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Posts in ‘Marketing to Seniors’

Caregiving, Don’t Go It Alone

Oct 09

Caring for an aging loved one, while rewarding on many levels, can also be both an emotionally-trying and time-consuming experience. Many first-time caregivers find themselves unprepared for the enormity of what lies ahead.  Many caregivers are spouses, some with their own health issues. Others are daughters and sons, over 60% of whom are trying to juggle caregiving while holding down a job. Women are especially affected. It is estimated 89% of women will be caregivers and in addition to caring for their children, they are likely to spend 18 years helping elderly loved ones.

Not only can caregiving be overwhelming, it can also be an isolating experience. Fortunately help is available. We recently sat down with Lisa Huening an eldercare coach and resource specialist for adult children of aging parents. Her company, The Shifting Path, provides caregivers with tools, programs, solutions and emotional support as they navigate the complex world of healthcare, insurance, financial planning, legal issues, aging in place and senior housing.

Statistics show that an increasing number of well-educated Americans are generally delaying marriage and childbirth.  Lisa observed that several of her clients are caring for a parent while raising 12 and 13 year old children of their own. Others are struggling with challenges of long-distance caregiving. Having dealt with these situations in her life, Lisa decided to use the expertise she’d gained helping others find, organize and access needed resources and eldercare services, many of which are often hidden in plain sight within local communities.

Caregiving is often chaotic and unpredictable. Your loved one’s needs grow more complex and you must make difficult, often emotional decisions. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone.

Mature Marketing, Baby Boomer Life Transitions

Jul 31

Mature Marketing, Baby Boomer Life Transitions

In our latest Mature Marketing series, we have been discussing how Baby Boomers have entered a particularly dynamic period of life, filled with ongoing changes and transitions.  This post will focus on the some changes they are experiencing in the family and at home and some of the implications these transitions have for marketers.

  • Children Move Out/Become Grandparent – 83% of older Boomers no longer have children living with them.  85% are grandparents with an average of 4.8 grandchildren. AARP reports the average of age of first-time grandparents is 47. Grandparents represent a $50 billion dollar market. 96% report spending money on their grandchildren with 25% spending $1,000 or more per year.
  • Becoming a Caregiver –13% of older Boomers are caring for an aged parent or relative.  Although the percentage of Boomer caregivers has held steady over the past five years, the number of hours spent in caregiving has increased significantly. Nearly a quarter of Boomer caregivers are providing care 20 or more hours per week. As the caregiver responsibilities increase, these Boomers are likely to be in the market for support services and products. It is estimated that caregivers spend between $5,000-$12,000 per year on a variety of caregiving supplies and services.

For many Baby Boomers, the life’s major events propel them into unfamiliar territory and unleash a host of information and product needs.  According to AARP, more life events occur between the ages of 50-65 than in any other time in a person’s life. The typical Boomer experiences an average of two major life events around career, family, finance or health each year.

With wave after wave of Boomers passing through many of the same experiences, marketers who respond effectively to Baby Boomer life events will reap the rewards for many years to come. Bodden Partners has over 30 years experience testing and refining marketing messages for the mature market. If you would like to learn more about how Bodden Partners is helping our clients successfully navigate and leverage life events, contact Marty Mitchell at

Mature Marketing, Helping Baby Boomers Navigate Change

Jul 09

Our last post touched upon the special skills required for life event marketing. Life events can cause consumers to become uniquely receptive and predisposed to information and services related to the event at hand. However, in order to be successful, marketers need to be sensitive to the stress, confusion and distraction that consumers experience during major life changes.

Bodden Partners has specialized expertise in reaching the emotional levers that drive consumer purchase behavior. Therefore when Transamerica engaged us to market their Medsupp and Medicare prescription plans to hundreds of their affinity partners, we devised a creative strategy that not only sold the product but also supported the consumer through this life transition.

Research revealed that most people are overwhelmed by the number of Medicare insurance plans, the complexities within those plans and the time and effort needed to determine prescription drug choices and out of pocket costs. To further complicate matters, the Transamerica product is an exclusive program offered only to select government agencies, credit unions, associations and employee groups. Some groups fully customized their marketing materials while others preferred to use Transamerica’s messaging.

The marketing program we developed not only sold the product but also reinforced the affinity between the various groups and its members. We designed a web experience and offline direct mail and collateral that could be customized to the needs of each of Transamerica’s hundreds of affinity partners. The images, messaging and calls to action acknowledged the challenges of this life change, while making consumers feel supported, respected, motivated and empowered.  If you would like to know more about our approach to life event marketing, contact Marty Mitchell

In our next post we will continue to explore some of the unique life transitions that Boomers are experiencing and the marketing implications for Mature Marketers.

Mature Marketing, Baby Boomer Life Events

Jul 03

In our last post, we discussed the power of life events to create purchasing behaviors. In this post we will be taking a closer look at some of the major life events affecting Baby Boomers and the implications of these findings for marketers of products and services targeted to the mature market.

