Analysis of the Senior Market: Bridging the gap between understanding and conversion

Analysis of the Senior Market: Bridging the gap between understanding and conversion

Who are these people?

In 2015, the senior market numbered roughly 80 million individuals, making it a little over a third of the market share. There are three distinct generations that make up the 65+ senior market:

  • Pre-Depression Generation 
  • Depression Generation
  • Baby Boomers

For the purposes of this blog, we'll focus on the Depression Generation and Baby Boomers since many of the Pre-Depression Generation rely on members of their family to handle legal, financial, and insurance matters. Let’s take an in-depth look at each, then we’ll discuss how you can use this information to better market to and convert your 65+ audience.

This blog is meant to provide a generalization about each generation; in no way is this complete or universally true for each and every individual in the senior market. Case in point: I am a Millennial, but not all aspects of Millennialism apply or appeal to me. Furthermore, this blog is purely informational; its intent is not to disrespect, demote, or make tomfoolery of any one person or group of people.

Depression Generation

Also know as the:

  • Silent Generation
  • Traditionalists
  • Swing Generation
  • Golden Generation

Who are they?

Those of this generation were born between the years of 1930 and 1945. In 2017, these individuals would be between 72 and 87. They grew up during WWII and would be siblings, cousins, and children of the Pre-Depression Generation. In 2015, Pew Research numbered them at roughly 28 million strong.

Like the generation before them, they witnessed the majority of the technological and artistic changes of the mid to late 20th century and 21st century. Many are instilled with the ideals learned through The Great Depression. They will have known a great number of people who fought and possibly died in WWII.

What are their characteristics?

Imbued with the qualities of their predecessors, this generation is extremely stringent. They value rationing, saving, morals, and ethics—much of which comes from The Great Depression and WWII. Many are slow to trust and embrace change, which means you must earn their trust to ensure retention. They are aging, but hate to be depicted as helpless, old, dependent, etc.—they still think of themselves as young.

Respect is an incredibly important thing to this generation, so make sure that when you do address them, you are using Sir, Ma’am, Mr., Mrs./Ms./Miss so that you don’t unintentionally offend them. Although they weren’t born with technology, they are becoming increasingly more tech-savvy as they age.

Pew Research; Tech usage by 65+

Pew Research

Forrester’s State of Consumers and Technology: Benchmark 2016, US found that the Traditionalists used the following devices personally:

  • 74%—Desktop Computer
  • 50%—Laptop
  • 36%—Smartphone
  • 32%—Tablet
  • 15%—Internet-connected TV

What are the best ways to connect with them?

Those of this generation are not interested in the convoluted; therefore, when discussing insurance coverage with them, ensure to stress how your services offer the following:

  • Simplicity
  • Convenience
  • Accessibility
  • Ease of use
  • Support

They’re more interested in formal communication and face-to-face interaction. They hold themselves to a high standard and expect the same of you as their potential insurance agent. Make sure to present everything in non-confrontational, non-controversial layman’s terms that are easily digestible. You can use direct mailers for them as well—these over-sized postcards would work perfectly!

Baby Boomers

Also know as the:

  • Boomers
  • Me Generation
  • Baboo
  • Love Generation
  • Woodstock Generation
  • Sandwich Generation

Who are they?

The Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, which would put them between 53 and 71 in 2017. Obviously the whole generation isn’t part of the 65+ market, but they are quickly approaching. The Boomers were born when the military men made it home alive from WWII because many put off planning their families until after the war. They were born into a world that was a little smaller and more connected.

As of 2015, Boomers are officially no longer the largest generation coming in at 74.9 million as compared to the 75.4 million Millennials, the largest. It is projected that by the middle of the century, the Boomers’ numbers will dwindle to a mere 16.6 million.

What are their characteristics?

Boomers are often referred to as the “me” generation. They grew up with the mindset of “Be Here Now.” They highly value individualization, self-expression, optimism, and overall happiness (think: the 70’s). They are stubborn, and many define themselves by their careers which has turned a lot into workaholics. This can be because many grew up with very little or with stringent parents that had lived through The Great Depression.

Like the generations ahead of them, they too are worried about their health and the future. Many didn’t plan for retirement well and are in fact still working. Pew Research found in May of 2016 that 18.8% of Americans, or 9 million people, 65+ (the majority of which are Boomers) continue to be employed full- or part-time. But for many, retirement is on the horizon, and by 2030 all Boomers will have reached retirement age.

