a day, and keeps up with parliamentary proceedings. ‘I’ve got to keep up with the times,’ he said.”

Unsurprisingly, with Mr. Kimura’s death the mantle of “oldest person alive” passes to another Japanese citizen. The country has the world’s highest proportion of elderly and the longest life expectancy.

Read the article: http://on.wsj.com/11TxD8d

RELATED: What does it matter that people are living into their 100s with greater regularity? A lot. Mature Marketing and the Longevity Revolution

2. MOST SHARED: Who owns smartphones? The young and the wealthy. AND 18% of those 65 or better.

61% of American cell phone owners — 56% of all American adults – are owners of smartphones, reports the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Ownership of smartphones decreases by age and income, as this chart illustrates.

Chart: Smartphone Ownership by Age Group

If you’re targeting wealthier baby boomers, consider your mobile marketing strategy. Now that we know who owns smartphones … Who owns Androids and who owns iPhones? This also varies by age group, per Pew.

chart - android iphone ownership by age group

It appears that the iPhone’s interface is more popular with seniors and in higher income levels. When sharing these insights with your web designers, be sure to first check your own website analytics to see what percentage of your users are accessing via mobile and what devices they prefer.

Get the Pew report: http://bit.ly/11TB92j

3. ALSO OF NOTE:

* “Apparently there’s this war I didn’t know about going on between Baby Boomers (67 to 49 year olds) and so-called Millennials or Echo Boomers (32-ish to 13 year olds).” So begins a smart post by blogger and comedian Walter Michka, who attempts to call a ceasefire in the “war” between the generations: http://bit.ly/15cab3W

* Hotels share secrets for getting 5-star online reviews. These ideas offer inspiration and should apply to other industries, as well. http://bit.ly/14FzePZ

Don’t Let Your Email Marketing be Evil

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Occasionally our CCRC and 50+ clients will ask about purchasing email lists to reach more of their Boomer and Senior target market through their email marketing program.  I’ve always subscribed to the school of thought that you should NEVER purchase an email marketing list. Instead, focus on individuals who have raised their hands and want to engage with you.  Recently I came across a Marketing Profs article that addressed this very thing. It also provided some great insights for how you can effectively grow your eNews subscriber base without turning to the dark side.

According to the article by HubSpots’ Meghan Keaney Anderson:

Few things are as antithetical to good inbound marketing as purchasing a list of strangers’ email addresses and blasting them with your latest campaign. You may get a short-term win, but emailing to a purchased list can be detrimental in the long run.”

Why focus your efforts on people who, in most cases, know nothing about your brand and aren’t interested in learning more? Not to mention that it could negatively impact your reputation and cause folks to dump you in the SPAM=BAD category?  When you do that you’re just wasting your email marketing spend on open and click throughs that will never occur.

We recommend putting your efforts into the following email marketing baskets instead:

1. Create intriguing content: Nothing will make someone unsubscribe from your email newsletter faster than boring content.  Develop content that your subscribers can only receive as a member of your email program. Boomers value instant or advance notice of news and events.  Your content should be reflective of this to keep your subscribers attention.

2. Share the Love: At Creating Results we believe in the importance of an integrated marketing campaign that leverages a variety of avenues and mediums.  Promoting your email program at events, through Social Media and on site will help generate more knowledge of the program and grow your list.

3. Reward your Loyalists: Your current subscribers are the best advocates for helping you grow your email list.  Why not thank them for following and ask them to encourage like-minded (and interested) friends to subscribe as well?  Many email providers include functionality that easily allows email recipients to forward messages to specific friends — use it.

A successful email program is one that nurtures its loyal subscribers and looks for opportunities to earn new ones. To do this, promote the benefits of opt-in across as many avenues as possible.  Purchasing non opt-in email lists can hurt your email reputation and will negatively impact your program metrics.

RELATED:

It’s Loyalty, My Dear Boomer…Email Loyalty

Beyond the Blast- The Nuts & Bolts of Email Marketing

Traveling Baby Boomers’ Pet Peeves

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

icons representing travel - airplane, hotel bed, car, suitcaseBaby boomers love, love, love to travel but hotels, restaurants and attractions could make it so much easier with not a lot of effort. I’m a baby boomer and I know what I’m talking about here. I’m going to list my top three pet peeves — each of which is also a business opportunity.

Pet Peeve #1: Hotels, motels, B&Bs and cute country inns listen up. All of you kindly provide soap, shampoo and conditioner. Thanks. My problem is when I’m in the shower and trying to distinguish which is the shampoo and which is the conditioner. (I admit to washing my hair with conditioner more than once only to have to redo with actual shampoo once I caught on.) Why?

