“How Leading Edge Boomers and Seniors think – that’s the real key to successfully marketing to them” says Dan Kennedy (No B.S. Marketing to Leading Edge Boomers and Seniors, 2013) and he couldn’t be more right. The biggest mistake I see trainers, and especially younger trainers, make when trying to attract older clients into their programs is not fully understanding how these potential clients think about fitness. It is a HUGE barrier but not necessarily their fault.
You see I know that the fitness industry has basically tried to brainwash trainers into thinking about fitness through the eyes of the 20-30 year old who wants to get fit.
I also know that society has continued to perpetuate ageist stereotypes and myths that have skewed our perspective of old age.
Well put the two together and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.
Internationally renowned marketing genius and author, Dan Kennedy, sheds some light on how these Leading Edge Boomers (age 62-70) and Seniors (age 70-80) think. Not just about fitness but about products, programs and services that they want and/or need. I’ve selected just a few of his insights that I want to expand upon with some of my own thoughts that will help you in your marketing and sales efforts to LEB/S:
- Slow Down! “Sleeping on it”, “thinking about it” and “praying over it” are not flimsy excuses. They are, in actuality, a part of their purchase decision-making process. Instead of fighting it, create a process that capitalizes on it. Here’s the rub. If you pressure them into making a quick decision on the first meeting they will more than likely resent it in some way. However, if you give them the information and resources they need to come to a decision in their own time they will likely end up being even more committed because they now feel in their heart that it was the right decision.
- Women and Men are STILL different! Too often we think about older adults as one homogenous group. This couldn’t further from the truth. They vary widely on many factors making it very difficult to pigeon-hole them or create a one-size-fits-all marketing and sales approach. A huge difference exists between sexes. While men and women both go through similar age-related and lifestyle changes as they grow older their perspective on these experiences and their condition is vastly different. Their motivations, responses to relationships, responses to appearance and even their worries about finances tend to differ greatly. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the LEB/S women are the ones in control of the money AND the majority of the household purchase decisions. The take-away is that your BEST marketing approach will be to appeal to women more than men.
- When I Was Your Age…! Contrary to popular belief LEB/S do NOT wish they still lived in the 40’s or 50’s when “life was simpler”. While they may have fond memories (as we all do of the past) they are perfectly happy living in today’s world. They might not be picking up on technology and social media as quickly as the teenagers but they are adopting these new aspects of life eagerly. Grandparents are learning to text and Skype just to stay in touch with their grandchildren. Older women are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook (relationships remember). It isn’t necessary to create an “old school” environment complete with pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the wall and Elvis Presley on the speakers. In fact, the chances are good that this modern wave of mature adults will think you are out of touch and ageist if you do.
- Give Me Something Different! LEB/S are not looking for the same old same old. When comparing similar products or services they are looking for differences that matter to them. Each potential mature client is subconsciously thinking “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM)? This isn’t because they are selfish but because they were the first generation to grow up with the luxury of even asking that question; they were catered to their whole lives; and now that they have a wealth of experience behind them they know much more about what they want and what they don’t want (And why waste time on what I don’t want when time is wasting?). You must clearly differentiate yourself in the market and communicate very clearly how this benefits them. Become a category of one. An effective way to do this is to write a book. We have very successfully used a strategy to get our certified Functional Aging Specialists published quickly and use their author-status as a great way to get, close and keep tons of clients.
Kennedy’s book is filled with lots of great facts, insights and strategies that you can use to attract more Leading Edge Boomers and Seniors. It is an easy read and is a resource we recommend for all trainers. It is so good we give it to all of our FAI Mastermind Coaching clients.
If you are really serious about growing your fitness business with some of the 80 million aging Boomers CLICK HERE.
Cody Sipe, PhD