A rant about the Internet of Things hype.
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Marketing and Selling Technology for Aging in Place
Time for an update -- more surveys, more vendors. I just updated the Aging in Place Technology Market Overview to incorporate other example vendors and links to studies about seniors and technology. This is going to be a regular task -- lately I have stumbled across a plethora of surveys from MetLife's Mature Market Institute, Nielsen, and the everywhere-at-once AARP. As I find them, I post on the Trends page of this site, most recent at the top. And then there are many more vendors and tech services and websites, way too many for a market overview, but I've added more examples than the previous version.
Advice to marketers -- check. In the market overview and in a blog post, in which I went through the ten steps that vendor marketers should check off as they prepare to go to market with a technology for boomers and seniors. Since I still see some vendor sites that do not reflect the usefulness of the product, that do not place the product in an overall problem/solution context, do not offer a video of a satisfied user or enable the viewer to enlarge text, I am getting a feeling that folks might not have seen it -- or maybe disagree. So here's a recapped list -- thoughts?
- Create a boomer-and-senior aware website.
- Test usefulness with the target audience.
- Narrow scope, broaden messaging.
- Be wary of box obsolescence.
- Give away device and sell service.
- Offer the free trial.
- Add related and useful value.
- Add the community to the product.
- Monitor reputation on consumer websites.
- Cultivate members of other markets -- early.
Decision points marketing -- shapes the context. Although the market overview includes the idea of status changes that may indicate a need for a technology (like home monitoring when safety is an issue), I've been asked recently about life decision points that trigger the need for acquiring a technology (or two or three). The best example is the 'hair on fire' decision, courtesy of Jill Gilbert at Caring.Com (Jill, please advise if that term is from someone else!). This is the decision point at which an elderly parent is being discharged from rehab or a hospital and can't return immediately to their home. The working adult child (hair on fire) quickly starts searching websites for services that can offer an appropriate solution. So let's list others, not all of them with 'hair on fire' time urgency, but all requiring a redefinition of a problem, opportunity, or need -- therefore, a technology or service becomes relevant and valuable. Thoughts?
- Release from hospital or rehab -- can't return home.
- Death of a spouse -- need help or can't live alone.
- Diagnosis of dementia -- can't live alone or spouse/caregiver needs help.
- Onset of physical condition - vision or hearing loss, arthritis, Parkinson's, mobility.
- Sudden drop in income -- from job or financial loss.
- Adult children or boomers/seniors move away.
- Birth of grandchildren.
- New hobby or volunteer activity.
- New infrastructure becomes available.
- Preventive health regime initiated.
Selling technology into the world of senior professionals. On a recent GrandCare Systems conference call, I listened to participants mull over the best techniques for selling monitoring technology offerings, particularly accelerating closure of the deal. Here are the suggestions -- at the other end of the marketing techniques, of course -- since all selling is by definition, local:
- Be a guest speaker for senior housing organization or professional group, like visiting nurse associations.
- Participate in resident or family councils.
- To encourage organization bandwidth upgrades, demo valuable content to seniors...
- ...Who may pressure administrators to upgrade.
- Target the grandchildren to reel in grandparents.
- Seek testimonials from satisfied residents -- encourage them to tell their peers.
- Provide information on how use of technology can help seniors help their families.
- Engage residents or senior clients as technology champions.
- Clearly quantify investment benefits (more effective staff utilization, risk mitigation from falls, etc.) to categorize purchase as required versus additive.
- Help senior industry professionals see ways to generate revenue or acquire competitive differentiation from use of the product.
Requests to elaborate as well as additional thoughts are always welcome.