Selling to Older Consumers Through an Integrated Customer Experience

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Selling to Older Consumers

THROUGH AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

By Jonathan Boehman Chief Engagement Officer, Immersion Active

Selling to Older Consumers

THROUGH AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Opportunity in Disguise There exists a great opportunity in the marketplace to create online customer experiences that win and build loyalty with older consumers. But despite the media harping on the sheer amount of money held by the older demographic, most organizations are not intentional about the way they approach older consumers online (if they do at all), and unfortunately, many who try, struggle. Perhaps they have staff members who are eager but are not educated enough to truly understand the audience. Or maybe there is an emphasis on obtaining and wooing a younger audience, with false assumptions that aging customers will remain loyal no matter what, or that they will stop spending money once they’re “retired.” There could be a lack of understanding for the way different online channels are absorbed by different age groups. Beyond that, you might also be concerned about the disconnect between the online and offline marketing materials and channels in your organization. Or maybe you’re ahead of the game, and you’ve already invested in aligning those efforts. And in either situation, you may be dealing with unhealthy or unaligned silos between the marketing and sales departments. Talk about headaches.

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Selling to Older Consumers

THROUGH AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

If your company is treating older adults the same way they treat the rest of their customer base, you’re almost certainly: missing the mark with your messaging spending money you shouldn’t be leaving a lot of money on the table A tightly integrated customer experience can be a major advantage for successfully selling products and services to older adults. Accomplishing this feat won’t happen overnight, but it is a highly worthwhile endeavor. It entails:

  1. Understanding why older consumers need to be treated differently
  2. Understanding why integrated online customer experiences are particularly important for older consumers
  3. Understanding the benefits of journey-based approaches as opposed to touchpoint-based approaches
  4. Integrating marketing and sales teams
  5. Asking the right questions as you start the process I know, it feels really overwhelming. But you’re not alone. That may feel like small solace at the moment, but hey—you’re reading this white paper! So you’ve taken the first step. Let’s see if we can help you get to the next step.

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Selling to Older Consumers

THROUGH AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Starting off on the Right Foot Let’s start with a bit of level setting that will get us started on creating the right type of customer experience. It’s easy for those of us in marketing and sales to slip into referring to the people we sell to as leads, prospects, clients, customers…or even something as impersonal as conversions. And while I’ll use some of that language in this white paper, I want you to understand what our team tries to remind each other of each day at Immersion Active.

OLDER ADULTS ARE NOT ALIENS Have you ever seen an American talk to a person from another country? It can be pretty funny. They start speaking more slowly and talking louder and louder. They might even pepper in a word or two of the other person’s native tongue. It can be pretty obnoxious.

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Selling to Older Consumers

THROUGH AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

“When customers are in your heart, you are more than likely in theirs.” —George Jacob of PeopleMetrics

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Selling to Older Consumers

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My business partner David often says, “Older adults are not aliens,” and it’s a great phrase. Humans are humans, whether they are young or old. When people get around older adults, they can start to act a little weird. They might talk louder, more slowly, or they might even avoid conversation entirely. The worst is when they treat them like babies. I think it’s an inherent fear of the unknown, and in these cases, a misunderstanding of what it feels like to get older. The irony is so many people get happier as they get older. I think it’s one of those things that you can’t understand until you go through it. So cut yourself some slack, but be diligent about getting to know your customers. After all, how can a company be effective in selling to a group of people it doesn’t really understand? We can never remind yourself (and our teams) of this enough. It’s human for those of us in the business to forget that we’re dealing with other humans. Investing time in getting to know our customers is time well spent…you know, just like in any good relationship.

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Selling to Older Consumers

THROUGH AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Why Older Consumers Need Special Consideration First off, you may be asking yourself, “Do I really need to take a different approach for older adults?” The answer is an unequivocal yes. And how your business should respond depends on the type of product or service you sell and whether your sales are complex or transactional. Besides the cold, hard truth that over half of older adults feel that advertising is not aimed at them, the fact is that their brains work differently than their younger counterparts’. Changes occur in the brain over time, and recent neuroscience studies have confirmed what

Over half of older adults feel that advertising is not aimed at them. — Nielsen’s The Age Gap report1

previous research studies have thought true. And with regard to consumer decision-making, there are several important things to keep in mind (pun intended). Older adults place higher emphasis on the emotional meaning derived from experiences2 Because of cognitive decline, older adults process information more slowly than younger adults. Even though they usually find ways to compensate, fast talking or frenetic imagery (with lots of cuts and movement) are not processed well3

1

The Age Gap Report, February 2014, The Nielsen Company

2, 3

Aging & Consumer Decision Making, Stephanie M. Carpenter & Carolyn Yoon, October 2011, New York Academy of Sciences

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Selling to Older Consumers

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Older adults often make complex decisions (such as those for health, financial, or nutritional issues) inconsistently, so more guidance is needed. Well-designed customer journeys will make older adults feel empowered to make good decisions and will also help create trust4 Making a purchase, particularly for complex sales (financial, aging in place, health, etc.) can be very emotional. Older adults are more emotion-focused and feature-oriented than younger adults, who are more information-focused and option-oriented. A greater focus on the experiential benefits of the features delivered through a unified experience in the customer journey can help older adults feel empowered and make sound decisions5

