When approaching the senior demographic to market financial services, you have to wrestle with the same truths of marketing that apply to any demographic. One of these truths is that the levels of comprehension and comfort that individual customers have with financial products, information, and issues will vary greatly, even within specific demographics.
Some seniors are very comfortable with financial research and financial products, while others rely on the guidance of experts, friends, and family to make decisions. Understanding your customers’ depth of knowledge is going to greatly impact where you can target the right seniors for your product or service online.
In a recent project, we worked with an annuities company to help attract new customers to their products. Based on the client’s existing research, we targeted three personas that helped us map the senior customer journey with much more precision. These personas were based on a variety of factors including the consumer’s financial acumen, risk tolerance, reliance on outside influencers, desire to leave a legacy, and more.
Where Seniors Go For Financial Information
As we mapped the buyer journey for each of these personas, we found that they primarily rely on three common sources of online information:
While these sources may not be unique to our distinct personas, the way these sources play into their buyer journey is. The importance and role of each source of information varies by persona.
For example, consumers who are not as comfortable with financial terms or who feel less knowledgeable, place greater importance on the testimonials and advice of other investors and financial personalities. However, those investors or personalities need to be people that this type of consumer relates to and admires. Personal opinions have a great influence on this type of consumer, including those from financial personalities such as Suze Orman, David Ramsey or others who offer free advice on radio or television shows.
Likewise, the websites consumers rely on vary from persona to persona. While all personas seem to leverage sites like CNN Money, MSN, and Yahoo, as personas become more confident in their financial situation, they tend to rely on more and more specific financial websites, from the Wall Street Journal and Forbes to places like E-trade and AnnuityDigest.com.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we found that the search behavior of our personas varied significantly. Personas who were concerned about leaving a legacy, taking care of their family, or who were not as prepared for retirement as they wanted tended to search for tools and resources to help them plan. Keywords like “investment calculators, estate planning, pension, and life insurance” were popular search terms for this consumer.
On the other hand, consumers who felt financially prepared for retirement and who often maintained personal control of their investments used keywords like “fixed annuity, interest rates, annuity fees, and early retirement” in their searches.
The Critical Secret
At this point it’s probably pretty obvious that, even within the senior financial demographic, very different consumer groups exist. Even with just the three we targeted, we quickly realized the critical secret to success was mapping out the buyer journey and then implementing a campaign plan that inserted the right messaging for that persona at the right time in their journey.
For example, for those consumers who were not as financially comfortable, we found that offering resources and calculators on social media was highly effective. Targeted, product-specific keywords on paid search better connected with consumers who are more financially savvy.
The overlay of buyer journey map and campaign plan was the critical secret to our success.
Looking for a jump start?
Our Buyer Journey and Consumer Persona development services can help you determine the top places your consumers are going online, what influences their purchasing decisions, the keywords they’re using to search, and more. If you want to optimize your success, we can help you create a buyer journey specific to your product or service.