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They Don’t Know You. (Yet.)

I was messing around on the Advertising Age web site, looking for interesting tidbits, newfangled communications strategies, etc., when I decided to do a simple search for senior-related topics. Lo and behold, I stumbled on an article that was both interesting and a good reminder. The article was titled, “Older Consumers Don’t Believe You: How to Overcome Seniors’ Skepticism.” And it’s not just older consumers. Everyone approaches advertising with a healthy dose of skepticism. We have to remember, our prospects haven’t met us, and they don’t know what decent, well-meaning people we are (yet).  As you advertise, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Don’t feel the need to butter them up before asking them to do something.  Seniors may find it suspicious.  The most common example of this is congratulating them on how well they’ve planned before presenting them with an opportunity for more planning.  Planners find planning attractive without the compliment.     
  2. A postcard isn’t a person, it’s a marketing piece, so avoid phony familiarity and use the postcard to point out the benefits of your community and give them an attractive way to learn more. If you want to talk like you’re best buds, do it in a letter from the sales counselor.
  3. Make sure the photography and copy work well together.  You’re trying to avoid a “those people don’t live there” reaction.  If you use a silly or over-the-top photo, give it the proper context. 
  4. Use believable language that doesn’t create an expectation you can’t deliver upon. These people have been to a resort before. Know your community, love it and sell it. But be honest, because eventually, they’ll probably take a tour.   
  5. Understand that they have a sense of humor. They aren’t all easily offended. You limit your advertising opportunities if you extrapolate one person’s complaints across an entire generation. Sometimes to cut through the clutter, you need to do something that cuts through the clutter.

That last point might be the toughest one to act on. But, just to show you it can be done, here’s a recent example of how we’ve used humor.


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