Your baby boomer guests are more than likely to wear glasses. Since they provide little help when wet, we can’t make out what the little label with even littler print is saying. The font is too small and often the design features muted, modern colors with little contrast.

How to fix? Three suggestions:

  1. Take a clue from to the olden days when salt and pepper shakers had a big S and P on them … before we aspiring gourmets demanded expensive pepper mills on our kitchen islands. Try a big S and C.
  2. Use clear bottles (shampoo is transparent and conditioner is not).
  3. Download our “15 Top Tips” whitepaper with guidelines for designing for older adults.
Seniors traveling - overlooking Boston Harbor

Photo Credit: North Hill senior living

Pet Peeve #2: Another related to baby boomers’ vision. When my optometrist first broke the news that I needed bifocals he used the fancy term Presbyopia. Then I asked for the translation (presbyopia = as the eye ages, it loses the ability to focus on opjects that are up close). So I joined the millions of other baby boomers sporting fashion readers and soon had a pair in nearly every room of  my house plus a pair in my car.

Why my car? No, I don’t read while driving but I do occasionally need to refer to a map. And whether that map is on my smart phone, an actual printed map (that I can refold to its original form thank you very much) or on a travel brochure, chances are good that the print is too small for me to read without some assistance.

How to help?

  1. Make sure your driving directions are in a type style that is clear (not anything fancy like italics) and large enough to read without a magnifying glass.
  2. Your website’s directions and maps should be able to be enlarged. If the type isn’t big enough I’m probably not going to make it to your door.

Pet Peeve #3: The Pew Internet and American Life Project estimates that baby boomers account for approximately 80% of all leisure travel. That’s a lot of people and a lot of money. Another way to help them want to stay with you is back in the bathroom.

I hadn’t realized I was missing this feature until I stayed at a lovely small inn in Wilmington, North Carolina, called the Front Street Inn. In addition to clear shampoo and conditioner bottles, they have a magnifying mirror in the bathroom! What did this mean? I didn’t have to try and put my makeup on with a little 3″ travel magnifying mirror I had brought with me and my husband didn’t have to shave with his glasses on! (Yes, he too suffers with Presbyopia.)

 

So there you have it, my top three pet peeves for baby boomer travel. What are yours?

Maybe the travel industry will see the light and our next trip will be less perturbing, more pleasurable for us boomers — and more profitable for travel businesses.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 8/6/12

Monday, August 6th, 2012

With all eyes on London these days, we feel inspired. What 50+ marketing resources emerged victorious on the playing fields of social media last week? Cue the music …

1. GOLD MEDAL: Senior Housing News reports that Boomers “aren’t delaying retirement—they’re redefining it, staying local.” The industry publication shared results of a PulteGroup Home Index survey of 500 pre-retirees aged 55 and older. The key findings:

* 61% plan to retire within the next 10 years, while only 17% said they don’t intend on ever retiring

* 42% said they expect they’ll retire at an older age than originally anticipated, nearly half (46%) believe they’re financially prepared to retire in the same time period they had originally planned on

* 62%  said they planned to stay close to their current home once they retired

The news became Creating Results’ “most shared” item last week. Read the full article: http://bit.ly/NjAjSp

2. SILVER MEDAL: Do you want to make money? Get age friendly, because Age Friendly =Good Business, says Kim Walker, a leader in mature marketing in Asia Pacific. Kim delivered this excellent speech at a TED conference in Victoria Harbour (Hong Kong) last year.

Tip of the Olympic beret to Dick Stroud who first shared the video on his blog.

3. BRONZE MEDAL: Appropriately, two sports themed links share the third place spot on the podium. A little inspiration for your Monday morning?

* A competitive synchronized swim team with members age 60 to 100! http://ow.ly/cGtHl | I really LOVE their reasons for swimming.

*  Meet the oldest Olympian to compete in 92 years – 71-year-old Japanese equestrian team member Hiroshi Hoketsu. http://huff.to/RNNkW1

 

What would a Games be without a little controversy?

Last week New York Times columnist Bill Keller took aim at his peers and called baby boomers “The Entitled Generation” in an op-ed that definitely caught the attention of the judges. “The notion that our generation has been spoiled rotten is not a terribly new thought,” wrote Keller. “But even though the caricature is way too easy, it has stuck, and we all know that it contains more than a nugget of truth. We are an entitled bunch.” Keller proposed that “greedy” Boomers should not join the Medicare and Social Security rolls but rather fight to reform those systems.

