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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The older consumer and social networks

Last week I was interviewed by Andy Oakes for an article he was writing for MediaPost about the use of social networks by older people.

You can read Andy's article here.

These are a couple of good sources of data about the numbers of older people using social media.
eMarketer
Pew Internet

I am often asked to distil my thinking about how digital marketers should respond to older people in a series of bullet points. Here is my latest thinking.

1. Be realistic and informed about the importance of digital channels to this age group. For instance, it might be great to use Twitter to provide post sales support but if only a small percentage of your customers can (and want) to access that digital channel then it is bound to fail.

2. Be clear if the digital campaign is age-silo or age-neutral.

3. Don’t think you can extrapolate the older age group from the likes and dislikes of your mum/dad or grandparents. Old people come in all shapes, sizes and variants. Apply the same rigor to your marketing as you would to any age group.

4. Take the time to understand the impact of physiological ageing on all of the customer touchpoints. Physical ageing is universal and relentless but poorly understood

5. Most of the published stats about social media use by different age groups are of limited value since they fail to account for the depth and sophistication of use. There is no substitute to understand how a brand’s actual customers behave rather than the generic consumer.

No doubt if you asked me to write a list in 6 months time it would be different, however, you will not go too far wrong if you incorporate these into your thinking. Dick Stroud

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