Demographic personas for your audiology marketing

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There are three demographics that our audiology marketing should be aimed at. Those three demographics — seniors, boomers and gen X’ers — have very different characters, values and beliefs. We need to understand this in order to adapt our marketing message and channel to reach all three.

There are general characteristics that we can base our understanding on, of course there will be individual differences. Seniors are people who were born between 1925 and 1945. Because of formative experiences during their early years they tend to be frugal. Having learned to do without at times, they have learned to save. They often have dedicated their life to the serving of others, family, friends and spending on themselves is not undertaken lightly.

Loyalty, honesty, integrity

Seniors tend to rate loyalty, honesty and integrity highly as human traits and display these qualities. They tend to display a shared sense of community and camaraderie, valuing connections with friends and family highly. Seniors still have faith in traditional institutions and authority, they also tend to be very patriotic.

This faith in institutions means that they have high regard and trust in medical professionals, priests and other pillars of the community. Referrals made through these pillars of the community will be highly regarded with almost automatic trust. Whilst seniors are not as comfortable with technology, it is interesting to note that they are some of the highest adopters of tablets such as the iPad.

Touching seniors

Seniors tend to be conservative, they like things simple and straightforward. When communicating with seniors you need to consider the character traits, the persona. All of your marketing needs to be designed in the light of the person you are trying to reach. The trick with all marketing, not just audiology marketing is to encapsulate an emotion.

You need to communicate a feeling, an ideal that your target market identifies with. In the case of seniors your language needs to be conservative, courteous. Your overall brand feel needs to display the traits that they rate highly. Lifestyle scenes that they will identify with will involve community gatherings and extended family scenes.

When you have converted a senior prospect to a patient, it is important to remember that they value the connection and the relationship with you and your staff highly. They respond to warmth, empathy and the personal touch. If they value you in this manner they will be a strong brand advocate.

The channels

Seniors are almost the last saviours of the newsprint; they are the highest proportion of newspaper readers. However, don’t forget they tend to read traditional conservative and local newspapers. They still watch TV, in particular daytime TV. In the western world they are on the web and they do use social media. In particular they use Facebook; however unlike other demographics they don’t use it to follow brands. They use it to communicate and stay in touch with their family and friends.

Both traditional media and new media can and should be used to touch seniors. When you are designing imagery for traditional or web channels you need to consider the terms discussed. Your wording or tag line also needs to be framed in conservative but straightforward tones. Any affiliations that you have to wider community groups that appeal to seniors should also be displayed, possibly with small logos of the group at the bottom of the advert. In this way you can design adverts that will touch your audience and drive your enquiries.

Boomers as an audience for your audiology marketing

The boomers are coming, the boomers are coming! We have heard this one before but they have arrived. In my experience we have been seeing boomers for the last five years. Boomers as a group are forward thinking and tend towards optimistic. They don’t have nearly as much faith in traditional institutions as their predecessors. Boomers formative years tend to have taken place during times of social upheaval and rebellion. They tend not to be as conservative as their predecessors and respond well to humour in marketing, even if it might be at their expense. They are wary of experts and authority of most kinds. They are very responsive to testimonials and referrals from people they trust, people within their network. Whilst testimonials from people they know will sway them, they are not as persuasive as enforcement from their social circle. Boomers are independent and hold individuality in high regard, they consider themselves active and want to remain that way.

Boomers put a high value on their independence, lifestyle and well-being. They look at retirement as a time to reward themselves, to experience life on their own terms. They want to remain connected, happy and active and will invest in purchases that help them achieve these goals.

Connecting with boomers

They are in general well-educated and tend to be quite technologically savvy. They tend to be data driven individuals and have the education and versatility to understand that data. They tend to research purchases and want a consultative approach from the people who sell to them. They are not averse to spending on themselves, in particular if the purchase is a lifestyle one.

They will not tolerate paternalism in the purchase relationship and will actively rebel against it bringing their business elsewhere. They put a high value on trust and face-to-face relationships, they are also far more open to new technology than their predecessors.