Examples: Option-oriented vs. Feature-oriented Industry:

In-home senior care

Option-Oriented Information-Focused Younger Adults

Feature-Oriented Emotion-focused Older Adults

•T  emporary or long-term care

• I feel like a daughter again (caregiver)

•A  ssistance any time of day or night

• Remain independent in your home (senior)

Reading on Neuroscience for older adults • The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind by A. K. Pradeep • Dot Boom: Marketing to Baby Boomers Through Meaningful Online Engagement by David Weigelt and Jonathan Boehman • Ageless Marketing: Strategies for Reaching the Hearts and Minds of the New Customer Majority by David B. Wolfe • The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain by Gene D. Cohen

•U  p to 8% return Annuity products

Organic lawn care

4, 5

•D  eferred or immediate options

• Take control back with a personal pension

•3  3% more income than other retirement strategies

• Rest easy with guaranteed income for life

•G  row a healthy, green lawn quickly •P  est & mosquito treatment available

• Do the right thing for the earth and your lawn • Protect your pets and family

Aging & Consumer Decision Making, Stephanie M. Carpenter & Carolyn Yoon, October 2011, New York Academy of Sciences

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Selling to Older Consumers

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The Importance of a Well-Integrated Customer Experience to Older Adults A UNIFIED EXPERIENCE HELPS TO CREATE TRUST WITH OLDER CONSUMERS. Let me state the obvious: older consumers have been alive for longer than younger consumers. But what that means to you as a businessperson is that older consumers have had a lifetime of consumer experiences—both good and bad—to draw upon. Because of older adults’ experiences, the bar is often set higher in terms of what they expect. If they have had a good experience buying something in the past, and you are not giving it to them now, then you are not meeting their expectations. When messages don’t align, an older adult sees red flags that signal miscommunication among departments, and that translate to a potentially poor and frustrating experience for them. A unified experience, on the other hand, tells an older adult that a company has its act together. To them, that plays out when one department promises something, and another

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.6

6

McKinsey, The ‘moment of truth’ in customer service, McKinsey Quarterly, February 2006, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/the_moment_of_truth_in_customer_service

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Selling to Older Consumers

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delivers on it. They will start to believe you mean what you say—because you are showing them you do by backing it up at every step. And if you do a good job communicating to them along the way, they will feel respected (which is important to any relationship). You can easily see how a unified experience can help create trust. Establishing and keeping trust should be one of your main priorities, because…

ONCE YOU LOSE THEIR TRUST, THEY WILL NEVER BE BACK. We have seen time and time again in our own usability testing and qualitative studies that something as simple as a poor web usability can cause an older adult to abandon an online experience. They’ll never return. We consistently hear phrases like “I would question how they do business,” “I just won’t use it anymore,” “I quit,” and a bazillion flavors of “I would leave and never come back.” The Nielsen Norman Group, in a major study of online older adults in 2012, showed that seniors 65+ have become better at successfully using the web (having greater success at tasks with faster completion times and less errors).7 They also showed that web experiences are still significantly harder for older adults than for younger ones. But they also noted that older adults were almost twice as likely to give up on a task as younger users, and they do so about 30 seconds before younger users. About 90% of the time they blame themselves for the problems (but we know the truth: this responsibility lies with the company, not the consumer).8

7

Senior Citizens (Ages 65 and older) on the Web, May 2013, Nielsen Norman Group

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Selling to Older Consumers

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Th reason doesn’t matter—when older adults leave, they usually leave for good.

Older adults were about twice as likely to give up on a task as younger users. And what we are missing out on is this: 35% more business from older users,

What are a baby boomer’s reaction to a poor website? “If I turn to a website and I can not get to where I want to go, because it is poorly designed, what is the use of the website? They might have all saved their time.”

purely based on designing an experience that gives seniors a higher success rate.9

“I’d just ‘X’ out of it and never go back there.” “I probably would not buy from them.” “I am going to go to someone else’s site.” “I would not be impressed and I would question how they do business and would leave the site pretty quickly.”

View the video https://youtu.be/5VsN2oDSiLs 8, 9

Senior Citizens (Ages 65 and older) on the Web, May 2013, Nielsen Norman Group

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THE INTERNET’S MOST FREQUENT REVIEWERS A well-designed customer journey gives a consumer meaningful opportunities to share and give their opinion. Older consumers are highly engaged online. They are on social media, especially Facebook and Pinterest. They post often, and they follow their favorite brands. Considering over 31% of overall visits to sites can be attributed to social media, discounting social channels is not a mistake companies can afford to make.10 Discounting social channels is not a mistake companies can afford to make. With Boomers big into sharing online, integrated experiences are key to capitalizing on the Boomers’ propensity to share online:

71%

of boomers AND

59%

of seniors

use social networking sites on a daily basis.11

Boomers are asked their opinions 90x/year 90% of the time they give it 45% of the time they give their opinion online.13

