I have been working in the elder care marketing industry for more than 20 years and have seen seniors continue to develop and evolve as a powerful customer group. Yet, I am always surprised to see just how many businesses outside the senior industry fail to recognize this group as an actual customer base.
So what should marketing, advertising and public relations professionals do to tap into this growing market? Below are a few tips that elder care marketers always keep in mind when promoting products and services to this customer group.
Disregard all stereotypes that you’ve ever heard about senior citizens. People today over the age of 55 are active, full of life, and extremely well informed. They control nearly 45 percent of our country’s disposable income and have many different wants and needs. These characteristics apply to both the growing number of baby-boomers reaching their sixties, as well as to their parents!
Use straight talk and positive language when marketing your products and services. Do not talk down to this customer base or use cute phrases or dialogue that can turn them off. Perhaps just as important, avoid using words like “old” or “elderly” when directing your message to seniors or to their caregiver. We have yet to come up with the right title for this group. Even the name senior citizen offends many.
Talk about problem solving when targeting seniors. Remember that many seniors have saved their entire lifetime and are also well informed consumers. They often have the extra time to learn about products and to make careful decisions about them. Do not expect this market segment to make snap decisions. Demonstrate that you have the solution for their needs.
One last word about treating seniors as a serious customer base. Over the years, many watchdog groups have formed to protect seniors from unethical business practices. Keep your advertising focused and realistic!
If you would like to discuss or review your plan to market to seniors, contact Focus on Aging.
Marla Levie, BSW, MA, is the President and Founder of Focus on Aging, an established Chicago-based marketing, consulting and recruitment firm. For over 20 years, Marla has successfully been providing consulting, social media and recruiting services to the elder care market and to other service professions. For more information about Focus on Aging, contact Marla at info@focusonaging or at www.focusonaging.com.