The concept of marketing segmentation isn't new, but what may be new, is the idea of generational segments within the Medicare market. Until recently, messaging to the senior market has involved painting a picture of a peaceful and relaxing retirement. The Silent Generation, born between 1925-1945, responded very favorably to this messaging. And many of the older Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1954, also respond well to this promise of peace, although not all.
The younger Baby Boomers have absolutely challenged the norm and the expectation of what it means to age, and they're not resonating with this ideal of retirement. They feel they're just getting started and respond best to the promise of adventure and exploration. A 2018 Columbia University study found "considerable evidence for age-group dissociation" meaning today's older adults don't see themselves as old.
And it's not just messaging that's changed with the younger Boomers. The tactics and channels have changed too. Whereas older Boomers still prefer word-of-mouth, traditional marketing, and in-person opportunities, like agents; younger Boomers prefer a transactional relationship that maximizes value and efficiency.
Another concept not widely considered in the Medicare market but certainly avant-garde, is messaging aimed towards Generation X and the Millennials. As the insurance space becomes increasingly more digital, it may be perceived as confusing or intimidating to aging-in seniors. In many cases, seniors are looking to their children and even their children's children to help them navigate online platforms and even the growing complexities of health insurance. Generation X is not the first generation to help their parents through the aging process, but they are the first generation to understand things that their parents may not. They're essentially taking the place of agents in some cases. This aspect of Medicare marketing is an under explored area of opportunity. There are some data points that can indicate whether you're interacting with a proxy, although this concept is in its infancy. Perhaps the greatest benefit of interacting with future generations as proxies is the opportunity to build rapport and members for life.
About Our Guest
Marcie Robinson-Caughey has been studying senior programming for 20 years. She has experience in operations and marketing for senior community recreation programs, as well as digital outreach for government-sponsored health plans.