Boomer Women on Facebook • 89% have a Facebook account • Nearly ¼ post at least 1x/day • 75% follow brands on Facebook12

10

Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report, January 2015, Shareaholic, https://blog.shareaholic.com/social-media-traffic-trends-01-2015/

11

Reaching Today’s Boomers & Seniors Online, May 2013, Google/Ipsos

12

Redefining Empty-Nesters, July 2014, Influence Central & Vibrant Nation

13

Boomers Big On Word of Mouth, March 2007, eMarketer

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Selling to Older Consumers

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But even more interesting is that Boomers contribute the most product reviews online.14 And as an online activity, “rating things” is consistently seen as a more important activity for boomers and seniors than it is for Gen X and Gen Y.15 Reviews are a hallmark of trust online, and to encourage them from older users requires a keen focus on the customer experience. That means being strategic about when (and how) you ask for the review, but it is mostly about creating an experience that is worthy enough to be written about.

Of the Top 23 online activities for each generation, rating things was considered more important to older generations than for younger ones.

RATING THINGS RANK OF IMPORTANCE BY GENERATION:  ilent Generation

#11 :: S  eading Edge Boomers

#13 :: L  railing Edge Boomers

#16 :: T  illennials

#17 :: M  en X

#18 :: G Source: Pew Internet - Generations Online Report 2010

14

Conversation Index, 2012, Bazaarvoice

15

Generations Online Report, 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project

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Selling to Older Consumers

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The Journey Is the Destination

Journeys are increasingly the way customers interact with companies16

56%

It would be easy to only focus on operational handoffs and response times—but that’s only part

38%

of the opportunity. When marketing and sales work together, they have the power to design

of all customer

exceptional customer experience, which entails

interactions happen

focusing on journeys as opposed to the traditional

during a multievent,

series of isolated touchpoints in the sales funnel.

multichannel journey

An April 2013 study from McKinsey noted that “journeys are increasingly the way customers interact with companies.” In a September 2013 webinar, also from McKinsey, it was noted that customers of companies

56%

who took a journey-based approach:

of all customer journeys

Report greater customer satisfaction

involve more than one

Have a higher likelihood to stay/renew

channel of interactions

Are more willing to recommend the product or service

Journeys vs. Touchpoints17

Are less likely to cancel or churn17

Customer Satisfaction

Besides better brand experience and more engaged employees, journey-focused companies often saw operational improvements such as

0.4 0.2

a 10-20% increase in cross-selling.18

0.0 -0.2 -0.4

17

Likelihood to stay/renew

0.58

0.6

15-20% reduction in calls/visits, and

16, 18

38%

0.43

0.50

Willingness to Recommend 0.60

0.59

Likelihood to cancel/churn

0.47

+33% +36%

+19%

+28% -0.25

Touchpoints

Journeys

Customer Journey Analytics and Big Data, April 2013, McKinsey

Transforming Customer Experience: From Moments to Journeys, September 2013, McKinsey

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-0.33

Selling Selling to to Older Older Consumers Consumers

THROUGH THROUGH AN AN INTEGRATED INTEGRATED CUSTOMER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE

Customer Experience (CX) Terminology Customer Experience The sum of the everyday interactions a customer has with a company through a variety of activities (researching information, requesting services, purchasing products, asking questions, engaging with social channels, getting technical support, making returns, and so on). CX encompasses all customer interactions and cuts across company departments and functions.

Customer Experience Lifecycle Maps What stage is a customer in? A lifecycle map gives a 50,000-foot view of a customer’s relationship with a company. It’s usually broken down into stages, such as Need, Awareness, Consideration, Selection/Purchase, Experience, Loyalty, Advocacy, Engagement, Raving Fans, and Exit. It’s not necessarily linear, and can circle back on itself. Lifecycle maps are a good tool for helping the marketing and sales teams quickly understand where a prospect is in its relationship with the company, and can inform external marketing and sales communications.

Customer Journey Maps (CJMs) What task is the customer trying to accomplish? Most helpful when mapped by persona, a customer journey is more discrete, and describes the set of interactions a customer has with a brand to complete a task. Customer journey maps reflect the emotions and experiences of the customer along the way, both positive and negative. Journeys can help identify the key “moments of truth” in the customer experience and are great for revealing areas ripe for improvement. They are typically multi-touch and multi-channel.

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The Role of Nurture in a Journey-Centric Approach In complex sales (as opposed to transactional), up to 95% of qualified prospects on a website may not be ready to talk with a sales rep, but as many as 70% of them will eventually buy from you (or your competitors).

Complex vs. Transactional Sales Think of complex and transactional sales as a spectrum, much like political persuasion. The contrast is not black and white, but can help you understand the difference. Transactional sales

Complex sales

(Brian Carroll, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale.)

Shorter sales cycles

Longer sales cycles

So what do you do while the consumers

Non-negotiable price

Might require negotiation

Fixed pricing

Variable pricing

Often are completed via e-commerce or at a cash register

May require a contract or signature

Off the shelf or catalog order

Custom design or build

One and done

Ongoing relationship

are waiting to make their decision? You nurture the prospects, my friend. Like you are courting them.

