With approximately six months to go, it’s a safe bet that 2020 is a year none of us will ever forget.

Our communities, the workplace and the manner in which we conduct business are undergoing a real-time transformation. Marketing shifts that were already underway have now accelerated due to a multiplicity of factors, include the COVID-19 pandemic, a turbulent economy and a deeply fragmented political landscape. In this regard, the Senior Living industry and those of us advertising its diverse services are no exception.

With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to highlight some key metrics about our aging population and how senior living providers will need to reconfigure their strategic marketing campaigns more effectively in the coming months and years.

We’re getting older (and living longer)

That may seem obvious, but there’s a kernel of truth in that statement that underscores a crucial point: we are also living longer. In the modern-day United States, our life expectancy is now 78.93 years, a 0.08% increase from 2019. 1

Approximately 47 million seniors currently reside in the U.S., a figure based on the 2017 census. 2 That number is estimated to double in less than forty years. The Population Reference Bureau anticipates that nearly 100 million Americans will turn 65 or older by 2060. 3

Aging Americans joining the already swelling ranks of new retirees will have a variety of lifestyle options to choose from, including Home Care, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, rehab centers, medical assistance and Memory Care. The coming years will also necessitate the creation of new categories of care for a hyper-diversified population, with an array of evolving benefits and tailored solutions to fit each need.

Aging Americans will need more care

On average, 10,000 Americans retire on any given day of the week. 4 The scale of men and women either retiring, or actively preparing for retirement is unprecedented, a trend currently fueled by the Baby Boomer generation. Many of these retirees will continue to live at home, but the majority of them will eventually require enhanced levels of care as they continue to age.

1 https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/life-expectancy
2 https://www.census.gov/popclock/
3 https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/
4 https://finance.yahoo.com/news/americans-retiring-increasing-pace-145837368.html

Marshaling the physical, technological and highly specialized human resources required to meet the demands posed by new and retired Americans will necessitate the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars along with a vast increase in the pool of trained caregivers. Marketing and communicating these objectives to dual B2B/B2C audiences with different needs and obligations will also be a herculean task.

Younger Americans will have to make big decisions

The very definition of Senior Living care and ‘lifestyle’ options are evolving. The paradigm shifts that are taking place across the industry are unprecedented and they will only accelerate as post-acute and long-term service providers grapple with financial challenges, infrastructure development and managed care options.

The children and extended families of retiring Americans and those needing specialized care will have to make challenging decisions with, and on behalf of their loved ones. In fact, the approximately 100 million people defined as senior citizens will encompass a remarkable 23% of the U.S. population by 2060. 5

Newly minted decision makers will demand substantive answers to their questions. They will want to know how their parents and extended family members are being cared for, and who is ultimately accountable for their wellbeing. They will be powerful advocates for change and will be politically and socially active. Both retirees and their extended families will lobby for more integrated, holistic approaches to the already shifting physical, mental and spiritual services offered to older adults.

Marketing “WIIFM”

It’s a marketing truism that our audience has one very straightforward objective: WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). Effectively distilling a brand’s core message is a timeless challenge. Ensuring that provider messaging is both relatable and accessible to the decision makers weighing senior living offerings are inherently challenging given the emotional weight and impact of the lengthy and involved research and consideration process.

Adding to an already fragmented provider landscape is the fact that marketers need to communicate their message to a dual audience: the families of retirees and the retirees themselves.

Baby Boomers tend to be educated, highly literate, and yes, technologically savvy. The Pew Research Foundation now estimates that 91% of all senior citizens own a cell phone and a majority 53% own a smartphone. 6 Senior citizens will continue to have expanded access to technology which will also give them significant influence when it comes to informed decision- making.

5 https://www.prb.org/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet/
6 https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/

Five Key Marketing Takeaways

The next generation of retirees and their families will be highly technical and thus, even better prepared to navigate the digital landscape. To succeed, marketing agencies and providers will need to get well ahead of the research and consideration phase.

Following are five key marketing takeaways to help agencies and providers improve their conversion rates:

  1.  Programmatic Display Advertising maximizes longer consideration phases for “highly- considered” goods and services which include senior living. Identifying, targeting and influencing consumers using this tool is a highly cost effective, data driven approach.
  2. Average Website Conversion Rates Range from 2.5 – 4.5%. Consumers comparing highly considered purchases may visit a website and that of a competitor service up to ten times prior to contacting a business or making a purchase. Differentiating “high- potential“ website visitors from the rest of your site traffic is critical to understanding the value of each of your digital ad tactics.
  3. Increased High Potential Visitors correlate with improved overall conversion rates.
  4. Analyzing High Potential Visitor ratios provides valuable insights for website conversion optimization efforts.
  5. Analyzing and Optimizing Geofencing and Social advertising tactics improves performance and maximizes ad budgets.

Bobby Youngs,
Founder, Canopy Advertising

P.S. You can learn more about High Potential Visitors and how we can help optimize the Research and Consideration phase at Canopyadco.com

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