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How to Target Senior Citizens in West Phoenix

Outside of targeted digital strategies, there are plenty of ways to reach and engage senior citizens in West Phoenix. The biggest factor is tailoring your message to their values as this garners their trust and loyalty. Remember, this is an age group that tends to lean on traditional values, so it's imperative to consider their well-being. In our ever-changing world, many elderly citizens fear their best interest isn't a priority or even considered at all. Since I've had success with geriatric and retirement demographics, I thought I'd share some of the insight I've organized over the past few years in Sun City, Peoria, and Surprise, Arizona.
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First and foremost, targeting senior citizens in the West Valley needs to be purposeful. A majority of them are either visiting for the winter, or settling in for the remainder of their lives. The decisions they make are concrete and if it’s your goal to change their behaviors, then you need to do so with quality promotions. No matter what you take away from this article, it’s imperative that you understand their perspective. This is something we take pride in at PreFocus.

A Few Senior Stereotypes.

Before we begin our senior targeting list, there are a few bias viewpoints I want to touch on regarding this growing demographic.

  1. Seniors Are Cheap – I couldn’t disagree more. Look around and you’ll notice most of them driving brand new vehicles or golf carts with plenty of bells and whistles. Not to mention the amount of cash poured into pet grooming. Price can’t be discounted with the elderly. Purchase decisions by seniors (especially regarding healthcare) are usually made based on what the solution can do for them. They want to trust their investment. Once they can clearly see HOW it meets their need, price doesn’t necessarily matter. Avoid making them feel this way by harnessing a qualitative message over an affordable one.
  2. Seniors Don’t Really Matter – Believe it or not, categorizing seniors as important, will garner more interest than you think. Too often, advertisements are geared towards younger generations (or et al) and their demographic is left hanging. Messaging that isn’t catered to their unique situation is a huge turn off and causes them to believe it’s not in their best interest. Promoting a large amount of copy (text) and stock images on flyers tend to overwhelm seniors. If you haven’t taken the time to tailor a more simplistic message with photos that showcase your value, then you’re missing on a ton of opportunity.
  3. Seniors Need to be Told What’s Best – Senior citizens can be a stubborn bunch. Not only do they purposefully avoid change due to fear, but they really dislike being told what to do. Think of it this way: Once seniors begin losing their ability to care for themselves, they want to hold onto every sense of pride they can. They’ve been immersed in purchases or processes that have worked for them for a long time and they truly believe they know what’s best – for them. Using tactics that support change (we’ll discuss some below) help them understand what’s best instead of ego draining direction.

Consider the above takeaways as you progress through my guide to targeting senior citizens below..

1. Social Media and Content Marketing.

Many of you might think I’m crazy for putting this at the top of my list but let me hit you with a few statistics before the chuckles roll off your tongue. According to Target Marketing Magazine, 47% of seniors 50-65, and 30% of 66+ preferred online communications and transactions in 2012. In 2013, those numbers increased to 65% of seniors 50-65, and 34% 66+. In order to understand what they use the internet for, here are some of their behaviors. 94% of seniors use the internet for e-mail; 77% use it shop; 71% use it to allocate health information; and 70% use it to read the news. If you notice one common theme, they’re engaged in some form of content. Although most don’t believe seniors are on social platforms, they are. They realize that technology can help improve their health while giving them a form of engagement they can’t receive bedside.

Whether they find content on social media platforms while keeping tabs on family members and old friends, or come across a relevant ad while browsing for a gift they’re shopping for – seniors are present online. The problem with most senior citizen targeting efforts are the reasons I listed in the beginning of this article. Ads or content that’s not geared towards their demographic tends to disinterest them while creating a poor first impression. This doesn’t solidify they aren’t online – it solidifies you’re not presenting them with a purposeful message. A targeted strategy with an agenda alongside brand clarity will help you overcome this marketing bias.

2. Create or Collaborate for a Tailored Event.

Believe it or not, seniors are an active bunch, especially in West Phoenix. It seems like there isn’t a time of day most of them aren’t on the road. Aside from the danger this presents, it means they’re always looking for something to entertain their time. Of course they have their routine appearances, but for the most part they’re seeking new ways to interact and engage with others. This is a perfect opportunity to present them with an event that aligns with their values, needs, and interests.

Imagine the type of credibility you can achieve by presenting seniors with a new event catered to them. Even if you have a small budget, there are plenty of ways to engage them with basic activities. Most importantly, find time during the event to relay your cause or provided value so they know who’s behind their consideration. As long as you’re able to promote it effectively, you can expect a solid return on your investment either way.