THE BENEFITS OF LEAD NURTURE Lead nurture, whether by email, phone, or other channel, plays a huge role in sales, and is crucial to increasing conversion.

better than not doing it. Research from Velocify (then

WHAT IS LEAD NURTURING?

Leads360) showed a 918% ROI with a nurture plan

Lead nurturing is the process

Additionally, using nurture gives an ROI over 3x

in place, versus 270% without lead nurture.19

of building relationships with qualified prospects, regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of earning their business when they are sales-ready.

19

Web-Based Membership Marketing Solutions, July 2012, Leads360 (Velocify)/HealthPlanOne

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DOING LEAD NURTURE THE RIGHT WAY

Franchise Opportunity? Service-based franchise systems have great potential for integrating marketing and sales to achieve better close rates. In many franchise systems, local franchises often have autonomy for how they operate and respond to service inquiries. And despite having the resources of a corporate headquarters, their specific location may not be equipped to respond quickly enough to close the sale.

I’ve actually heard this line: “What do I need to do to put you in this car today?” If you’re reading this white paper, it’s highly unlikely you would consider that a sound tactic. On the flip side, a good lead nurture program is about meaningful engagement and communication… you know, just like every other relationship. Both customer experience lifecycle maps and customer journey maps can help you understand

But even in these situations, a well-designed customer journey incorporating marketing automation along with phone calls can produce significant results.

the type of communication to use in nurture communication for different buyer stages. Companies who don’t focus on customer journeys will be left behind.

Traditional vs. Lead Nuture19 Total Leads

1000

1000 1000

Leads Contacted

Leads Qualified

850 800

ROI Percentage 918%

918%

700

600 400

Leads Closed

300

350

ROI with nurture plan in place, v/s 270% without lead nurture

270%

200

15

0

Without Nurturing

19

51

With Nurturing

Web-Based Membership Marketing Solutions, July 2012, Leads360 (Velocify)/HealthPlanOne

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The Case for Integrated Marketing & Sales THE ETERNAL BATTLE: MARKETING VS. SALES Aren’t you tired of it? In many organizations, the marketing team views “sales” as a dirty word, which evokes the age-old visage of a snake-oil salesman who cares for nothing other than making money. They think sales lacks vision, only caring about the next sale instead of the big picture. Oftentimes on the sales side, there can be a sense of disrespect due to a lack of understanding and/or appreciation of what marketing accomplishes for an organization. Marketing is viewed as “squishy,” unquantifiable, and too forward-looking. This disconnect (and sometimes total lack of respect) between marketing and sales is nothing new—but the expectations for those working relationships are rapidly changing.

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In this economy, customer experience will reign, from the very first exposure to a brand, through a consumer’s first interaction, to the sale, and finally in loyalty and advocacy. Nowhere is the need for a tightly integrated customer experience more necessary than with products and services that target older adults. Enabling the marketing and sales team to work together is the first necessary step toward creating meaningful journeys that take a prospect from initial awareness through to becoming a loyal customer. But when marketing and sales are siloed and not communicating, everyone suffers. There are usually imbalances from a budgetary standpoint. Each group becomes focused on its individual touchpoints, processes are optimized myopically (if at all), and what results is: A disjointed customer journey that creates frequently unhappy consumers A negative effect on the bottom line Unhappy employees who feel they cannot make a difference I’m not even mentioning (yet) the operational challenges of effectively nurturing and handing off leads to a sales team. The irony is they need each other to be most effective, if only the whining and moaning between the departments would stop. Am I painting a bleak picture? I believe I am painting one rife with opportunity.

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According to a study done by Velocify (then Leads360), 57% of lead conversion is determined by lead quality, and 43% by sales process.20

43% Sales Process $

57% Lead Quality Content Strategy

PPC

Brand Messaging in Advertising

Lead Nurture Landing Pages

Prequalification Calls

Marketing Automation

Phone

Timely Hand off

CRM

Marketing Automation

Email

Close

Marketing impacts and drives lead quality through brand positioning, advertising, content strategy, online experience, lead nurture, etc.—but only when sales and marketing are aligned can it be determined if marketing is attracting the right consumers in the first place.

20

December 2008 study, Leads360 (Velocify), http://velocify.com/blog/press-release/leads360-modernizes-insurance-sales-and-marketing/

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Selling to Older Consumers

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Only when sales and marketing are aligned can it be determined if marketing is attracting the right consumers in the first place.

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MARKETING AND SALES TO BE INTEGRATED? First, it means that marketing and sales share common goals. Otherwise…they’re

A company who

not really working together, are they?

has successfully

Second, both marketing and sales should be

integrated

reflecting consistent brand and positioning messages through the entire customer experience. That means educating the two teams, and a commitment to ongoing consistent and clear communication. Third, it means a unified database that is used by both marketing and sales. For that to be meaningful, that data should be available if real-time to both teams, and should encompass the prospect’s entire customer journey—not just the last touchpoint before a handoff is made to sales. Integration must occur between a suite of tools, such as: Campaign & lead management (e.g. Lead Capsule, Velocify, Boberdoo) Web content management Email and marketing automation (e.g., ExactTarget, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua) Telephonics (e.g. InContact, Five9, Nextiva)

marketing and sales will have a war chest of tools available to both the marketing and sales team that are not available when the teams are siloed.