There were quick responses from a wide range of people, including

* economists – Jared Bernstein wrote “The issue of sustainably of Social Security and Medicare – I fear that the word “entitlement” feeds into the frenzy — actually has little to do with greed and is largely a function of our uniquely inefficient system of health care delivery, as that’s from where our real long-term fiscal problems derive.”

* journalists - Charles S. Pierce took aim at Keller’s premise that he had anything in common with most of his generation, writing that while Keller’s healthcare coverage was secure, “One catastrophic illness, and many of our families die on the vine. This is not  hyperbole. This is how it works in the world.” (Warning! Angry post. Pierce will not win an sportsmanship award at this year’s Games.)

* and marketers – Brent Green wrote about Keller’s lack of balance in going for snip and snark – “If the fiscal mess now besetting the nation is to be resolved, then it must begin with sober reflection and sacrifices among all living generations, because, as Keller accurately implies: none are perfect; all have fallen short of creating a fiscally stable platform for future, unborn generations.”

What do you think? Do any of these arguments make points with you? Will this blog ever earn the respect of the East German judge? Share your thoughts below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 4/16/2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Happy Monday!  Last week was a hotbed of social activity—here are the top tweets, shared links and general insights that garnered the most attention for marketing to boomers and seniors.  Enjoy!

MOST CLICKED:  Top Five Regrets of Dying What would your greatest do-oever be as you faced your last day of life?  This touching article from the guardian included insights from a palliative nurse regarding her patient’s biggest regrets as they faced their final days.  Number 1 on the list: following their dreams.  Click here to read the full story.

MOST RESOURCE-FULL POST: Ragan.com’s 50 (mostly) free social media tools for brands.  Great article that includes a variety of tips and tools for managing your social media initiatives.  Our top pick from the list? Love the recommendation of SocialMention.com for real time listening to what people are saying about your brand.

 

 

GOOD-TO-KNOW POST OF THE WEEK: 1 in 4 people will abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. This great infographic includes a variety of great insights about how people utilize the internet.  Other interesting facts included:

  • In the US: 25% of mobile web users only browse using their phones
  • According to 1 survey people wouldn’t wait in link for ANYTHING for more than 15 minutes.

Want to learn more Boomer and Senior attitudes towards everything social media?  Download a complimentary copy our Social Silver Surfer eBook.

WORTH REPEATING: Loyalty is the key ingredient to a successful email program. Explore 5 elements to creating (and leveraging) email in this blog post: It’s Loyalty My Dear Boomer, Email Loyalty

 

It’s Loyalty, My Dear Boomer…Email Loyalty

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Email marketing consistently seems to be a hot topic around the water cooler at our agency. We talk frequently about leveraging email to reach boomers and seniors, especially for the best way to use it for our continuing care retirement community and 50+ housing clients.  We know it works because we’ve done extensive research on the topic and see great results with many of our clients.

While retail brands have the benefit of built-in special offers and deals they can use to engage, those brands that are selling something different, such as lifestyle and home, tend to face a few challenges in making their email programs as effective.  As an email expert people will ask me “but why does it work” or “what’s so special about email?”  To answer these inquiries I simply channel a response of super sleuth Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “It’s Loyalty, My Dear Marketer.”

What are some key elements that enter into the mix to create loyalty for boomers and beyond?

#1: We found through our Social Silver Surfers research that email is the #1 online activity among 50+ prospects.  The fact that they are using email makes it a viable channel (as long as marketers use it for good and not evil). Additionally, older boomers tend to view email as a social sharing tool.

#2: A recent article from eMarketer  reveals 47% of Internet users respond favorably to email – ranking this avenue as the most favorable online channel.

#3: The mature consumer relies heavily on referrals from friends when making decisions.  While they may act faster when the referral is for a product, the referral process is just as important for relaying positive referrals for CCRCs and active adult communities.

#4: Relevancy is the key currency when it comes to building a loyal email subscriber database. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by messaging, those that specifically address our interests are going to win out.

If you capture preferences of subscribers based on the type of news they want to receive for your community you have a powerful tool for creating relevancy, and thus loyalty.  This can be achieved by sending emails about new home models to subscribers BEFORE releasing online (relevant and exclusive) or extending an invitation to upcoming events to your database BEFORE you invite the general public (exclusive). Here you’ll see an example of some simple categories for subscribers to choose from.  Any of these can be turned into a segmented message to drive relevancy.

#5: Just this morning eMarketer reported on the reasons people subscribe to email programs. It confirmed what we heard when interviewing mature consumers for our Social Silver Surfer research: the primary motivator is discounts and special offers (our research of boomers and seniors found 21% of respondents saw this as the top benefit).

