Dual Approach Is Key to Attracting Senior Living ‘Decider in Chief’


Marketing Matters is brought to you by Solutions Advisors and Retiring by Design. Working together, Solutions Advisors and Retiring by Design give you the analytic and creative synergy to develop unique solutions and achieve optimum results for your senior living community, providing management, operations, marketing, and sales consulting services. 

Baby boomers play a key role in a loved one’s long term or rehabilitative care decision, yet tailoring marketing campaigns to a generation commonly referred to as “narcissistic” may miss the mark.


“Narcissist is a bit strong,” said Harold Gross, partner at Market Research Answers during the recent 2014 Senior Care Marketing Sales Summit in Chicago. “We’re on safe ground if we say [boomers] are self-aware.”

While senior living marketers have long acknowledged the importance of avoiding stereotypes, creating messages that resonate with both the adult child and parent simultaneously are key to successful marketing campaigns.

Two demographics — one message.


Messaging has to be “dual track,” Gross says.

For example, highlighting dining amenities is one way to achieve this goal.

“You can say, ‘You’re mom and dad are really going to enjoy the food here. We have an award winning chef who uses fresh, organic ingredients,’” Gross says. “And you’re saying two things here: ‘Mom and dad are going to have a healthy, tasty, nutritious diet, and this fits your sensibility too.’”

Highlighting amenities, such as Wifi, is also important to reaching today’s typical decision maker. And recent research shows that tech-savvy residents are also seeking more than an internet connection that can only be accessed in common areas.

“It’s going to make it easier for [the adult child] to stay connected to mom and dad — and if [the adult child] is visiting [he or she] can do work, or share photos of the visit on Facebook,” Gross says. “It’s doing something that appeals to adult child, and Baby Boomer as well.”

A new ‘adult child’ on the horizon.

As Baby Boomers age, providers should expect their children — or those of the Millennial generation — to play a greater role in the decision making process, experts say.

“The next generation of decider and chief is the millennial,” said Susan Rivers, head of Global Wealth Management Corporate Communications at BNY Mellon. “So [the senior living] industry has the advantage of big data — millennials are the most tracked, recorded generation to date.”

While it’s important to develop a marketing strategy that targets boomers, it’s important to look beyond the next 15 to 20 years, Gross agrees.

“We need to be giving a lot of thought to what comes after — and that’s something that’s going to ripple throughout this economy,” he says.

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Written by Cassandra Dowell

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