Sales automation (e.g., SalesForce.com, Infusionsoft, Base, NetSuite, ACT!, GoldMine)

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MARKETING

Annual Revenue Growth

AND SALES ARE ALIGNED IN A HEALTHY MARRIAGE?

20

According to Aberdeen Group, companies with poor

15

marketing and sales alignment saw a 7% decrease in annual revenue. But companies with good alignment saw an average of 32% annual revenue growth.21

HOW DOES MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT MAKE SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE? For starters, marketing and sales both become less myopic.

32%

10

5

-5

-7%

-10

Poor Aligment Good Alignment

They see the bigger picture: that their two functions are intimately interwined; and the sum of their joint efforts is greater than the sum of the individual efforts. This alignment enables the marketing team to meaningfully measure their efforts by: Tracking through to the sale (and making proper attribution) Analyzing qualitative feedback given by the sales team around the human interactions from both successful and unsuccessful sales calls

21

Introduction to Integrated Marketing: Sales and Marketing Alignment, 2014, ActOn Software

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Armed with this information, the marketing team is able to: Further understand personas (or discover new ones) Understand which media tactics convert the best Optimize media spend

195.84

$

Refine marketing messaging for different channels
     Reflect up-to-the-minute data
     Deliver loyalty and retention communications

to the appropriate customers When the sales team gets good information on a prospect (such as what they responded to, what information they were willing to provide, what content they read or downloaded, what questions they submitted, etc.) they are able to:

Adopting a marketingsales agreement saves enterprise companies an average of $195.84 in total cost per customer. 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, Hubspot

Represent the brand well Help create a consistent brand experience Make the customer experience easier Offer personalized solutions for the customer Make the customer feel like they are heard and understood It’s at this point that the work for both teams becomes truly exciting.

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THE OPERATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES OF ALIGNING MARKETING & SALES Without alignment, response times to inquiries can suffer, customers may receive conflicting information, or two many calls or emails may be received by the customer. It’s in these instances where marketing and sales departments often point fingers at each other. In a study of B2C consumers who submitted an online inquiry for the purchase of a high-ticket product or service, over 45% of the inquiries went totally unanswered. That’s a lot of potential earnings left on the table. About 60% question a company’s attentiveness if they don’t hear back within 24 hours. About 20% question a company’s attentiveness if they didn’t hear back within an hour. Over 60% of those consumers say first response is an advantage.22 (Zogby Analytics, Oct 2013, ONLINE BUYER EXPECTATIONS: A Study of Personal and Business Buying Experiences and Where Sellers Fall Short sponsored by Velocify) In 2014, the average buyer wait time for a phone call in response to a sales inquiry was 2 days—and this was for companies with Sales CRMs.23

22

Online Buyer Expectations: A Study of Personal and Business Buying Experiences and Where Sellers Fall Short, October 2013, Zogby Analytics/Velocify

23

The Impact of CRM on Sales Lead Response, August 2014, Velocify

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Yes, those numbers may be abysmal, but don’t let them give you false confidence. Consider this: Only 6% of consumers inquire with only one company when submitting an online inquiry for a high dollar product or service. Most consumers contact at least three companies.24 Let that sink in for a second. That means that 94% of the time—by not responding promptly—you are betting that your competitor will take longer. Care to take those odds? And remember, even though the bar is low, consumer expectation is high. But the timing of contacting the lead can have a real impact on your bottom line. A joint study between MIT and the Kellogg School of Management showed that: The odds of contacting a lead increase 100x if attempted within 5 minutes vs. 30 minutes The odds of qualifying a lead increase 21x if attempted within 5 minutes vs. 30 minutes The blame for poor response usually does not fall squarely on the shoulders of either marketing or sales. Only 24% of companies have a formal handoff between their marketing and sales teams.25 Take all of the above things into consideration and you can quickly see where operational efficiencies offer a great opportunity to leapfrog, or even pull away from, the competition.

24

Online Buyer Expectations: A Study of Personal and Business Buying Experiences and Where Sellers Fall Short, October 2013, Zogby Analytics/Velocify

25

2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report, 2013, Hubspot

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10 QUESTIONS To start optimizing your online customer experience for older adults Getting on the right path usually involves asking the right questions before starting. These questions will help you determine where you can have quick impact, and where you may need to fill in some gaps, as you work toward optimizing your online customer experience for older adults.

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1

Have you created customer experience lifecycle maps and customer journey maps?

Documenting the complete customer experience lifecycle is the first step to effectively mapping different customer journeys. (Hint: it’s a lot easier to do when marketing and sales teams are in the same room). A customer experience lifecycle map can be a great high-level tool for creating messaging that’s appropriate to the needs and wants of consumers in a particular stage. Prepare for doing customer journey maps by first analyzing where dropoff occurs, and where less satisfaction exists. Focus on optimizing the most important areas first. For each customer journey, map what the touchpoints are, from initial campaign experience (PPC and display ads, landing pages) to direct messaging (email and SMS) communications to phone or chat communication. Are there gaps in communication? Are there delays experienced by the consumer? If you already know where dropoffs occur, do a deep dive on the customer journeys that include those touchpoints. In areas where you know you already meet industry benchmarks, look for opportunities to

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surprise and delight that can help you differentiate your company to older customers. Evaluate messaging for consistency in both policy and tone. Look for instances where communicating to an older consumer might be more sensitive.

