It’s easy to identify advertising that is directed to younger prospects; it’s trendy and often funny, it commonly has plenty of attitude, and it may take some time to identify the product or service being sold. Granted, younger generations seem to be less-severely affected by the virus and are eager to shop, but Baby Boomers still abound. They typically have money to spend, and they tend to be loyal customers.
If your marketing campaign is not considering seniors, then you might be letting go of an important source of sales. Here’s an introduction to this important generation and some suggestions on how to reach them.
First, Learn the Similarities and Differences
You don’t need a detailed psychological profile of seniors to sell to them; however, you should learn the key aspects of all generations. You also need to understand the key differences between selling to younger customers and attracting older generations. Here are just a few common things that you need to recognize in order to properly target your marketing message.
- Shared interests: Baby Boomers want and need many of the same things as other generations. They’re not just looking for medical supplies and walkers. One example: CCN, a news site that reports on gaming and more, reports that just last year, about 50 million seniors played video games, thanks to smart phones, and this doesn’t count what’s happening due to the shutdown.
- Practicality: Seniors tend to be more practical than “these kids today.” They are less likely to buy something just because it’s trendy, but when a new product will be useful, they will buy it. So, while they won’t be impressed by the touch-screen features on newer car models, I predict that they’ll be very attracted to affordable, well-proven autonomous vehicles that can keep them mobile and self-sufficient for a longer time period.
- Respect: Older folks generally don’t need to be cool, but they don’t want to feel disrespected, either. Naturally, outright ageist insults are no-no’s. But, more subtle offenses can be just as bad. Sure, you can show an elderly individual lying on the floor, unable to call for help. But, it might be better to show an older individual enjoying the freedom of a nature hike while wearing a device that can call for help.
Choose All Appropriate Media and Platforms
Don’t assume that your elders only watch TV, read magazines, and listen to the radio. Certainly, the younger portion of the group spent their adult years in the computer age, which may explain why, according to Emarketer, about 60 percent of Boomers shop digitally, with the majority preferring PC-based shopping over more mobile devices.
When possible, maintaining a digital presence for your business can attract seniors, when you offer easy-to-use shopping methods or offer digital coupons. Don’t forget to advertise on other relevant websites. AARP, for example, offers a variety of media options, from print to online.
Targeted use of social media advertising makes as much sense for attracting senior buyers as it does for Gen-X, as long as you choose wisely. Boomers will see ads placed on Facebook and LinkedIn. Of course, cat videos are popular for people of all ages, so ads on YouTube can be effective, as well. SnapChat and Tinder? Well, probably not so much.
Send the Right Message
People don’t lose their sense of humor when they get older, so a humorous message will often get their attention. But, if you want that attention to turn into business for your company, make sure that practicality is at the heart of your pitch because Boomers want to know what’s in it for them.
So, if you’re trying to get seniors into your smart phone store, you might capture their attention with smart phone images of seniors doing outrageous things. But, be sure to retain their attention by pointing out ease-of-use features and even large icons and other accessibility features.
Targeting a Boomer audience is just another content marketing angle. Put yourself in your prospective customer’s comfy shoes, and you’ll figure out how to accurately capture the interest of this potentially-lucrative market.
Present Varied Accessibility Options
Speaking of accessibility, make sure that your marketing message makes it easy to get in touch with you, whether it’s to answer questions or (hopefully) take an order. Online access can work well with this generation, but, make sure that phone access is also available.
Contact Information Should be Easy
Of course, if you’re advertising in any type of visual media, your contact information needs to be easy to see. This is not the time for small type or overly-ornate typefaces. And, for heaven’s sake, high contrast is vital; yellow characters on a white background won’t do it.
For audio only, such as radio commercials, repeat your contact information several times, and don’t expect anyone to remember an overly complex website address. In Illinois press briefings, the speakers keep identifying incredibly long addresses, complete with lots of slashes. I’ve been hearing these briefings for many months, and I have yet to remember any of them. Why not just provide the home page address and make all information easy to find on that page? That’s what I would do, but, like the people who need the information, I guess I just don’t have a government mindset.
Senior-Focused Marketing Gives Everyone a Brighter Future
Some say that 65 is the new 45, and, with all of the advances in health care, that may be true. If you have any doubts, check out Lyn Slater, founder of Accidental Icon. If that still doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably seen this 67-year old icon sporting a bright red pant suit in GoDaddy commercials.
Slater’s tag line is, “Make the world you want.” You can contribute to this goal by connecting seniors with products and services that make their lives better by providing accessibility and freedom. Your message can increase your customer base — and simultaneously create a brighter world for people of many ages.