  • Retirement – Contrary to popular myth, most Boomers are not putting off retirement.  The first wave of Boomers are now 67 years old and more than half (52%) of them are fully retired and no longer working. The average age at which they retired was 59.5. Those still working plan, on average, to work to age 71. Financial services marketers are expecting a surge of business that will last well into next 20 years. With over half the investable assets in this country, upcoming waves of retiring Boomers will be actively searching for money management advice and guidance.
  • Collecting Social Security – Even though many Boomers continue to work, 86% are collecting Social Security benefits. For many Boomers, along with Social Security comes Medicare. Pew Research Center estimates that 10,000 Americans turn 65 everyday, the minimum age required to qualify for Medicare.  More than 62.3 million people are expected by enrolled by 2020. The market for Medsupp and Medicare Advantage products is expected to increase significantly.

For many Baby Boomers, the above life events also represent a major change in their financial situation. Decisions around retirement, Social Security and Medicare can be overwhelmingly complex. Consumers going though major transitions are often confused, anxious and distracted. Therefore life event marketing requires special communication skills. Marketers not only need to time their life event offers correctly, but also ensure their messaging is empathetic and supportive.

In our next post, we will discuss how marketers can effectively achieve the dual objectives of communicating product benefits while supporting the consumer through a life transition.

Mature Marketing, the Power of Baby Boomer Life Events

Jun 20

Marketers have long recognized the power of life event triggers to create purchasing behaviors. It is estimated that 75% of consumers who seek financial advice do so because of a major life event.

Life event marketers will find a rich target with today’s Baby Boomers. They lead diverse and dynamic lives and are experiencing an increasing number of changes and needs as they age. According to AARP, the typical Boomer experiences an average of two major life events around career, family, finance or health each year.

Events such as retirement, adult children leaving home, becoming a grandparent, becoming a caregiver to an aging spouse or parent and other major life transitions often trigger a need for products and services to help them navigate their new circumstances.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute recently took a detailed look at the life events that are currently impacting the first wave of Boomers, born in 1946 after World War II.  In upcoming installments of the Mature Marketing blog, Bodden Partners will be discussing these findings and the implications they have for life event marketers.

Mature Marketing, The Caregiver Marketplace

May 23

Family caregivers are a vital and growing, but often overlooked marketplace. There are approximately 66 million caregivers performing a variety of tasks and making any number of purchasing decisions, ranging from buying food for special diets to shopping for medical equipment and supplies to arranging for outside care.

A recent survey revealed that caregivers spend on average anywhere from $5,000-$12,000 annually out of their own pockets caring for loved ones. Some participants in the survey were asked to keep detailed spending diaries, others simply estimated their expenses. Those who kept written diaries reported much higher levels of spending which may suggest that caregivers are underestimating the amount and the frequency of the purchases they make on behalf of their loved ones.

The largest categories of caregiver spending varied between paid home care assistance and medical expenses. The medical expense category included prescription and OTC drugs, co-pays and insurance premiums. Other categories tracked in the study were medical equipment and supplies, personal care products and home modifications. Caregivers also report purchasing cleaning and yard maintenance services and pet care products and services.  Given the levels and frequency of caregiver spending, marketers offering these products should strongly consider adding caregivers to their target audience.

Not only are caregivers major buyers but they are also key influencers in healthcare purchase decisions. A study by The Caregiver’s Advisory Panel (TCAP) discovered that 96% of caregivers influence decisions regarding the purchase of caregiving health products, and 79% of caregivers purchase all or nearly all of those products. In our experience, caregivers are also very influential in the purchase of a host of financial products and services including long term care insurance, life insurance, Medicare supplement insurance and related products.

Caregiver marketing is rewarding yet challenging, in large part because caregivers are not easily identified. In a future edition of this blog we will discuss caregiver targeting in greater detail. Please join the discussion.

Mature Marketing, Reaching Male Caregivers

May 15

As discussed in our last post, a growing number of men are assuming caregiver responsibilities. However, many marketers of products and services geared to the mature market still exclusively focus their messaging on a female target audience.  However, as we conducted proprietary research for our client, Always Best Care, we uncovered a pent-up demand for messaging that would resonate specifically to with male caregivers.

Always Best Care Senior Services provides both non-medical in-home care and assisted living placement services.  In preparation for a new TV campaign, we conducted a series of in-depth one-on-one interviews with Always Best Care customers. We noticed in the interviews that male caregivers described their needs, experiences, concerns, reactions and approach to caregiving differently from women.

Larger research studies confirm these findings. Male caregivers are more likely to be working fulltime, more likely to live farther away and less comfortable providing hands-on, intimate and personal care such as bathing and toileting.  In her book Passages into Caregiving, Gail Sheehy summarizes two years of research and hundreds of interviews that prove these insights. She found men more commonly take on executive tasks like managing finances, legal and insurance issues.