Reasons why people subscribe to emails - eMarketer

According to the eMarketer piece, 26% of people subscribe to gain access to exclusive content (see point #4- I told you so).

Check out the full article via eMarketer.

You can transform your news into a special offer.  This, combined with relevancy is the perfect mix for a loyal mature consumer who will subscribe to your email program (and stay).

What do you do to engage your silver surfers through email? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – 2/13/12

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Happy Monday! Following are the links and resources that were most shared, clicked on and commented on via Twitter and LinkedIn last week.

1. MOST CLICKED: Good internal communications are critical for the success of your external marketing http://ow.ly/8RcI0

“Make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing,” writes UK blogger Kevin Baughen. Kevin specializes (that’s specialises for our British readers) in helping non-profits with their communications. His post points out that without good internal comms and team work, your brand can’t achieve its marketing goals.

2. A handful of links tied for the “MOST SHARED” title last week.

- If your image of retirees is old people in Florida, think again. The state is now fighting to lure baby boomers. ow.ly/8WEHM

- New post: Is 50+ Housing Declining or Thriving? Stats on household income growth among baby boomers and seniors offer context; excerpts from Todd Haff’s panel presentation at the International Builders’ Show. ow.ly/8Y7dE

- Big thinker (& older innovator) Joseph Coughlin of the MIT Age Lab addressed the idea of age & innovation. I confess a quote Coughlin included from venture capitalist Vinod Khosla set my teeth on edge:  “People under 35 are the people who make change happen…People over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas.” Read the full post at  ow.ly/8Vlgu

3. Also of interest:

- Laurie Orlov (@AgingTech) explains what Google’s new privacy policies mean for seniors – and for you. ow.ly/8V9xk

- Marketing to the 50+ Home Buyer: Social Media and Much More. Excerpts from Beth Rand’s presentation at the International Builders’ Show. http://t.co/stZPHWPn

- Pinning the future of communications on visuals. http://t.co/FJBvb7aB

As the author, Sarah Skerik, writes: “[C]ommunicators have to redouble their efforts when it comes to visuals.   Visuals carry extra weight on Facebook and Google+, they’re rendered on Twitter (drawing more attention to the tweet) and are what makes services like Flipboard and Pinterest so compelling and useful.

 

Was there a link or resource you felt was of importance to mature marketers but it was overlooked in this round-up? Please share it in the comments, below.

Mature Marketing Tweets of the Week – 1/16/2012

Monday, January 16th, 2012

A recap of the tweets from @CreatingResults that were most discussed, shared or clicked last week.

1. MOST CLICKED/MOST SHARED: What is Pinterest? A guide to this hot new social network via @cspenn. http://bit.ly/ziSQNO

And why should organizations marketing to baby boomers or seniors care about Pinterest? As Mashable’s Rob Lammle puts it “Not only has the company received $27 million in venture funds, but the site’s popularity has exploded from 1.2 million users in August to over 4 million today.” And early statistics from Hitwise appear to show that it’s popular with Southern baby boomers with a passion for Hobbies/Crafts. If that’s your niche, Pinterest might be a terrific opportunity to find your targets.

2. Demographer Neil Howe – famous for his 1991 book, Generations, co-authored with William Strauss – told the National Journal that 20-something Gen Y/Millenials will win the battle over society’s resources. http://bit.ly/Archwq

(If you’ve got an opinion on Howe’s opinions, we hope you’ll share it in our comments below.)

3. New statistics from Nielsen show 1 in 3 US households owns 4 or more TVs. Where do they put them???  http://bit.ly/wc5rln

Related post from our blog: 41.6 Percent of Americans Are On Facebook … … and 98% of Americans have at least one television set. http://bit.ly/yKB8BP

4. Recruiting baby boomers to join a senior center in Buffalo, NY is proving challenging. http://bit.ly/AzprFJ

House Calls for Baby Boomer…Pets?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Lately, I’ve been thinking I’m our Vet’s best customer. I’ve taken our little Ebony there 3 times in 5 weeks and haven’t seen any other “repeats” in the waiting room. At our last visit I noticed something new: “House calls available.” My initial reaction was “whoa, my internist doesn’t make house calls and neither does my daughter’s pediatrician.” After giving it some thought I concluded that this was a BRILLIANT move for any veterinarian or service targeting Boomers (a group which includes me) and other older pet owners. Here’s why:

  1. Do you struggle getting your 80-pound lab into the car when he/she knows where that car is headed? Imagine if you were an 80-year-old like my mother-in-law who always had a big black lab up until her death at 82. None of them were that well-behaved and, thinking about it, I still can’t figure out how she managed to get them to her vet.  As a senior, she would have truly valued a vet who made house calls. And she would have been a big source of referrals.  Heck, I’ve just written an entire blog post about my vet! Talk about great word of mouth marketing.

