Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

A Senior by Any Other Name….

Since Boomers are becoming Seniors...How do we market?

Ex-Hippie Boomers Turn Senior! WHAT???

Mention Woodstock, the Beatles, and free love to Boomers, and you might just put a smile on some faces. I know I have fond memories of the 70’s. But call me a senior citizen and you might as well incite a campus protest instead.

Marketers are finding that many Boomers protest the idea that they are now part of the senior ranks, despite what it says on our driver’s license. Ditto for the elderly moniker. That’s reserved for the weak and frail. And, despite the fact we’ve been receiving AARP’s membership notice in the mail since we were 55, many Boomers are not retired nor even want to be, so you can’t count on using the word “retired” to refer to us either.

After a 2010 headline and story in the Omaha World Herald read “Baby Boomers Cringe at ‘Senior’ Label,” the Immanuel Senior Living Communities in Omaha actually changed their name to Immanuel Communities. You may not need to go that far, but you do have to target Boomers in a different way, and brand your website and marketing materials so that Boomers searching for homecare find something that caters to them, not just those “seniors” they don’t consider themselves to be just yet. The targeted age, by the way, for adult children searching for home care for parents is 45-65. And, as we live longer, and stay healthier longer, that target will rise. A friend’s 73 year old wife died this past week, and, in the obituary it noted that she was survived by her mother. I wondered if she had searched for home care for her mother or if her mother had searched for home care for her.

For those of you in the homecare business, our clients can be the seniors themselves, referral sources, and/or adult children/caregivers. In the next decade, Boomers, however they view themselves, will increasingly make up the direct patient-client and the adult children/caregivers side.

Let’s look at the numbers: Boomers, those 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, have been turning 65 at a rate of 8,000-10,000 a day since 2011. By 2025, they will help swell the senior population to 72 million, a staggering number. And, actually, that number continues to swell, as each year we are adding 1/3 or so a year to life expectancy. And, as we get healthier as a population, we will live longer.

Age is simply not the factor used in determining the need for home care services. While most Americans won’t require these services until advanced age that brings frailty, usually around age 80 and beyond, it is frailty, not age, that is the primary factor in determining when someone needs home care services. Dementia, cancer, heart disease can and do all occur at younger ages. And chronic diseases, such as Diabetes, are taking their toll on younger and younger populations.

So what language should you use to market to your clients? First you need to know your targets, and that they are varied. If you are trying to reach the older boomer audience, how does that self-identification of Boomer, senior, or something else, affect how you reach out to them? How does not identifying with the senior ranks, in the case of Boomers who fall in this category, affect how you design and position your website and other social media outreach?

The New Old Age blog in the New York Times had a great piece on this very topic a few years ago. In “’Elderly’ No More, author Judith Graham discusses the tightrope marketers need to walk when it comes to relating to this new market. The experts she interviewed said to focus on lifestyle and aspirations and end results rather than assigning a name to this demographic.
That’s where corecubed comes in, and what we do best. Ever wonder why when you do an online search on a topic, say homecare, the same websites show up at the top? That’s the power of search engine optimization, or SEO. Our experts at corecubed can assist in designing your website to meet the needs and expectations of search engines so that your business rises to the top of search pages. We can help attract Boomers and seniors simultaneously.

So if a Boomer wants to find a great homecare agency that caters to them, we can offer SEO that’s natural. Organic SEO is not as simple as waving a magic wand and being done with it; rather, SEO is an effort that requires ongoing maintenance. So instead of protesting that your business isn’t right for them, they’re more likely to hear what you have to say. Peace out, man.