3. Direct Mailing with Targeted Messaging.

Direct mailers are a common tactic when targeting the senior citizen community. If you’re looking to create an effective flyer, consider some of the stereotypes I mentioned above. First and foremost, you’ll want to design a presentation that’s geared towards them. Simplify your message, enhance the font size, and capture original imagery that resonates with them best. Remember, seniors don’t want to be told what’s best, they want to allocate brands they can trust and justify on their own. Simply ease them into the process by engaging them with what they value.

Moreover, try to incorporate something within your design that they can find useful. Maybe create a crossword puzzle with answers that sends a specific message and aligns with your core values. You can even present them with a mailer design that serves an additional purpose. With this strategy, seniors can use it for more than information and potentially hang it on the fridge to share with others. If they’re able to use it as a guide, then your company will automatically be associated with that value. At the end of the day, you’re executing brand recognition.

4. Online Advertising Strategies.

Again, I know you might be hesitant to invest here – but hear me out. As aforementioned, seniors are online – and even though they might not be looking for you specifically, they’re engaged somewhere. This is where paid advertising or display ad retargeting can come into play. Using online advertising based on behavioral activity is a great way to target seniors with a message that’s relevant to what they’re currently looking for.

For example: Senior A is looking for a pharmacy close-by to refill their cardiology medication. They happen to come across an advertisement by a mobile cardiologist that also executes prescription delivery. Don’t you think that’s something that would catch their eye? Using strategic initiatives to target senior citizens not only increases conversion rates, but it lowers the amount of money you have to spend on entire campaigns. Targeting with purpose, especially when advertising, enables you to ramp up or cut off your campaigns at a moments notice to execute the processes you’re promoting.

The same thing goes for children of seniors. They play a large role in influencing their parents with decisions. If you’re able to target them accordingly so they can pass along the message, then you’ve executed another channel through valued influence. It may be a little more strategic, but it beats sending out 10,000 mailers and crossing your fingers, in my opinion.

5. Partnering with Relevant Companies.

When it comes to partnering with relevant channels, there are opportunities everywhere. If you’re looking for a place to start, try the local Piggly Wiggly or farmer’s market for starters. Seniors seems to visit the grocery almost every day. For example, Bell Road and the 303 is host to 4 grocers within a mile. (Albertson’s, WinCo, Sam’s Club, and Safeway) Visit a location and watch who they interact with and what they stop to examine. Who’s loyal to which brand and why? These might be opportunities for your brand to present itself – whether at the cash register or through an affiliate ad inside. Approaching the business is the first step to generating a relationship that serves their customers with value.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box of normality as well. A common service venue I visit when targeting senior citizens are local dog groomers. The elderly view their animals as a part of the family and frequent these locations often. If you’re looking for low hanging fruit, consider car dealerships, RV parks or maintenance shops, restaurants, craft stores, and other retailers that are apart of senior’s every day lives. You could even volunteer time with a non profit at a chance to promote your product or service.

6. Print Advertising or Sponsorships.

Print ads are another intriguing way to target senior citizens in West Phoenix. Many care facilities and placement providers tend to invest in senior care publications and other weekly newsletters. Although I have my own opinion on this tactic, it really depends on the product or service you’re looking to provide. Similar to content and online ads, you’ll want to focus your message on the value you provide with simplicity in mind. Some examples include newspapers, billboards, event brochures, announcements, prescription packaging, or sponsored vehicle wraps.

Either way, it’s important that you monetize your investment before throwing out dollars. Although some publications have an extensive number of viewers, it doesn’t necessarily mean senior citizens will see your ad. Print is very difficult to measure because of this. You can only assume, which is why it can be muddy waters if you aren’t careful. Don’t allow the salesperson to sell you, take the time to research your investment and make a decision with your best interest at heart. In most cases, you can take that $3,000 and pour it into other areas where your message is accepted with ease.

7. Scratching the Backs of Senior Communities.

This tends to be the traditional way to reach seniors or the geriatric community. At the same time, I know how difficult this can be. These facilities deal with so much solicitation it’s no wonder they’re never too happy to see you. If you’re going to invest in this type of approach, please be prepared. Don’t go in there without a plan because most of them are wanting to hear what you can actually do for them and their residents – not why they should align with you.

Take the time to research each community so you can understand what to expect when you arrive. Learn about the management or the person you may first come across upon arrival. Ensuring you’re able to execute a positive first impression opens the door to possibility. From here, it’s all about how committed you are to helping them improve their facility while enhancing the experience of their patient base. Until you place yourself in their shoes, you’ll find this a frustrating option – which is why I placed it at the bottom of my list.

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Although it’s important to target senior citizens with purpose, we also want to ensure your brand message and presentation accurately relays your value. Our strategies align your voice with target customer needs in order to improve efficiency and drive down costs.