    Ebony, after a grooming (wish the groomers made house calls!)

  2. Do you work during the day? More of us do:  60% of those between 55 and 64 years old are working full time; 30% of those between the ages of 65 and 69 are working.  That means our work hours are the same as those of most veterinarians making it tricky to schedule an appointment, particularly if it is an emergency (don’t think of the bill-we’ve all been there). House call vet to the rescue!
  3. What happens when your beloved dog or cat is sick, and so are you? Like most pet lovers, you would even be more anxious to get your dog or cat in for medical attention than taking care of yourself. But the thought of sitting in the vet’s waiting room with a bunch of whimpering dogs when you feel as sick as a dog … Again, house call vet to the rescue!
  4. Does a trip to the veterinarian makes your pet so nervous they vibrate the floor or get physically ill?  Your dog or cat would be more relaxed if his or her vet came into their domain.  Baby Boomers are most likely to pay for the privilege of a home visit – anything to avoid feeling like a bad Mom or Dad.  As the American Veterinary Medical Association put it way back in 2000, “it appears the boomer generation and those generations hence are more willing than ever to spend their money on products and services, including veterinary care.”

So, this really is a brilliant business move by my vet, the Herndon (VA) Animal Medical Center. I’m impressed that she recognized the potential of the older market.  And that she understood there were too-busy Boomers and other mature consumers who may have difficulty bringing their pets in. Who doesn’t love the convenience of house calls?

Related posts: 

* Come! (Good Baby Boomer) - Lessons from a dog for Baby Boomer Marketing

* Marketing to Boomers, Seniors … and SWELs? - Functional foods are being developed for aging boomers, seniors and pets

Mature Marketing – Musical Edition

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

For someone who shouldn’t sing in public, can’t play an instrument or even read sheet music, I love music.  It inspires me in life and work.  My Andrews Sisters station on Pandora sets the mood when I’m writing copy for matures; I switch to a Beatles or Queen station for  more Boomer-leaning marketing materials.  And this week, I found three great sources of insight that are … well … music to a marketer’s ears.

1) “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music,” said President Ronald Reagan.  Asia Pacific 50+ expert Kim Walker took it one step further.  The multi-talented marketer wrote and performed a lovely song that speaks to how we see older adults around the world, and how they see themselves. 

Kim’s created a memorable, enjoyable song that also pushes people to look past wrinkles to knowledge, experience and enthusiasm.  Here is “When You Look at Me.” 

“Life’s a great adventure and the best is yet to come …”  Well said sung, Kim.

2) Paula Jacobs wrote a nice piece for The (New York) Jewish Week on “The Do’s and Don’ts of Appealing to Boomers.”  It’s her wish list for the organized Jewish community.  As several of our Twitter followers agreed, these guidelines clearly also apply to marketing to Boomers and beyond. 

As I read the article, I couldn’t help but hear Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT running through my brain.  Whatever your denomination, and whatever product/service you’re selling to 50+ers, it’s about respect. Without it you won’t connect with your target. 

It can’t be just lip service.  Your ads, your customer service and your entire organization needs to prove to Boomers that you care about what they care about.  “Delve deeper to understand what motivates boomers or run the risk of losing us forever,” writes Jacobs.

A real world example of this best practice comes from Traditions of America, the leading developer of active adult communities in Pennsylvania.  The founders, Tim McCarthy and JB Reilly, take prospects to lunch so they can hear first-hand what their concerns are about moving to a retirement community.  They are on site meeting with residents each week to delve deeper into their desires for community connections, help with selling current homes, lifelong learning opportunities or even more faucet options.  Then Traditions meets those needs. 

No wonder that while other developers have struggled during the housing downturn, Traditions sold more homes in 2010 than they did in 2009.  Respect has a high ROI.

3) Whatever your age, music can be transformative.  Brent Green recently wrote about how Boomers will spend money on transformation experiences, such as a fantasy Rock Camp.  The camp combines entertainment, escape and education.  As Brent writes, 

“The most powerful marketing campaigns of the future will have core attributes similar to Rock Camp: immersive, cathartic, transformative and potentially life changing.”

Can you think of any recent advertising or marketing designed for Baby Boomers or seniors that hit those notes?  Share your thoughts/links in the comments section below.


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