Today's post from return guest blogger Alyssa Murfey, Marketing Account Manager & Social Media Strategist  at emfluence, is a great reminder about the importance of starting any communication efforts thinking about your audience and not just what they will think about your message, but even how they will receive and interact with your message: 

When it comes to the adaptation of technology, many seem quick to dismiss older generations. They say, “They are set in their ways. They’ll never change.” But what if older generations got a taste, even a small one, of how technology eases life…and they liked it?

Retired persons have a lot more time on their hands to explore and adapt to new technology, even if it takes a little longer than younger generations. Mobile phones are no exception. According to a Pew Research Center May 2012 survey, 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and 42% of them own a smartphone. The smartphone is in many hands, and it’s not just the young ones:

  • 15% of people aged 55 and older are using a smart phone (Nielsen)
  • The fastest growing demographic for texters is 45-64 (Com.score)

While Baby Boomers move toward retirement, we will see this trend continue as this demographic has more time to explore technology that makes life easier or more enjoyable. Also, since they will be the last adapters to the next wave of technology, marketers should focus on capturing the attention of Baby Boomers in SMS campaigns now with the expectation of future campaign success. Take Baby Boomers into account when crafting your mobile campaigns. Here are some tips that apply to making any mobile campaign accessible, but are extremely important for the older demographic:

  • Step by step instructions with graphics to help them through the process
  • If you are comfortable with it, a provide a support number to call to talk to a real person
  • Large icons, type and pictures for creative on mobile apps
  • Make keywords simple in text campaigns, avoiding spaces and hard to spell words (i.e. Instead of asking people to text your brand's full campaign slogan, make it simple:  Text “Burger” to 72727)
  • Secure variations on your text phrase to account for errors (i.e., If your keyword is “Summer Fun”, also secure keywords for “Sumer Fun” and “SummerFun”)
  • Segment your Baby Boomer contacts and target specific promotions to them (Early Bird Specials, Buy One Get One)

Baby boomers who have sampled bits of technology here and there while in the work force will now be retiring. They will have more time on their hands to explore gadgets and will be more apt to participate in mobile campaigns and interact with mobile applications. Marketers should be thinking about what apps they can build to make the Baby Boomer life easier and what mobile campaigns will catch this demographics’ eye.  -Alyssa Murfey 


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