Marketing to seniors or mature markets is a critical aspect for any marketer today. Whether you’re a health care marketer, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, or Medicare Advantage marketer—or anyone interested in following where your growth in market share and revenue will come from in the next 20 or 30 years. Marketing to seniors effectively and being adept at the nuances and cultural values necessary for marketing to seniors can make or break your campaign efforts. Why? As the famed bank robber Willie Sutton allegedly said when asked why he robs banks, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Why marketing to seniors is worth it.
According to a recent study, nearly 70% of all the disposable income in the U.S. will reside with this growing senior audience within just five years. Nearly 8,000 boomers turn 65 every day. And they’ll keep joining and expanding the senior audience for the next 18 years.
If you want to be part of that market growth and appeal to this “rich” target audience, you’ll need to be right with them as they’re transitioning from making money to spending it. And it begins with understanding what motivates this mature market, drives their decision making, what’s important and valuable to them, and where and how they shop and buy is important if you want to stay relevant and on the top of the senior audience’s shopping list for any product or service.
What are mature audiences buying?
What are some of the market opportunities for marketing to seniors? Take a look at a short list of what seniors plan to buy and need in the coming years:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Estate planning
- Financial planning
- Second home
- Long term care insurance
- Independent living
- Retirement homes
- Leisure activities
- Hobbies and crafts
- Photo collecting
- Home electronics
- Cars and boats
- Laptop, notebooks, and smartphones
- Entertainment and on and on
Think for a moment what the average millennial might have as disposable income, or what might make up their “shopping list,” and you have some idea of the enormity of the opportunities available marketing to seniors.
Where do you reach mature audiences?
Of all the things that are changing within this audience segment, the marketing mix and picking the right combination of touch-points to effectively reach seniors is one that’s changing the most and the least at the same time. A media shift and a channel preference are definitely underway, driven by the influx of younger seniors and new boomers into the demographic. But like all good outreach plans, the best course seems to be an integrated marketing mix—one that blends the traditional and relied-upon media with the new media iterations like social, internet, and email. Here are a few facts that point to a changeover:
Seniors are active adopters of digital and social media:
- 60% of seniors 65+ are online
- 65% of online seniors made purchases because of email
- 35% of internet users 65+ use social networking sites like Facebook
- Three out of five seniors go to the internet for news
- 28% have a smartphone
Yet seniors are still active consumers of traditional media:
- Seniors still watch an average 4.2 hours of TV a day.
- Direct mail is cited by 85% of seniors as a reason to purchase.
- While declining for all demographics, 65% of newspaper readers are still seniors.
- And according to the Scarborough research and the Newspaper Advertising Association, seniors represent the highest HHI.
Remember to market to senior interests , too.
Regardless of the medium, the message, of course is everything. As senior lifestyles change, so do their interests. Yes, they are adopting and using social media and the internet. But they’re using it to share photos and memories with friends and family. They’re spreading and taking in news about their local community online. They’re exploring or expanding their interests and hobbies in a more intent way now that they have the time and the money to do so.
Want to connect and reach mature markets effectively? It’s not all digital and online and it’s not all print and traditional. Based on our experience marketing to seniors and research, a market mix of online plus traditional outreach works best, including print and broadcast plus opportunities for in-person informational meetings and WOM influence from their friends, family, and advisers. We’ve seen integrated campaigns plus personal informational meetings lift total campaign response rates 5x goal.
What do you see working best reaching seniors and mature markets?