If you’re a senior living marketer and you haven’t created a strategy for marketing to boomers, you better hop to it—and quickly. Below are four hot tips to keep in mind.
Develop different marketing strategies for Boomers I and Boomers II.
Say what? Yes, you need to think of Baby Boomers in two distinct categories—and for good reason.
As Beresford Research explains, “We occasionally break up Boomers into two different cohorts because the span is so large, and the oldest of the generation have different sensibilities than the younger. In the U.S., Boomers II are just young enough to have missed being drafted into war.”
We added the emphasis in the above quote because it’s a key point. Your strategy for marketing to older Boomers should be different from how you talk to younger Boomers.
As we write this post in 2022, the folks in “Boomers I” range from 68 to 76. The folks in “Boomers II” range from 58 to 67. You likely know what we’re going to say next . . . an almost 60-year-old Boomer is going to have vastly different needs than a 75-year-old Boomer. And how you market to them will need to be different as a result.
Focus on the right Boomers for your senior living community.
Not every Boomer is a candidate for what you’re selling. For example, not every 68-year-old will be a good match for your senior living community, and that’s OK. Your job as a senior living marketer is to focus on 68-year-olds who ARE a great match for your community.
That’s why buyer persona research is so important. Here’s the thing, though. Sometimes it’s hard for people within the C-suite and even within senior living marketing and sales teams to understand how valuable this research is.
See, buyer persona research doesn’t produce something tangible for your investment—it’s not like a website, white paper, or batch of social media posts. What persona research gives you is insights—insights into who your ideal buyer is based on what your community offers, its price points, its location, and so forth. If you’re operating a community in midland Texas, for example, your ideal buyer will be different from the ideal buyer who is looking for a beachside community in San Diego.
Be nimble with your messaging.
One of the most important pieces of advice we can offer is this: Prepare to pivot. A lot.
Because there are two discrete Boomer cohorts, you’ll need to design different messages—messages that will need to evolve over time and as people age from one to the other.
You should also get in the habit of regularly testing your messages—from email subject lines, to ad headlines, to landing page copy, to everything in between. Pay close attention to the results, and never assume results will remain static. You’ll need to adjust, refine, and possibly redevelop messaging much more often than you did when creating messaging for older generations. What works one year—or in one campaign—might not work in the next one.
You’ll also need to adjust your marketing plans accordingly. For example, you might need to earmark more budget for ongoing persona work and messaging development.
Back in the “old days” of senior living marketing, plenty of tried-and-true marketing vehicles existed, like direct mailers, print ads, and even church bulletins. But some of the folks in the Boomer II cohort are only 58! They are incredibly tech savvy with their smartphones and social media. They conduct much of their daily lives online, from banking to buying a car to planning their retirement.
Bottom line: Determining a sweet spot for marketing to younger Boomers won’t happen overnight—if it happens at all. That’s why you need to embrace experimentation and get creative with your marketing. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but also accept that not all marketing vehicles are going to give you the results you’re looking for.
When test-driving new marketing vehicles, a) don’t over-invest and b) make sure you test, test, test. If you discover a marketing vehicle that delivers a solid ROI, wonderful. But never assume it will always deliver the same ROI.
Marketing has changed dramatically over the last two decades—and more seismic shifts are bound to occur over the next ten years. Pay attention. Test all assumptions. Do more of what works. But always be prepared to abandon what’s stopped working.
BONUS: Choose an agency partner who is equally nimble.
If you decide to outsource your senior living marketing to an agency, make sure you choose a partner that understands the four tips above. Your agency partner should have expertise in persona development, analytics, and the latest marketing tactics. At Senior Living SMART, we can handle all of that—and more. Get in touch and let’s talk about marketing to boomers!