When I think of retirement, I think of all things related to the 65+ population including pension or financial retirement plans, senior living communities, health related products etc. As my title suggests, it is time for such companies that provide these goods and services to turn to digital marketing as a way to introduce themselves to their consumers. Initially, the drawback was that these 65+ year olds did not use the Internet, as they perceived it was complicated or unnecessary but web 2.0 has changed that.
After lagging in technology adoption, the older generations are becoming the fastest growing groups for accepting digital tools. It is said that in the US, these “silver surfers” are becoming more active Internet users. Between 2005 and 2009, the number of senior users increased by 55% and has been growing ever since with the biggest demographics is in healthcare. This shows that healthcare marketing for retirees need to include this audience. As seen in the 2010 chart below, though the generation does not focus their use on social networking (though this a changing with a 88% growth from 2009 -2010), they use it for buying for products, which can be honed by marketers. How? By having the smallest form of online presence- a simple, well designed website. Also we find out that email is the primary way for social contact, which calls for email marketing.
To go with this growth trend, there are more marketing agencies which focus on just sections of retirement marketing for example GlynnDevins which focuses on senior living (http://www.glynndevins.com/Main/Portfolio.aspx). They explain that most seniors need validation when it comes to purchasing a product or hiring for services so good photography and videos are key for senior online marketing and the Internet is becoming the cheapest way to put these out. But these materials have to be a little more convincing than the video below. They also need to understand which sites seniors use and what they do there. For example, Facebook is the third most visited site by seniors. A company should know that if they have 100 likes from their senior consumers, they are the brand loyal and this should be leveraged.
That being said, the question is - So will digital marketing be a success with retirees? My answer is yes but the ability to understand and leverage the platforms will determine success.
There are many significant moments in Internet history in the past 21 years but I decided to choose one, which had an impact in my daily life, and this is the introduction of Social Networking. I will say 2004 is the year it all change with the introduction of Facebook.
Social Networking changed the way we connected with people. We now live in a world where communication can be ‘free’ and we can send instant messages with friends and families all over the world. We rarely use our phones to call but to tweet, Skype and Facebook. We have friends that we have never seen and can connect with anyone we want to. Without Social Networks, I know I would have less than a million friends. I can choose to share my inner most thoughts with millions of people with a click of a button. HOW AMAZING IS THAT? It made us willing to share our ideas and interest. To be honest, I think it made the world more transparent. People share their experience via tweets, videos and we have the opportunity to leave comments.
Here are two of my personal experiences with social networking to show why I think it is important.
During a Christmas holiday, I created an online profile for my elder sister on a dating website called eharmony.com. It was a prank and as expected it was hilarious to see her matches. As we browsed the profiles, she saw that an ex-boyfriend of hers from high school was single and definitely searching. She contacted him using the site and they met up and they have been together every since. Before the such dating sites, my sister would have know that he was single and if she by chance got that information, she would have needed phone number or an email address to contact him. Social Networking has made connections easy and made people more accessible. YOU CANNOT HIDE! I WILL FIND YOU!
Recently, I created a LinkedIn profile recently to help be have an online professional presence. My main reason was that I didn’t like only my Facebook profile to be accessible to the public. I applied for a job at a company and I remembered that I had a contact on the site that worked in the company. I had the chance to ask for a referral, which improved my chances. Social Networking goes beyond entertainment, it can be used in a professional capacity.
For whatever reason you use social networking site, I am pretty sure it is important in your daily activity.