It’s also important to note that the Boomers are also referred to as the “Sandwich Generation.” What this means is that they’re not only caring for their children but also their parents since longevity has skyrocketed in the last decades. This is one of the main reasons Boomers continue to work well past retirement age.

What are the best ways to connect with them?

Research has found that Boomers prefer their information to be presented in terms of categories and options. They want the flexibility to choose what’s best for them. They’re also less concerned about the price in comparison to the value they are receiving, so focus on that while pitching to them. And although they’re aging, they’re not fond of being reminded of it, so do your best to avoid words and phrases like:

  • Senior citizen
  • Retiree
  • Aging
  • Golden Years
  • Silver Years
  • Mature
  • Prime time of life

V12 Data found that Boomers prefer face-to-face communication at some point during the insurance process. Effective word-of-mouth and referrals are key to selling this generation since they’re slow to trust. They’re social beings, so holding open houses, seminars, support groups, etc. will push them to come in and the word-of-mouth generated from the event will help them warm to you even more.

In addition, Boomers are the most tech-savvy of the 65+ market and over 70% use the internet as a communication vehicle. Forrester’s State of Consumers and Technology: Benchmark 2016, US found that Older Boomers (those of the 65+ market) used the following devices personally:

  • 67%—Desktop Computer
  • 60%—Laptop
  • 54%—Smartphone
  • 40%—Tablet
  • 21%—Internet-connected TV

Here is the breakdown for the Younger Boomers, those who are quickly advancing towards the market:

  • 68%—Smartphone
  • 68%—Laptop
  • 63%—Desktop Computer
  • 46%—Tablet
  • 25%—Internet-connected TV

In addition to the Internet, Boomers are also avid network tv watchers and radio listeners. In fact, News Generation reported that Boomers spend roughly 15 hours a week listening to the radio and it reaches 94% of Boomers every single week.

Lastly, there’s email. 89% of Older Boomers and 91% of Younger Boomers use email on a regular basis. Here are some email templates you can use in AgencyBloc’s Automated Workflow component that you can send throughout the year:

Pre-65 Adults

This will consist of the Younger Boomer generation. Although the youngest are 53, turning 65 isn’t far off and won’t be far from their mind. Medicare Cafe found that most of those turning 65 market will start shopping for Medicare coverage by at least 64, if not earlier. Most of this shopping is done online or through word-of-mouth and reviews—90% of consumers report that their buying decisions are influenced by their peers. So it’s important to note that 57% of the prospect’s buying process is complete before you even meet them. This means you should not only have a digital presence, but a strong one. Learn more about how to create a strong web presence in our blog: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Insurance Agency's Website.


Moving forward

As you can see from above, the 65+ market is quite varied, but there are some striking similarities between the two generations. One of which is value. Although many are conservative with their money, they will spend more when they see the value and worth for what they’re buying. This is extremely important to keep in mind when you’re working with and selling to the senior market. If they don’t see the value in you or your pitch, then they likely won’t buy-in. First and foremost, you must present how you’re bringing value to them, else they’ll likely forget you quickly.

Another important factor to note is their dependents. This bodes especially for the Boomers and some of the younger Traditionalists. They are often taking care of their children and grandchildren as well as their parents and spouses. This means they have many expenses and you need to consider that when formulating plans for them.

Connecting & Converting

The majority of the 65+ market prefer older methods as opposed to new-age technological ones. For the most part, they are a fairly engaged audience when it comes to insurance.

Gallup News, Insurance Customer Engagement by Generation

Gallup News

They are curious about what you can offer them and want to be a part of the whole process. What this means is communication. Remember, 81% of clients leave an agency due to lack of communication, so ensure your communication is consistent and complete. This will make a big difference to the older generations and increase the likelihood that they’ll recommend you to their friends—which will get your foot in the door for the senior market since they trust word-of-mouth above all else.

As for connecting with them, on the whole, these are your best options:

To learn more, check out these blogs:

Generational Information Source: AABRI

Learn More About the Senior Market

Check out our free guest webinar with Jason Ferguson of New Horizons Insurance Marketing to learn how to succeed as a senior market insurance agent.

Watch Now

  1. TAGS
  2. client retention
  3. selling
Allison Babberl

By Allison Babberl on September 28, 2017 in Lead Generation

Allison is the Marketing Content Specialist at AgencyBloc. She creates educational content and designs videos to promote AgencyBloc's resources to help you organize, automate, and grow your insurance agency. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Kuzmeski More articles

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