Are some parts of your customer journey more sensitive for older users than others (e.g., are you offering methods of contact preferred by older adults)? Make sure to map customer journeys for all of your stakeholders—not just the older ones—even if your product or service is targeted only at older adults. The adult children often play a key role in important decisions for older consumers.

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2

Are your online campaigns optimized to appeal to and target older adults?

Too often, we hear of companies struggling to understand why one campaign worked for targeting older adults, and why another did not. Sometimes they feel their successful campaigns were like shots in the dark. Using a framework to plan campaigns such as our Meaningful Online Engagement Model (MOEM) can help you create campaigns that are optimized to appeal to older adults, get them to take action, and encourage sharing.

GIVE FAIR CONSIDERATION TO ALL CHANNELS

MOEM in Action: Trappist Caskets Results shown are for campaigns testing different products and hypotheses.

A good framework like the MOEM is good for uncovering targeting opportunities, but it’s important to overcome existing biases (such as “older adults

Campaign

Conversion Rate

Social Conversion Rate

2011 Caskets

14.3%

20.0%

them differently or with more or less frequency.

2012 Urns

14.4%

17%

Mobile tactics like SMS messaging and even location-based

2012 Caskets

12.4%

18.4%

2013 Caskets

12.3%

13.3%

don’t text.”) Older adults use many of the same channels younger consumers do, but they often use

services should not be discredited for older adults. A 2014 consumer survey conducted by Thrive Analytics showed 37% of older boomers and seniors (54+) were

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Selling to Older Consumers

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open to accepting text messages for incentives, and 30% of them were willing to share location data to receive offers, deals, loyalty points, or rewards. But the phone continues to be the major safety valve for older consumers, and even moreso when sales are complex. On a service inquiry page for one of

Calling on the phone continues to be the major safety valve for older consumers.

our clients (who has a senior-oriented service) that offered both phone and form options, we saw about 65% of the conversions come from the phone. The Nielsen Norman Group drew the same observation that when seniors could not find the information they were looking for, they used online methods (contextual help, FAQs, or online chat) about half as frequently as younger adults, saying they would call instead.26 And for goodness’ sake—let them talk to a real person when they call.

75%

of consumers say a phone call is the quickest way to get a response

52%

of people who connect with a business after doing a mobile search, do so via the phone Source, Paid Search for the Mobile Era, January 2015, Invoca 26

Senior Citizens (Ages 65 and older) on the Web, May 2013, Nielsen Norman Group

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3

Does your marketing team know how to message to older adults effectively?

More than half of older adults say that advertising does not reflect older consumers.27 Older adults appreciate it when brands “get” them, because most advertising messaging does not. As they go through the customer experience, if they do not feel respected, the odds of them walking away are much higher. Because of the way the brain changes as humans age, older adults are more feature-oriented (as opposed to

More than half of

younger adults, who are tend to be more option-oriented).

older adults say

As a result, older adults focus more on the experiential

that advertising

and emotionally meaningful benefits offered by features. Think about adding more emotion, not more information. Applying models such as Wolfe’s Core Values and

does not reflect older consumers.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are a great way to help generate messaging and value propositions that get “landing rights” with older consumers. But the details are a part of establishing trust, too, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Information needs to be delivered when it’s appropriate. You can accomplish this online by presenting the

27

The Age Gap Report, February 2014, The Nielsen Company

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major messages that older consumers want to hear first, and letting them click (or tap) for more details. Additionally, they respond better to positive messaging (except where they feel threatened or under time pressure), rather than to fear-based tactics. In some cases, older adults will literally interpret the opposite of a message. “Don’t worry about it!” becomes “Worry about it!” Training your team on the subtleties can help marketing messages succeed out of the gates most often.

OPTIMIZING MESSAGING FOR AN OLDER ADULT’S BRAIN An older adult’s brain works differently than a younger adult’s brain, because of changes that naturally occur as people age. Older adults quite literally process information differently. They compensate for these natural cognitive declines by using more (and different) areas of the brain to make decisions than a younger adult does.

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WHOLE-BRAINED THINKING Older adults become more “whole-brained” thinkers, and are more emotion-focused and feature-oriented than younger adults (who are more information-focused and option-oriented). As a result, older adults respond better to: Information presented in an emotional manner Positive messaging, as opposed to fear-based tactics Slower-paced delivery of information (think video and phone calls) Perhaps just as important, information presented in this way is also easier for them to retain and apply later.28 To start, focus on optimizing messaging and tone in channels such as:

Read more about Core Needs and how an older adult’s brain works in our book, Dot Boom

VIEW ON AMAZON In hard cover and Kindle editions

http://immers.me/1LA444j

Search and display advertising Informational content (web or print) Nurture communications Transactional and autoresponder direct messaging (email & SMS) Sales interactions Contact center interactions (phone, text chat, video chat) Loyalty and retention communications When writing for your older consumers, remember above all else: treat them like human beings.

