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Posts from February, 2013

Respect your elders, they’re more connected than you think

Feb 27

Despite the common perception that online is the domain of the young, Baby Boomers are much more connected than many people may believe. While the mature market may not have been the first to adopt these technologies, they are now the primary drivers of growth in online usage. A recent report by Nielsen reveals some impressive statistics:

  • 1/3 of all online and social media users are Baby Boomers
  • 8 million of them spend 20 or more hours a week online
  • They are the driving force behind the growth of social networking
  • They spend almost $7 billion dollars shopping online

What is behind this surge in activity? Part of the answer lies in the sheer size of the mature market. However, the report also reveals that many are embracing technology for practical as well as emotional reasons. Technology allows mature audiences to stay socially and intellectually connected to their contemporary world, it also helps validate the Baby Boomer self-image of being experiential, progressive and perpetually youthful.

What does all of this mean for markets? A cohesive and comprehensive digital marketing strategy must be tailored to the specific needs, attitudes and interests of seniors online. Demographers have repeatedly emphasized that Boomers are markedly different from other generations. Beyond the values that distinguish them, they are also mature, experienced, discerning and sophisticated consumers. In order to elicit and trigger desired responses, marketers must understand and respect these cumulative life experiences and perceptions and communicate accordingly.

Bodden Partners has expertise in marketing a variety of products and services from insurance to investments and financial products to aging-related services to mature audiences. If you would like an assessment of your online and offline program, contact Marty Mitchell, Partner, Chief Marketing Officer mmitchell@boddenpartners.com

Respect your elders, they’re a direct marketers’ best friend

Feb 20

Using direct marketing to reach the mature market—adults 50 years of age and older—can be extremely effective. Older audiences are significantly more responsive to direct mail than younger audiences. They have been active and loyal users of mail for many years and that behavior is shown in how they respond to print-based techniques.

Yet common assumptions about mature audiences and digital channels are often incorrect. As the above chart shows, email is a highly effective medium for reaching the mature market. Recent research by Forrester reveals that Baby Boomers comprise more than one-third of the adult online population. A separate article summarizing findings by Hanover Research shows those Baby Boomers spend an average of 39 hours a month online. Therefore direct marketers do well to stay abreast of the quickly changing media landscape and consumer adoption trends in order to determine which direct marketing channels are best able to reach the mature market.

Bodden Partners has over 30 years experience testing and refining direct marketing messages for the mature market. We’ve found that older adults require more thoughtful approaches and tailored communications strategies. From targeting to personalization to messaging to design, creating compelling direct marketing for mature audiences is both a science and an art.

We’d be happy to help you identify areas for improvement in your current mature marketing efforts.  Contact Marty Mitchell, Partner/Chief Marketing Officer at mmitchell@boddenpartners.com

Respect your elders – they affect everyone they touch

Feb 06

As marketers, we are well aware that the influence of Boomers and older Seniors go well beyond their much-touted spending power. They also influence the lives, time and money of the younger generations in their circles. Take caregiving, for example. Pew Research finds that 14% of adults in their 40s and 50s have already cared for an aging parent or other elderly family member, and nearly 70% say that it is likely they will have to in the future.  Caregiving creates a ripple effect of emotional, physical and financial consequences for families. It can even affect the younger generation’s ability to save, whether it’s for their own retirement or their children’s education.

Many of us at Bodden Partners have lived through these challenges in our own lives. We understand that while caregiving is demanding it can also be a deeply gratifying and rewarding experience for everyone involved. We call upon these personal experiences to help us create more empathetic communications.

Caregiving also creates a ripple effect of marketing opportunities. Caregiving is a family affair that unleashes a host of unmet needs and pent-up demands for information, products and services both for the senior and those providing their care. For example, if you’re a senior whose spouse has health issues, you may want to protect your own future with additional life insurance because you realize that you’re losing assets due to the costs associated with the illness. Stressed out caregivers start looking for respite care, in-home care and senior housing. Seeing their parents in need of help dramatically increases the likelihood that a Gen-X son or daughter will soon be purchasing long-term care insurance to protect themselves, as well as shield their own children’s financial future.

According to AARP, the typical Boomer experiences an average of two major life events around career, family, finance or health each year.  Many of these changes touch the lives of everyone the Boomer touches.  At Bodden Partners, we leverage these life events to help clients serving the senior market expand their target market, communications channels and customer base to reach all possible targets, even those that at first glance may seem hidden.

Respect your elders, they’re younger than you think!

Feb 04

One of our favorite commercials from last night’s historic Super Bowl was Taco Bell’s “Live Más” campaign starring 87 year-old Bernie Goldblatt and his friends who sneak out of a retirement home for a night on the town. The night starts off with a dip in someone else’s swimming pool and then includes stops at a dance club and tattoo parlor and of course, a stop at Taco Bell, for a late night feast. The commercial’s theme song “We Are Young” is sung in Spanish and captures the spirit which makes this spot so engaging and fun to watch.

Although, according to Taco Bell’s agency, the ad is aimed at Millennials, we were attracted to it because it vividly depicts the renewed sense of energy and spirit of many older Americans. According to a number of recent surveys, the older people get, the younger they feel. A study by the Pew Research Center found that while a quarter of young people feel older than their age, among adults 65 and older, fully 60% say they actually feel younger than their age. How much younger? One in six report feeling at least 20 years younger than their actual age. Additionally, more than three in four seniors aged 60 to 69 expect their quality of life to stay the same or get better over the next five to ten years.

While these seniors may not be feasting on fast food or sporting brand new tattoos, they are breaking a number of stereotypes that younger people may have about them. More importantly, this dynamic has direct implications for marketers who must exercise great caution not to create communications that could be perceived as offensive, condescending or insensitive to the audience. Every effective message targeting Baby Boomers and older audiences can express comprehension of and empathy toward these consumers. As a communications agency with a growing number of clients serving the senior market, we make sure the work we create starts from the strategy of reflecting our understanding of how these consumers view themselves. We emphasize what they value most — the prospect of continued youthfulness, vitality and independence.