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Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and other businesses marketing to Baby Boomers and active adults frequently ask us about new technologies, or how much time and money to invest in social media/social engagement. Problem is, they often forget the power of an “old-school” marketing tool: personal recommendations or referrals. Word of mouth/referrals are, indeed, powerful with all ages of consumers. As John Jantsch puts it in his description of his new book, “The Referral Engine:”secrets

The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word- of-mouth referrals are what drive business today. People trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, colleague, or even stranger with similar tastes over anything thrust at them by a faceless company.

Effectiveness of Referrals in Health, Travel and Financial Services Industries

Referrals have an impact in all stages of a purchase decision, from when consumers decide which products to consider, to when they evaluating options to when they make a decision to buy. The reality is that there is no way you can “test drive” a holiday to Bali. There are no in-store samples when it comes to choosing healthcare or financial services. The statistics below show the importance of recommendations and word of mouth in those industries where product/service “demos” aren’t easily come by.

People who refuse to retire are changing retirement communities. "One thing is clear. It isn't business as usual. While the old style, heavily amenitized communities in resort locations will continue to have some appeal, even they will have to adapt. The good news is that niche communities that are narrowly targeted to these highly desirable mature worker bees will thrive."…