28

Aging & Consumer Decision Making, Stephanie M. Carpenter & Carolyn Yoon, October 2011, New York Academy of Sciences

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4

Are you empowering older adults to make good decisions?

When clutter is present, older adults make poorer decisions and respond more slowly. Both the number of choices and the amount of visual noise in an interactive experience can bring on negative stereotypes of old age. It’s is often the reason an older adult will abandon one experience in favor of a simplified one.29

LESS IS MORE Additionally, when faced with decisions, older adults generally seek out less information than younger adults, use simpler strategies to process, and take longer amounts of time.30 Using this approach allows older adults to continue making good decisions despite natural cognitive declines.

SLOW THINGS DOWN Because of the way our brains change over time, older adults process things more slowly. The reason they dislike flashy, quick-cut video is not because they are

29, 30

Aging & Consumer Decision Making, Stephanie M. Carpenter & Carolyn Yoon, October 2011, New York Academy of Sciences

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Selling to Older Consumers

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getting cantankerous in their old age, but rather because their brain can’t take it in the way it used to. The same goes for fast talking and lots of industry jargon, which will just confuse them, cause them to shut down, and walk away. Instead, slow the pace down, and give them the time they need to absorb the information. So, experiences that cater to how an older adult’s brain works are more likely to: (a) instill confidence that they will make a good decision, and (b) lead to action. To make older consumers feel empowered: Simplify the presentation of critical information, with the option to dig more deeply Make choices highly understandable Be clear about the implications of choices Assure both information and interactive tools are highly usable Use copy that is optimized for an aging brain to retain: make emotional connections and keep the tone positive The challenge is to understand how to present and target accurate information so that it is actually used in decisions by older consumers.

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5

Are you nurturing your leads?

Using email and marketing automation platforms to nurture a lead are an important way to keep consumers engaged in the buying process and to win consumers who are not ready to buy right away. Understanding the frequency and channel preferences of your older consumer base is key to designing effective nurture campaigns. Implementing discrete nurture campaigns is a quick and cost-effective way to start optimizing the customer experience. Start by picking one of your pain points and build from there.

Top players in email and marketing automation Enterprise: • Marketo • Eloqua • Exact Target, Salesforce Marketing Cloud • Salesforce Pardot • SilverPop Mid to Small Business: • HubSpot • iContact • Benchmark Email • Get Response • Mail Chimp

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6

Are your systems integrated?

Impactful brand experiences thrive on customer data and behavior. Marketing and sales teams look to analytics and sales data to help optimize customer journeys. However, they’re often unable to take advantage of the trends happening right in front of them. What’s stopping them from seeing the holistic picture is the lack of integrated systems. These days, there are multiple platforms you’re likely using—marketing automation, lead management system (LMS), customer relationship management, (CRM), social monitoring, email—the list goes on. It can be difficult to decide: Which systems do we connect? What data gets shared across systems? Do we consolidate systems? How do we prioritize the data? Answering these questions is an important part of knocking down the historical walls between marketing and sales. Closed-loop reporting, optimization of go-to-market spends, a consistent feedback loop, and sales conversations become easier and easier. Your teams now have access to the right information, are empowered to do their jobs better, and ultimately you improve the customer journey and your return on investment. Data ultimately allows you to know where the customer is within their journey, what they are interested, and when they want to receive it. Having the same data (and the right data) available to all teams in real-time allows you to structure your marketing plans to nurture leads effectively, retain customers longer, and pursue new audiences efficiently.

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7

Are you creating a culture of optimization?

Making optimization part of the culture can benefit the bottom line as well as be a competitive differentiator. Give permission to team members at all levels to make suggestions for improvement. Few things are ever perfect! It should be okay to test things that don’t seem broken.

RESPONSE TIMES Are you optimizing processes to be the first to respond? Over 60% of B2C buyers (of products/services over $1000) believe the first company to call has advantage over the competition.31

COMMUNICATION FREQUENCY Make sure that nurture communications are not overwhelming. Practices vary according to the complexity of the product/service. But over 80% of consumers want to be contacted by email when phone attempts prove unsuccessful. 32 Are you following best practices for subsequent phone contact attempts? Consumers expect you to follow up on missed connections, and even desire it (usually in combination with email).

KICK SOME OF THE TRADITIONAL METRICS TO THE CURB Notice we did not say anything about reducing call length, or increasing call volume. Don’t hurry older adults off the phone. Sure, there are realities for doing business, but for older adults, place your focus on quality to get to the true payoff: trust and loyalty.

31, 32

Online Buyer Expectations: A Study of Personal and Business Buying Experiences and Where Sellers Fall Short, October 2013, Zogby Analytics/Velocify

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8

Are marketing and sales teams operationally aligned?

Too often, marketing and sales have little to no communication, and there can even be a rivalry. As obvious as this seems, most organizations do not do it (and suffer as a result). It may be the biggest opportunity you have to start realizing greater revenue.

GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER Have a goal of integrating the two functions as tightly as possible, but start by educating both teams on the functions of the other. Share the impact each has on revenue.

ENCOURAGE REGULAR COMMUNICATION Then insist on regular communication and meetings between the two teams, with the goal of optimizing the process together. You can help affect a cultural shift by asking your teams to use “we” collectively to refer to both teams if they are not already doing so. Integration that enables closed-loop reporting from campaign to sale can certainly help the marketing team optimize in meaningful ways, but the sales team should

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Selling to Older Consumers

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constantly be informing marketing of what works from both a tactical and messaging standpoint. Be sure to include contact centers within this feedback loop—whether that be during the sales process or in a support role afterward. This invaluable insight from the sales team is key for the marketing team to truly understand what makes their consumers tick.

ARE CONTACT CENTER OPERATIONS SYNCED WITH CAMPAIGNS?

Effect a cultural shift by encouraging teams to use “we” collectively.

If phone is a major method of contact, are PPC and display efforts coordinated with contact center hours? Are shifts scheduled at peak times to keep response times optimal? Using day-parting in campaigns can help address these issues. During off hours, consider other methods of response (call-back, auto-responder emails, etc.) to help set proper expectations. Analyze different contact types (inbound calls, chat, outbound calls, etc.) to understand which times of the day work best for each communication method. Paying attention to these details will help save you money operationally, but they will also save your customers headaches and frustration.

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Selling to Older Consumers

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9

Are sales and contact center teams trained to communicate with older adults?

How tragic it would be to bring a consumer this far in the process only to have the experience break down because sales or contact centers were not properly trained to communicate with older adults. Phone contact is often the moment in the customer journey that causes the most anxiety for the consumer, and older adults have been through the wringer enough that they’ll have less patience for a poor experience here.

RECOGNIZE THE CONSUMER Besides representing the brand voice and experience consistently and properly, see to it that your teams are trained to understand how older adults like to be communicated with, and which features and promises of the brand resonate with older consumers. Assure they are trained to recognize different personas and interact with them in a manner suitable to that persona’s attributes. Consider using a sales model (such as Integrity Selling) to get all team members (including the contact center) to understand how to recognize different personas and

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Selling to Older Consumers

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interact with them in a manner suitable to that persona’s attributes.

MATURE MARKET TRAINING Overlay that with mature market training that gives them the vocabulary and the techniques to empathize with the changing needs of an older adults (especially if that workforce is younger). Such an approach will go a long way to help create trust for the brand.

CLOSE THE LOOP Do both contact centers and sales have the training to report back what they observe and hear from consumers on a regular basis? And more importantly, do they have permission to do so? Since they are often the first point of human contact, their ability to notice patterns and roadblocks can be powerful in helping optimize both marketing messages and the customer journey.

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10

Do you have a customer feedback loop?

Being intentional about measuring efficacy and experience are important. Some techniques you can use to gather feedback are: In-person usability testing Remote user testing On-site surveys Surveys sent by email These techniques are each great in their own way, but as I mentioned before, conversations with contact center and sales team members are perhaps the most powerful qualitative data that can be gathered to understand your customers.

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Selling to Older Consumers

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Taking the next step Optimizing your online customer experience for older adults may seem like a daunting task, but it is one worth pursuing, offering both a competitive advantage and operational cost savings. And it is certainly attainable, with the right plan.

GAIN SOME STEAM A holistic plan can take some time. Don’t suffer from analysis paralysis. Getting some quick wins under your belt is a great way to get your teams to see results and become excited about the task at hand. Below are some of the types of “quick wins” we have helped clients with that can get you started on a path toward making a bigger impact: Develop personas, and do an “audience analysis” to help identify the voice of the customer and to inform messaging Create a customer experience lifecycle map and customer journey maps. Focus on the customer journeys with the most potential impact Implement discrete lead nurture campaigns. These can be implemented discretely at first to help “plug the gaps” identified by analytics or customer journey mapping. Optimize conversion funnels in online properties, applying mature market best practices.

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Plan for integration. Map how existing systems communicate and prioritize which data intelligence should be available to all teams. A cohesive customer journey will be an important goal for companies who want to stay relevant to older consumers and successfully engage and sell to them. So c’mon—jump on the train! It’ll be a fun ride, I promise.

About Immersion Active Immersion Active is a digital marketing and sales firm focused on the mature markets. We help brands sell to boomers, seniors, and those who play an influential role in their lives. We do this through audience analysis, customer experience and customer journey mapping,

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persuasion architecture, email and marketing automation, and integrated online campaigns. Founded in 1998, we’re the authors of the book Dot Boom: Marketing to Baby Boomers Through Meaningful Online Engagement, an Amazon best seller in the category of business and direct marketing. We’ve been recognized over 130 times but organizations

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and awards including the Webbys, Mature Market Awards, Content Marketing Association and the American Advertising Federation. Our work with brands such as Del Webb, AARP, Home Instead Senior Care has driven over $1.5B worth of revenue at a $14 average ROI.

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