Men are also much less likely to be caregivers for a person over the age of 50. When the person receiving care is aged 18-49, 47% of caregivers are male.  However if the person receiving care is over age 50, the caregiver gender balance shifts to 68% female, and only 32% male.

These factors contribute to why more men than women tend to employ outside, paid, professional help such as the services that Always Best Care provides. Male caregivers actually use paid assistance at a rate of 40%. And among caregivers of people over 50, it’s the men who are more likely to actually arrange for that help.

So in this case a senior services company targeting only women would actually miss the mark. At Bodden Partners we recognize the need to look beyond stereotypes and understand the needs and nuances in your audience in order to create effective marketing communications.

Mature Marketing, a Look at Male Caregivers

May 10

Baby Boomer Male CaregiverIn recent editions of this Mature Marketing blog, we have been discussing the vital role of caregivers and why marketers need to effectively communicate with them.

The face of caregiving is changing. While the typical caregiver is still female, a third of all caregivers are male. The number of men caring for an older adult has doubled in the past 15 years. There are a number of societal and demographic factors behind this growing trend. One of these is that more families are having fewer children which eventually results in more sons becoming responsible for parental care.  Divorce also increases the odds that a son will become responsible for the care of his aged parents.

Another factor leading to an increase in male caregivers is the increase in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. As more baby boomers become seniors, incidence is expected to rapidly increase. Risk doubles for every five years in age after age 65. Twice as many people have Alzheimer’s today as in 1980 and the rate is expected to double by 2050 to an estimated 16 million adults. Because Alzheimer’s affects women more than men, more husbands are becoming spousal caregivers.

Male caregivers share the same level of devotion to their loved ones as female caregivers. However, a number of studies and experts in the field have identified several key areas in which the caregiving experience is different for men:

  • Older men came of age before the cultural shift in gender roles. Therefore they tend to be less prepared or more uncomfortable with household tasks such as cleaning and cooking and altering recipes to accommodate medical conditions.
  • Sons are also less likely to be involved in the more intimate, personal care such as bathing and toileting. If they do perform these tasks, they tend to provide such care to fathers, rather than mothers.
  • More men are long distance caregivers, as a result they have to travel further or spend more time organizing care from a distance.
  • Male caregivers are much more likely to be working full time (82% vs 70% of female caregivers). Yet men are less likely to seek support from their employers or co-workers. They are less likely to make accommodations in their work schedule or responsibilities.

How can product and service providers, healthcare professionals and marketers effectively support male caregivers? What product development opportunities exist by segment (i.e. long distance caregivers, younger male caregivers, older male caregivers, working professionals, etc)?  In future editions of this blog, we will discuss these and other caregiving topics. We invite you to join the conversation.

Mature Marketing, From the Baby Boom to the Patient Boom

May 08

In a previous post, we wrote about how Baby Boomers are transforming healthcare. The gains Boomers are experiencing in longevity coupled with their higher levels of chronic illnesses will present the health care system with serious challenges. If current trends continue, the American Hospitals Association projects that:

  • More than six of every 10 Boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition.
  • One of every four Boomers will be living with diabetes and require ongoing inpatient and outpatient medical management.
  • Nearly one out of every two Boomers will be living with arthritis.
  • Falls, hip fractures, knee replacements and other aging-related complications and procedures will skyrocket.

All these Boomers with all these conditions will stretch the healthcare system and drive it to develop creative ways to handle the volume and diversity of their needs. The health services industry from physicians to hospitals to home care services to insurance companies and telemedicine providers are gearing up to meet the challenges and the unprecedented opportunities of Boomer demand.

As has been discussed in this blog series, effectively marketing health services to Boomers requires special skills. They are a diverse group with different attitudes, perceptions, resources and behaviors. Yet marketers who crack the code of effectively communicating their offers will reap the rewards as the graying of America continues for many years to come.

Mature Marketing, Baby Boomers Transforming Healthcare

Apr 30

Largely thanks to advancements in medicine and drop in smoking rates, according to data compiled by the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 83. Women, can expect to live on average to 85. And those are just averages. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95.

The sheer gains in longevity among the Boomer generation have given them an overall perception of being vital and youthful. Images of mature consumers in the media depict them as leading active, healthy lifestyles. This is in keeping with how Boomers generally perceive themselves.

Yet upon closer study an interesting paradox emerges. The increased longevity does not mean Boomers are the picture of health. Recent studies show that many Baby Boomers actually have higher levels of hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and higher rates of disability than their parents. Among those with lower incomes and lower levels of education, incidence of disease is even higher. However, through the use of prescription drugs many of these chronic conditions can be successfully treated and managed for years.

The sheer number of Boomers, especially those with chronic conditions, will present healthcare system with serious challenges. AARP estimates that from now to 2030, Boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day. How will healthcare professionals and hospitals prepare for the demands aging baby boomers will place on the system? What are the implications for healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers? How will marketers of insurance, financial services and senior care services be impacted? These issues will be discussed in a future posts on this blog.