Seniors have a diverse range of care and living needs and wants. That’s the message of Kevin M. Williams, president of SeniorMarketing.com. The company encourages senior living communities and senior care agencies to carefully study their audience as part of developing an effective, targeted ad campaign. While the media enthusiastically portrays the image of the recent retiree with a seven-figure retirement fund, the reality is much more diverse, particularly given recent economic events. As a result, not all seniors are as financially well prepared for their twilight years as others. Williams encourages all senior living communities to think less about themselves and more about the individuals they’re trying to reach.
Aspirational marketing has been the status quo in the senior living sector for decades, but today there is a clear need for a wider scope. Because of improved healthcare, many seniors are remaining independent well into their 70s and 80s. When they do transition into a residential assisted living community, their particular needs may be more intensive than deciding what to do on a Saturday night. Likewise, many elderly people are no longer making all of the decisions regarding their care. Instead, adult children often step in as caregivers, making daily decisions both large and small on behalf of their parent. SeniorMarketing.com considers this fact in its deployment of focused, customer-centric advertising strategies.
“Community owners already recognize that many of their customers are not the exuberant and globetrotting 60-somethings we see in much of the advertising,” said Williams. “The next logical step is to re-orient the message of these communities to connect with their ideal customer. Theoretically, such a message might focus on how assisted living provides a better lifestyle than staying at home, or, from the adult caregiver’s perspective, how continuing care retirement communities can give grown children their life back.”
Williams adds: “Marketing must focus on the potential resident, not the community itself. Seniors and their caregivers, often adult children, are of course more interested in themselves. When advertising doesn’t make that connection, it falls flat.” Marketing to seniors should focus on market segmentation and identifying the correct target market.