But for those who do choose the traditional retirement route, the continuing care retirement community (or CCRC) remains a viable option, providing what's called the "continuum of care" from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care on a single campus or within a string of affiliated campuses.
One of the common mantras we mature marketers find ourselves using when working with retirement communities is "too much of the same." We see ads that look like competitors' ads with stock photography and heartwarming messages. We hear about the same amenities being offered, and we notice that some campuses look identical to others.
While some may argue the Boomer cohort is younger than the CCRC resident, Boomers already command heavy influence as the adult children of prospective residents. The CCRCs who begin to recognize and tailor their marketing to them will be best poised to succeed as Boomers consider where to spend their senior years.
When it comes to media, an integrated approach is ideal. It's best to engage with a targeted audience through multiple touchpoints (traditional advertising, public relations, digital) based on which media they may be using at any given moment.
Marketers should remember the following when targeting the Boomer audience on retirement living:
CCRCs are now re-thinking the entire model of the community to attract an audience that won't be content with many of the services and amenities currently being offered. Programs, activities, wellness programs, dining options, home care services and even community designs are being challenged. Active lifestyle is the new catch phrase. At the extreme, some are even planning neighborhoods built around themes or common resident interests, commune- type living, and intergenerational designs that will allow families to live together.
The definition of retirement is changing, and it's exciting to find communities pushing the limits. Although some idealistic retirement communities have tried and failed, the hope is that the new crop of forward-thinkers can avoid that fate through careful planning, strong leadership and focused, targeted marketing.