Poor creative ideas, poor placement. One, or even both, can be the most common reason for poor ROI in today’s competitive aged services sector.
In this article, we would expect you have a clearly differentiated brand strategy delivered across all customer touch-points. If you don’t have this nailed, then don’t even bother advertising. Save the money and define your brand positioning with a supporting 360 implementation plan.
So let’s assume you have your brand plan sorted, and you need to attract prospects by paid advertising. The most common mistake is not being single-minded in the execution, and allowing the creep of “can we add another message.” We recommend one simple idea, executed well. Information overload is the quickest way to lose your reader’s attention. Remember that your audience is not as interested in your advert as you are. They are not spending hours reading every sentence. They are generally attracted to the image and then decide to read the headline, so you have seconds to convince them to read further. Studies with Boomers and Seniors have shown that one large, full-page image works more effectively than lots of little images, and five times as many people read the headline compared to the body copy. If you want to get your message understood, invest in a great copywriter to give you a good headline at least.
Ageless design is key, especially with consideration to the physiological process of ageing. Design for the eyes and go for good colour contrast because as people age, the way light is processed within the eye changes. Colour and text of similar hues or density are harder to distinguish, and can make your design elements harder to read. This is even more important with digital advertising, where smaller sizes and short AV formats, such as 15sec or under, are preferred.
Great photographs attract. When selecting or commissioning an image for an advert, think up front about the length of your headline and where within the photo it should be placed to avoid the background causing clutter.
Strike the right pose. Research has identified that different generations gravitate to different styles of photography. If you are appealing to older Seniors, then photographs that are more posed or formal tend to appeal. When a product or service is aimed at the younger Senior, more candid or ‘capture the moment’ style of photographs resonate. Boomers like the ‘slice of life/in the moment’ style as though you were capturing a feeling of ‘behind the scenes’. Importantly, showing mental accomplishments as well as physical capabilities is a strong attribute.
Okay, so you have great advert. Where should you pay for it to be placed – traditional versus digital, or influencer versus end-user?
For those without access to propriety media tools such as Roy Morgan, then a great starting point is website analytics that show the demographic profile of website visitors. From these sources, and experience, we know there are two distinct decision-makers in the aged care journey. The decision-makers are as follows: predominantly female, aged 45-64 years and the daughter or daughter-in-law of the person requiring care, and secondly people aged 80+ who are usually the partner/carer of a prospective aged care resident.
Unsurprisingly, dual target markets consume media differently; for example compared to the population, females 45-64 are heavier digital consumers with 67% having used social media in the past week versus only 23% of people aged 80+ years; conversely, people 80+ years are 20% more likely to have watched commercial TV on a normal evening versus women 45-64 years who are 10% more likely (Roy Morgan 2020). So you need to cater for more than one audience, and also let’s not forget the importance of healthcare influencers.
Therefore, it’s important to map your prospect’s marketing journey, understand how brand messages need to adjust by audience motive, and know what channels best support each stage in this process.
In summary, effective advertising requires both a great idea and great placement. They are intrinsically linked, and must also be underpinned by measurement and testing.
There are some brands that get the balance right, from the wonderful and quality production values of Snoop Dog saying “Did someone say Menulog” to proof that a cracker of an idea, brilliantly executed such as Aldi’s “Good. Different” can deliver brand cut through.
Personally I think one of the best aged service examples of brand cut through with smart creative and placement ideas is Feros Care.