In the first half of 2016, Brandpoint’s writing team has created copy aimed at convincing millennials to buy products in a staggering range of categories, from financial to health care, home improvement to pet care. Given that the millennial generation is the largest ever and now constitutes the largest percentage of the American workforce (according to Pew Research), it’s no surprise that content marketers are targeting this demographic.
But the shift toward millennial-centric marketing is somewhat new, and Generation Y still hasn’t usurped the “hottest” age group Brandpoint is routinely asked to market to — seniors. Plenty of smart content marketers still invest a great deal of effort, not to mention marketing dollars, in reaching the 50-plus age group.
Sizing up the senior content marketing market
Consider these facts that support seniors’ continued importance to content marketers:
- By 2030, more than 20 percent of all Americans will be older than 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Older people are living much longer. Someone who was 65 in 2010 could expect to live another 19 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. That’s four more years than they would have been able to expect in 1972.
- They’re working longer. In 2010, nearly 36 percent of men between 65 and 69, and about 26 percent of women in the same age group were still working, according to the Census Bureau.
- Seniors are healthier than ever, thanks to better health care, greater access to health information and healthier habits, like engaging in regular exercise.
In a nutshell, seniors living and working longer, healthier lives will also have more years as active consumers. Is your content marketing plan maximizing the opportunity this demographic represents for your brand?
4 simple steps for crafting content marketing for seniors
Senior-centric content is one of the most-requested categories on BrandpointContent.com by print editors and publishers across the country. In terms of performance, senior-specific articles routinely garner a high number of editor downloads and print placements. Only home and garden articles come close in terms of success.
When we’re developing content marketing material for a senior market, Brandpoint writers fall back on four simple steps for crafting relevant, engaging content:
1. Get to know your target audience.
Tired, confused, gullible, decrepit, ill, stingy and tech-averse — if you think those awful stereotypes apply to today’s seniors, think again. While multiple generations make up the senior demographic, baby boomers are a growing proportion of today’s senior population. Unlike many people from older generations, boomers are savvy about marketing, not afraid to use technology, engage with the world through social media, and may be frugal but aren’t afraid to spend their money on things that have value for them. Nielsen says boomers account for nearly 50 percent of total spending on everyday consumables, yet less than 5 percent of advertising targets them.
When it comes to understanding modern seniors, think of it this way: today’s grandmother is not your father’s grandmother!
2. Right-channel your content marketing
As with marketing to any age group, it’s important to understand where your seniors are looking for information. Yes, seniors do still read newspapers, more than any other generation. But they also consume other forms of media, from radio and TV to social media. In fact, Pew reports social media use by people 65 and older has more than tripled in the past six years; now 35 percent of seniors use social media. Business Insider says people 65 and older represent 10 percent of Facebook users, 9 percent of LinkedIn users, 7 percent of Pinterest, Google+ and Vine users, and 6 percent of Tumblr users.
3. Talk about topics they care about
One of the worst mistakes marketers can make is to assume everyone in a designated “generation” cares about the same things. Informational needs change throughout our lives; a couple in their late 50s looking to downsize might be interested in hearing about your great mortgage product, while consumers in their 70s might welcome financial advice on how to make their retirement savings last longer. They’re both considered part of the senior demographic, but they come from different generations and care about very different things.
4. Give them multiple ways to respond to your call-to-action
Every piece of content marketing has a call to action. Some are subtler than others, but all are intended to impel the consumer to take a specific action. Millennials might be just fine interacting with your brand solely through digital channels, but many seniors want more options. Your content marketing needs to make it easy for them to move from channel to channel when interacting with your brand, so include your customer service phone number beside your web address, and your snail mail address (Really!) along with your email address.
A final word about content marketing for seniors
I’m an older Gen Xer. I work with a lot of millennials and baby boomers — both on the Brandpoint staff and among my clients. Whether you’re marketing your product or service to boomers, my generation, millennials or the post-millennial generation that hasn’t been “officially” named yet, there’s one more important consideration to keep in mind.
As my old, gray-haired mother would have said: “We’ll all be old one day.”