Digital marketing has completely revolutionized how marketers reach and target consumers – especially Gen Z and Millennial audiences. However, digital marketers often overlook a sizeable, growing segment of online citizens. Today, 63 percent of English seniors over 70 spend 11 to 30 hours online per week – which is more time than those aged 30 to 49 spend online. Despite their growing adoption of technology, many marketers still adhere to misleading cultural assumptions about how older demographics use digital channels.
Year over year, seniors consistently experience increased device and social media usage. According to a 2016 study, 39 percent of seniors between 65 and 74 used smartphones, as opposed to 28 percent in 2015. An even higher number of seniors are adopting social media, too: According to the same study, 48 percent of seniors used social media in 2016 – twice the amount that used social media in 2015. Every year, more seniors are picking up mobile phones, tablets, social media, and other technology.
Marketers must try to reach this growing demographic – especially since less than 5 percent of all marketing messages are currently directed at older demographics. Seniors should be reached in an intentional manner, weaving together online and offline sources in a unified omnichannel strategy.
Which Channels Do Seniors Prefer?
While traditional channels are still very popular among marketers, it’s clear that social media and video streaming are becoming more influential. A recent study found that 87 percent of seniors access social media daily – and 93 percent of those seniors are logging into Facebook every day. In addition to this, in a sample of baby boomers and seniors, 54 percent have streamed videos online – and 3 in 4 have taken action as a direct result of a video.
Although seniors are becoming more active online, they still spend plenty of their time interacting with traditional forms of media. On a daily basis, 34 percent of seniors read at least one magazine, and 89 percent watch television. These channels should not be viewed as entirely separate entities from online channels. Rather, these traditional, offline channels can be used to continue the customer’s journey online. A recent study found that when prompted by direct mail, twice as many elderly people chose to visit a website over calling a phone number for more information.
Today’s older seniors may be set in their ways of preferring physical content over digital content, but as baby boomers age, seniors will become increasingly familiar with technology, and even embrace online channels entirely. As a result of this, marketers should focus on a strategy that marries online and offline channels through strategies like unified marketing measurement.
Use Omnichannel Marketing to Integrate Online and Offline Channels
Since seniors are increasingly interacting with online channels, but remain inclined toward offline channels, they’re great candidates for omnichannel campaigns. With these campaigns, marketers should aim to create a seamless journey that spans from online to offline media channels. As a result, seniors will receive messaging that begins in the real world, and is carried across all of their devices.
This is valuable because many seniors will inherently struggle to trust online-only marketing. As a demographic, seniors have many concerns over the safety of the internet, a generalized aversion to change, and a predisposition towards offline, conversational experiences. To overcome this, marketers should launch direct response campaigns via offline mediums first, like catalogs, local newspapers, and flyers. Then, create a call to action that drives these consumers to your company’s website or social media with methods like tracked links or tracked discount codes. Once they’ve interacted with your brand online, be sure to continuously engage with them by promoting resources or products via social media or video streaming services.
Keep in mind that a successful omnichannel marketing campaign requires advanced marketing attribution. Brands should be able to collect and analyze data from each channel in real time, and then quickly turn that information into actionable insights. This will ensure that your brand is reaching this demographic in the right way on the correct channel, and help determine which messages and touchpoints have the greatest effect.
Keep Content Simple and Personalized
Ultimately, marketers must always aim to simplify the digital experience, and ensure that messaging is consistent across all online and offline channels. Any landing pages that are used in campaigns should be simplistic, easy to digest, and include clear, actionable language. One of the most effective ways to achieve straightforward, actionable messaging is by personalizing content.
Older audiences have always prioritized customer service, personal contact, and traditional communication. Personalization is an excellent way to replicate these benefits in an online setting, while ensuring that all messages are expertly targeted. With 67 percent of people over 65 being unaware of personalized marketing, these well-targeted messages will have a better chance of resonating and improving their customer experience.
Omnichannel Marketing Requires Omnichannel Attribution
Seniors spent most of their lives in a world where the most effective ways of transmitting information were mediums like the telephone and television. Now, many are beginning to realize how powerful digital mediums are for both informational and entertainment purposes. This has resulted in more seniors being connected to the internet than ever before, along with increased adoption of mobile devices and social media.
Due to today’s changing environment, digital marketers should recognize how an omnichannel marketing strategy can help them reach older demographics. With an omnichannel marketing strategy directed at seniors, brands can seize a greater market share of this growing segment of digital citizens.