Why Your Senior Living Marketing Message Must Be Generational

three generation family walking outdoors in park

May 21, 2018 | Marketing & Branding

Unlike marketing low-calorie meals to the weight-conscious, or luxury automobiles to higher-income individuals, the purchase decision process in senior living is a bit more complicated. As we all know, the “end-user” is not the only decision-maker in the senior living buyer journey.

Other family members, particularly the adult children of older adults, make the marketing task a uniquely generational one in senior living. The fact is that it’s often the adult children who first notice changes in the abilities of their aging parents and recognize their need for a safer, less-burdensome lifestyle. They frequently open the discussion from which the journey begins.

Is Your Marketing Strategy Skipping a Generation?

But how many senior living communities devote sufficient thought, time and energy to identifying marketing strategies, messages and communications channels that also appeal to this younger generation?  Both audiences – older adults and their adult children – are essential “players” in the buyer journey and are critical to senior living lead generation, census enhancement and profitable growth.

While both audiences are very important, they can also be quite different in their thoughts and emotions regarding senior living. Adult children may have anxiety about an aging parent’s safety and well-being while the parent may be apprehensive of moving from their long-time home, as well as a general fear of the unknown.

These are two clearly distinct concerns, which require very different marketing and communications strategies.

Generational Media Preferences are Different and Continue to Evolve

A recent article in HubSpot, “Are You Marketing Effectively Across Generational Lines?,” underscores SageAge Strategies’ philosophy of diversifying your marketing, messaging and media focus to include all key influencers in the purchase decision process.

HubSpot’s research team recently surveyed consumers to collect original data on content consumption preferences. What stood out this year, they say, is that, “while the average consumer preferences might show certain trends, you need to get granular with your data if you want to truly understand how different segments of consumers interact. Namely, consumers in different age groups have vastly different preferences when it comes to consuming, accessing, and discovering content.”

Some Key Facts from HubSpot’s Generational Marketing Survey

  • Overall, mobile device usage beats out desktop use by only 5%, but when you break the data down by age group, the differences are clearer. For consumers age 44 and younger, mobile is now the clearly preferred way of accessing content. Does all of your community’s content include a mobile responsive design?

  • Consumers in all age groups go to Google and Facebook to catch up on news and lifestyle stories. However, this is particularly true for younger age groups, while older age groups – including the 45-54 age cohort – are still more likely to access stories via publication websites, mobile notifications and email newsletters. Is your Facebook page and other social content (including blogging) effectively addressing the issues and concerns of adult children as well as their aging parents?

  • Email still has a place in senior living marketing. Although young consumers are much less interested in email, close to 60% of consumers in the 45-54 age range want to see brand content via email. Are you using best practice email techniques to optimize your response rate and engage adult children?

Start Making Your Marketing Strategy Multi-Generational Today

The HubSpot article advises that preferences will continue to change over time. For example, they say, “As millennials get older, we’ll very naturally see a shift towards their content consumption preferences.”

The key is to stay current with your primary audiences (your senior prospects and their adult children) to deliver the content they want in the manner that they want it.  In terms of appealing to the adult child generation, there are certain factors you should consider in order to create a precision marketing plan. For example:

  • What are the men and women of this generation thinking and feeling about their aging parents? Are they fearful? Are they emotional? Are they in denial about the decline that they might be witnessing?

  • What key messages resonate most effectively with this generation’s current circumstances, address their questions and concerns, and provide them with useful information to engage with you in their quest for solutions to their parents’ situation?

  • What communications channels and technologies are preferred by this generation?

The good news is that by using relevant messaging, the right mix of communications channels and appropriate design elements including visual imagery, you can create parallel marketing tracks that hit the mark with both older adults and the adult children who care about their well-being.

Know Your Markets and Craft Your Message Accordingly

Harkening back to Marketing 101, it is essential to adapt your message to the life experiences of your key audiences – what they think, what they feel, and what they need. In other words, “know thy market!” And clearly, younger family members have a much different set of issues and concerns than their aging parents.

Any effective marketing strategy begins with an in-depth understanding of your target audiences. There are a variety of ways you can do this. For example:

  • Online research: Search online resources that profile the segment of your audience and provide insight as to what matters to them.

  • Primary research techniques: Direct conversations with those who represent your key audiences are an ideal way to gather intelligence on what makes them tick and what they really want. One-on-one discussions are useful, as are inexpensive focus group sessions that provide in-depth, qualitative information about your audience.

In addition, SageAge Strategies’ marketing professionals are experts in the needs and concerns of adult children and the messages and media channels that have the greatest appeal to them. Using persona-based information, we will help you to gain a better picture of your target audiences’ values, beliefs, preferences and perceptions to create results-based marketing strategies that send the right message to the right audience at the right time.

SageAge Strategies: Leaders in Generational Marketing, Messaging and Lead Creation

At SageAge Strategies, our team of marketing professionals and consultants excel in the latest senior living strategies and best practices that increase quality lead generation and grow your occupancy. If you need assistance in best-practice strategic growth planning, digital marketing, branding, social media, blogging, market research, integrated marketing, direct marketing, website optimization, sales training and creative services to improve your performance, we invite you to contact us today to learn more.

SageAge Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living industry. For more information, please call or email Tom Senger at 704-619-9337 / tom@sageagestrategies.com.

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