The Challenge of Marketing Tech for Seniors

Older Americans today don’t quite fit the stereotype we’re used to seeing in the media. As America is aging, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds,  seniors are also moving towards more digitally connected lives. For instance, 2019 Technology Survey of Older Adults Age 55-100 found that 80% of respondents use smartphones. Additionally, a reported 87% of seniors use social media daily. These reports prove that the meme of the technologically inept grandparent is quickly becoming an outdated one.

The Emergence of Elder Tech

In a recent interview, Reddit co-Founder, Alexis Ohanian discussed the growing sector of “elder tech.” As he puts it, there are two primary categories of elder tech. First, are those companies that take existing products and tailor them to the senior user. While the second category creates something brand new for its users. Regardless of company type, tech leaders, specifically those in elder tech, must find the best way to market to senior populations if they wish to make a lasting impact.
Even with an increase in tech use, adoption among Americans aged 75+ is still slow moving. Further, some 34% of older internet users say they have little to no confidence in their ability to use electronic devices to perform online tasks. This matters because as Aging in Place Technology Watch notes “a lack of access to smartphones, the Internet, or in-home broadband/WiFi cuts the oldest out of access to modern telehealth, communication, and engagement. The issue of non-adoption, particularly as more health services move online, will become increasingly vexing for service providers of all types.” It is now more important than ever to understand the older adult consumer. Retailers, service providers, and product manufacturers’ businesses will depend on knowing and understanding how this consumer thinks, acts, lives their lives, and wants to interact with today’s technologies.

Below are some tips to follow when marketing tech for seniors!

Know Your Audience

As people age, they simplify their lives, allowing more time for personal interaction and less time for things that “busy” them. When it comes to targeting seniors, get to the point, and don’t beat around the bush. Flowery language and unnecessary jargon won’t cut it with this population.  Make a point or two that speaks to the needs of their generation:

  • Enhancing independence
  • Providing security
  • Getting healthier and more fit
  • Enhancing family relationships
  • Enjoying life

Give Them Something Familiar

As seniors become more tech-savvy and traditional platforms (such as phone, radio, and television) become more fragmented, marketers must identify how media channels can, and should, complement each other. People like what is familiar. Seniors grew up receiving advertisements and catalogs in the mail, so it makes sense to market to them through these channels. Additionally,  older users enjoy personal interaction and have high expectations when it comes to customer service. Personalize your users’ experience by addressing customer service inquiries with a phone call or sending a personalized thank you to clients. 

Use Relatable Language

Advances in technology and the ever-evolving terminology can be overwhelming for many users. Those who are 85 today have lived through the most drastic evolution and development of technology of any age group. They’ve adopted and adapted to technology their entire lives, from the telephone and modern appliances to personal computers, the internet, email, social media, and cell phones. Ensure your digital messages are clear and concise. When marketing tech for seniors a Forbes columnist notes, “unlike marketing to younger audiences, older adults aren’t drawn in by trendy jargon, slang or internet acronyms. They want information that is clear, honest, and concise and makes them feel valued as people.” Seniors seek and connect with content that is relatable, easy-to-digest, and educational.   

As Arthur Bretschneider notes in his Forbes article, “the United States’ senior population is projected to more than double, from 46 million seniors over the age of 65 to 98 million, by 2060. Whoever can come up with a service that excites this new group of seniors may be on track for decades of success.”  Read more about the growing senior market and Bretschneider’s tips on how to capture their attention here.

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Posted in News, RESTORE, Seniors, Tech.

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