Yesterday I suggested that fundraisers should pay attention to how AARP is using social media to engage its seniors market. They have the resources and marketing determination to try everything and discover what works. From them, we can learn.

Here are some more insights into marketing to Boomers and seniors, this time from Jim Gilmartin at Coming of Age, an interactive marketing agency.

Writing in Engage:Boomers, he offers these observations about senior customers and suggests the marketing implications …

  1. Increased individualism — less subject to peer influence.
  2. Increased demand for (unadorned) facts — hyperbole turns them off. But they still must be emotionally intrigued.
  3. Increased response to emotional stimuli — first impressions are key.
  4. Less self-oriented, more altruistic — a key life-stage shift.
  5. Increased time spent making purchase decisions — not as responsive to claims of ‘urgency’.
  6. See fewer differences between competing products — perceptions are more internally shaped, not marketer driven.
  7. See more differences between competing companies — reputation matters.
  8. Have more complex ways of determining value — not price per se, but affordability; not a single motivating value, but a holistic complex of practical, intellectual and spiritual values.

It’s ironic that commercial marketers are eager these days to better reach the senior market, while many fundraisers feel it is urgent for them to better reach the young.

Gilmartin finds commercial marketers struggling to figure out how to market to seniors, because the commercial guys have traditionally focused on selling to the young.

Fundraisers, on the other hand, have always focused on the older folks (wittingly or unwittingly, for some of the reasons noted above), because those have been the people who actually give. Only recently have fundraisers become enamored of reaching the young. Perhaps a misplaced priority … like selling burial plots to newlyweds.

What do you think?

Tom

 

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