Sixty-five doesn’t look as old as I thought it would, but perhaps that’s because I’m getting older!
When I look at my dad, his hair is a little more on the salty side of salt and pepper and the wrinkles in his sun-warmed skin have grown a bit deeper, but that’s just on the surface. He rides his Harley regularly. Does all of his own landscaping. Walks most every afternoon, and on Sunday, loves a good game of golf. An avid reader and history buff, the internet gives him plentiful entertainment when rain keeps him indoors.
To dad, 65 looks a little different — something akin to vultures hovering overhead. Yes, he is getting older, but he would tell you that “being a senior” is a state of mind, not something he wants to be called by complete strangers!
Case in point: while many businesses perform senior marketing, that does not mean they are senior-friendly. Senior-friendly businesses take the steps to develop relationships and gain trust with the members of the community they serve; they are considerate and compassionate toward the needs of their mature audience. To become a senior-friendly marketer, give the following tips a try:
1. Market to the person, not the age.
Your communication needs to add value for the recipient, but above all, it needs to be relevant. Segment your messaging to meet the needs and interests of the audience — and remember that not everyone considered a senior will think or act alike. Understanding generational cohorts (like Boomers, the Silent Generation, and GIs) is an excellent way to create one-to-one communications that speak directly to the recipient. A tool like SourcePlus, AccuData’s proprietary list selection platform, leverages multiple sources of data to identify unique consumers that meet your desired geographic and demographic criteria. In addition to offering an average of 20% lift over single source lists, SourcePlus has excellent coverage of date of birth data and income, both of which are valuable assets for segmentation initiatives.
2. Be clear, be honest.
All communications should be written using language that is simple and straightforward; avoid using complex, industry-specific jargon and focus instead on clearly outlining the offer, benefits, call to action, and terms/conditions. Also highlight personalized, face-to-face services that are available — Epsilon noted in a recent channel preference study that up to 80% of consumers age 66 and older prefer to pay in person or mail in a check.
3. Use thoughtful designs.
High contrast colors and a larger font size (preferably 12 or 14-point font in a sans-serif type style) make your message easier for aging eyes to read. Whitespace can be particularly beneficial when used to draw attention to important content. And when it comes to imagery, consider using pictures of individuals that are about 10 years younger than your desired audience. Variable print should be considered as well, as the images used can be changed based on the gender of the head of household you are targeting.
4. Have a digital presence.
Mature audiences are information seekers and you can place your valuable content directly into their hands with digital channels. While seniors are likely to be slower to adopt new technology, according to the Pew Research Center, 56% of individuals age 65 and older are now using Facebook and 47% have broadband access at home. With today’s digital marketing capabilities like Facebook advertising and Direct IP Targeting, it’s just like delivering direct mail — only digitally.
5. Perform deceased suppression regularly.
The honest truth is that when marketing to an aging audience, passings become more frequent. Avoid creating sensitive situations with families that have suffered a tremendous loss by removing the names of deceased individuals from your direct mail campaigns. Deceased suppression can be performed quickly on your current customer files as well as prospect lists you may acquire.
So back to my dad and the aforementioned topic of his furrowed brow…he says the responsibility for that rests squarely on my shoulders.