3 Strategies for Senior Living Providers Marketing to Millennials – From a Millennial

When you think of a millennial, what’s the first thought that comes to mind?

If you’re thinking millennials are digital natives, meme collectors, nonconformists, and are anti-advertising, you’d be closer to the core of this hard-to-pin-down age cohort than others. Oh, Chipotle guacamole. We LOVE Chipotle guacamole.

To provide a meta commentary, it’s even tough for me to deconstruct millennials, and I am one. So, let’s look at two important reasons why marketing to millennials is a smart move for your senior living community, in case your senior living marketing team is scratching its head.

1.) Pew Research cites data from the U.S. Census Bureau stating that by 2019, Millennials will officially overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, with 73 million millennials to the 72 million baby boomers. This shift will impact everything from U.S. politics to your senior living community’s census.

2.) Nielsen’s study on millennials states their spending power is $65 billion each year, and their global influence tops $1 trillion in total consumer spending.

Take into account: Millennials aren’t just influencing the global economy, they’re also influencing their parent and grandparent’s decision on which senior living community will be their best fit. Care.com cites that 73% of seniors involve their children in the decision to live at a community.

At this point, your community sees the value in generational marketing, but might not know where to start. Remember Chipotle? Brands have certainly tried – and failed – to successfully garner millennial buy-in. So, how should your senior living marketing team approach marketing to millennials, without coming across like Steve Buscemi? (pictured below)

Depending on the demographic data available to your specific community, the adult-child influencer you’ll likely target with a generational marketing strategy will be Gen X’ers or Millennials. We’ll address marketing to Generation X in a future installment.

For today, we’re giving your senior living marketing team a millennial playbook, written by millennials. You’ll learn:

  • 3 Foolproof strategies when marketing to millennials

Is Marketing to Millennials That Tough? Or Are we Overthinking Our Generational Marketing Strategy

Call it a bit of both. While your senior living marketing team might see millennials as an encryption-proof algorithm, they’re simpler than you might think.

Like other successful marketing strategies, your community must be present with the right message, on the right channel, at the right time to resonate with millennials. One caveat that makes marketing to millennials different than marketing to cohorts of another generation are the prescribed values that millennials hold to the brands they support. Millennials prefer:

  • Individualized/customized offers
  • Authentic creative messages, and brands that reflect authenticity in the influencers they choose

Keeping those preferences in mind, here are three strategies your senior living marketing team can incorporate to make an ally out of your millennial adult-child influencer.

Strategy #1: Make Mobile and A Speedy Mobile Experience A Priority

We live in an age where waiting for a website to load longer than three seconds feels like an eternity. And perhaps no generation exemplifies this mentality more than millennials (at least until your community needs to target Generation Z).

Pew research cites that at least 89% of millennials own a smartphone. Meaning, if your senior living community doesn’t provide a fast, efficient mobile experience for millennial ACI’s, you’ll lose them to your competition. If your community hasn’t already, implement these recommendations for an improved mobile experience:

  • Use AMP pages
  • Clearly marked, prominent (above the fold) CTA’s like phone numbers, forms, etc.
  • Responsive design that looks polished on multiple devices
  • Prominent accreditations and reviews
  • Optimized and current photo galleries

Strategy #2: Focus on Reputation Management/ Review Citation

Remember when we mentioned that millennials are averse to (most forms of) traditional advertising? Millennials crave authenticity, which has given way to the rise of influencer marketing, that captures the slice of life of actual people endorsing products/services and incorporating that product/service into their life.

Senior living doesn’t fit tidy into the trend of influencer marketing for added authenticity, but reviews certainly do. Ask a millennial what they do first before trying a new restaurant, pub, brewery, venue, finding a doctor, researching living options, etc. and they’ll likely tell you that they consulted the reviews for that business. After all, who better to shoot it straight with a consumer than a fellow consumer who’s already had an experience with a brand?

Millennials trust people over brands, and a collection of reviews for your community will often be the first impression a millennial has, and your first chance to start building trust with them/

Not only does the overall star rating carry weight as a trust signal, but the context within individual reviews themselves. While your community can only do so much to mitigate negative word-of-mouth about your community, there are several ways your community can encourage the public to have a favorable opinion and experience:

  • Monitor reviews on a consistent basis wherever they appear (Yelp, A Place For Mom, directories, etc.)
  • Have a response strategy in place – don’t shoot from the hip
  • Share positive reviews/experiences on social
  • Ask for a review when your team knows it’s surpassed a resident/ACI’s expectations
  • Use email marketing automation to encourage reviews
  • Offer incentives for people who leave a review

Again, your senior living community’s reputation isn’t entirely in your control, but your team can certainly make an impact by encouraging positive reviews when the situation presents itself. With 93% of millennial consumers reading reviews online, your senior living community simply can’t win the trust of the millennial ACI without first prioritizing its reputation.

Strategy #3: Be Innovative With Your Social Media Strategy

What do we mean by innovative? With millennials, it means having a presence on social media platforms that millennials are on, and SHOWING, not telling with your social media marketing strategy. And by showing, we mean going beyond posting pictures of your community’s lavish grounds.

Pew Research – 2018 – Your Millennial ACI is on multiple social media channels, and expects a specific type of content on each platform.

Try these approaches when enticing your millennial ACI on social:

  • Capture slice-of-life of at your community – from the daily activities with seniors to the events and outings – post selfies and tell stories with the pictures you’re posting
  • Go Live (on Facebook, Instagram/IGTV)
  • Create a Youtube channel
  • Provide updates on philanthropic events and efforts
  • Run paid campaigns on the channels your senior living marketing team is targeting

Millennials like to associate themselves with brands that do good. Look for opportunities to post and update followers about the events, galas, and donations your community is contributing to the world outside its grounds. After all, it can be assumed that if your senior living organization makes it a point to help out others outside the walls of its community, it will pay equal attention and consideration to residents living within its protective walls.

Today’s Millennial Adult-Child Influencer Could Help You Earn Tomorrow’s Resident

We’ve provided a lot of considerations for your senior living marketing team as it uses its data to tackle generational marketing. But if your team takes our recommendations to heart, it will be more likely to earn the loyalty of the millennial influencer.

Millennials, like any other generation, have their own set of eccentricities and unique attributes. But marketing to millennials doesn’t have to be a cringe-fest of epic proportions. Contact our team, and we’ll help your community build a custom strategy to engage this ACI, or any other ACI with specific generational marketing needs and interests.

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