They are wary of and au-fait with modern marketing techniques. They are not as easily swayed by marketing techniques but are very responsive to content or inbound marketing.

The channels

Boomers are actively using the web, for communication, research and commerce. They have adopted social media with a vengeance perhaps even more so than the younger generations. Boomers are some of the most active people on direct email campaigns and sign-ups. If they value your information they are happy to part with their data. Boomers also value phone contact and most of all face-to-face contact; these are the things that have dominated their business lives.

TV can still reach boomers, but this is mixed at best; boomers tend to watch their TV on demand using services such as Netflix. Boomers still read newspapers but circulation of all news print is in terminal decline. They can have their news served to them via the web in any form they want. They are completely comfortable with both email and SMS as communication tools.

Whilst traditional media is still important for connecting with boomers, it is declining in importance. The use of digital media is very important to connect with boomers and will only continue to increase in importance. Boomers will respond well to group and activity imagery, they can easily relate to these images. Wording used in marketing needs to relate to their desire to remain active. It also needs to relate to what a purchase will deliver to them in relation to lifestyle.

Reaching Generation X

Gen X’ers are the sons and daughters of your target market, they are important to both your sales process and your marketing activity. They are important to your on-line audiology marketing activity, because they will be undertaking research for their parents. It is imperative that you are aware of this and its psychological implications at all times.

The purchase decision process

The first step in any purchase or decision process is the motivation, an event that spurs the decision pathway. In the case of healthcare this event can be illness, general symptoms, a diagnosis, etc. These events are the catalyst, the motivation that will prompt potential patients to start the research process. It is important though for our marketing purposes that we realise that not only potential patients are part of the decision pathway. Nor are they the only researchers that we will have to impress.

Loved ones in the process

Loved ones or significant others cannot just be the motivation but also the motivated. We see this every day in our practices. They may in fact be a large part of the decision pathway, particularly in the beginning of the process. They may also be the primary researcher for the decision pathway. So your marketing needs to be directed at multiple personas, it needs to address the needs and motivations of differing stakeholders in the decision process.

Who are Gen X’ers

Born from the mid-sixties through to the mid to late eighties, Gen X is a diverse bunch, more so than previous generations in areas such as race, class, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation. They are more likely to be the children of divorced parents than previous generations. Statistically, they have highest education levels among all of the preceding generations. They place a great importance on education and knowledge.

Gen X’ers make less money individually in real dollars than their parents did, but have higher household income because of more women in the workforce. They are a cynical lot and are wary of brands; they also don’t have a great deal of time for tradition. They are technology savvy and have embraced all forms of mobile technology. They are among some of the highest daily users of the internet for fun, research, commerce and communication.

How will you reach them

This is a little difficult for people who want to sell to them; their online consumption is fragmented using many devices to consume information. Interestingly for us though, they are among some of the biggest users of review and opinion sites. They are also some of the biggest researchers while shopping online. This knowledge can help anyone who wishes to reach this generation.

They best way to attract and woo them is to have them come to you through content marketing. They are constantly researching; therefore your presence on the SERPs will draw them to you. An in-depth content strategy with this in mind is important to your business goals.

What do you need to do

They like informative, fast, interactive sites full of quality information. Any offers need to be well laid and clear or otherwise they may well be sceptical. As they are dealing with the ongoing healthcare of a loved one, they will want a site to be professional and preferably be endorsed. On the contrary, they may well be turned off by sites that are too commercial and lack any social proof.

They are independent and self-reliant, brand or brand prestige alone will not appeal to them. Provide masses of information to them so they understand your products and services. Whilst they want to see professional, they also want to see empathy and the human touch. Because of their love of all mobile devices you will need to ensure your site is responsive and can be viewed on any screen. This is an imperative for this generation.

Geoffrey Cooling,
author of justaudiologystuff.com and audiologyengine.com