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What I Gained from South by Southwest

Jun 18, 2014 4:42:50 PM

It’s been two months since I attended South by Southwest (SXSW), but the experience hasn’t gone stale. The food was tasty, the music was invigorating, and the technology was pretty impressive. There were also some helpful and insightful pieces of information that I vividly remember, and continue recalling today.

Social Media and the 50+ Market


The 50+ population is continuing to increase rapidly, and for the next 18 years, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8000 a day. This segment holds 2.3 trillion dollars in disposable income. 60% of those ages 50–64 are using social media networks, predominantly Facebook. If the senior market uses your services/products and you aren’t targeting or including them in your digital marketing strategy, you’re missing a BIG opportunity.


When targeting seniors through social media channels, know that:

  • Unlike younger segments, seniors use social media networks to stay in touch with family.
  • They also like sharing photos, viewing videos on YouTube and chatting with their grandchildren through Skype.
  • They are not fans of promotions online, but do enjoy reading stories and content relating to their families, health and lifestyle.
  • For a good example of bringing the right content to the senior market using social media networks, check out AARP. They truly understand their audience and senior members, what to communicate to them, and how to communicate to them by:
    • Generating relevant content on their website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter channels.
    • Sending their members surveys to learn about their members’ wants and needs.
    • Providing assistance to understand the world of technology and how to use it (AARP TEK team).
    • Providing members important information to share with their family members (i.e., Affordable Care Act information events promoted through Facebook, Twitter, SMS and radio).


Content Marketing – Approach It the Right Way


Typical definition of content marketing: A guide to planning for the creation, delivery and governance of useful, usable content.


What it should be: A marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and acquire a clearly-defined and understood audience with the objective of driving profitable customer actions.


It’s very easy for our customers, and even many marketers, to get caught up in the hype of generating lots of content. But what may be missing from this is the Who, Why, What, Where and How.

  • Who is your audience? Do you truly understand who they are and what they need?
  • Why do you need to generate content? Because your competitors are doing it? Because your audience needs it or requested it?
  • What content are you generating and what is it based on? Findings, research? What are you trying to achieve? What are your objectives?
  • Where will this content reside – website, blog, social media channels? Where will the content come from?
  • How will you generate this content? Are SMEs (subject matter experts) involved? How will audience interaction be tracked and measured?


When developing your content strategy, don’t allow functionality to drive your strategy. Make sure you listen to your audience and understand their needs and pain points. Be sure to include actual business goals, so that you are not pushing for initiatives that won’t ladder up to what you ultimately want to achieve.






South by Southwest Session

Being Social with Grandma: Social Media for 50+

Aldea Douglas, Project Manager at AARP, Andres Castillo, Sr. Advisor at AARP

Go Home Marketing, You’re Drunk

Kristina Halverson, CEO at Brain Traffic


Melissa Martinez

Written by Melissa Martinez

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