How to Sell Technology to Old People

IMG_0102The last three calls I’ve gotten for new projects all went something like this: “We want to reposition our product/service because we’ve realized after doing some/absolutely zero research that our website/marketing collateral/packaging is not resonating with … [wait for it] … MILLENNIALS!”

Quick, but important rant here: Companies really need to stop grouping Millennials all into the same bucket. There’s a vast difference between a 20-year-old college student and a 32-year-old new mother, but both are considered Millennials. To think that they care about the same thing, respond to the same language and share the same buying patterns is just absurd.

What no one is asking me is how I can help them reposition their marketing copy to target seniors. I wish they would because I’m getting a little sick of writing copy that is “a kinder, gentler hip.” (Actually I’m not. Keep calling me!)

As for companies that do want to reach seniors, I’d recommend studying what Jitterbug is doing because they’re totally nailing it (to use my own Gen X language).

Jitterbug makes a cell phone for the 70-and-older crowd. Their most recent ad is featured in a prime spot on the back of The New York Times Book Review. Because who still reads newspapers? Right! Old people. (And middle-age holdouts like myself and my business partner.) Who can afford a relatively expensive cell phone? People who read The New York Times! So right there, we have to give Jitterbug some major points for smart placement.

This ad initially made me laugh because it practically screams, “I’m a cell phone for old people!”

It’s structured as a series of testimonials that highlight the complaints that (old) people have with non-Jitterbug cell phones. The quotes are unattributed — which means they were almost certainly written by a copywriter — and impossible not to read in the voice of SLN’s Grumpy Old Man.

Here, I’ll give you a few so you can see what I mean:

“Cell phones have gotten so small I can barely dial mine!” (Raaah!!!)

“I tried to use my sister’s phone… I couldn’t hear it!” (In my day …)

But humor aside, this ad is really effective because it perfectly addresses the pain points of this audience and offers a solution to each. For example, “What if I don’t remember a number?” Friendly, helpful Jitterbug operators are available 24 hours a day and will even greet you by name when you call.

This means Jitterbug really took the time to do their research and figure out what their audience cares about. Which, if you aren’t in the marketing world, you might be surprised to hear is actually pretty rare.

So Jitterbug, I salute you. And if you’re still around in 30-40 years, I may even buy one of your Implanted Communication Hubs. (Come on, no one is going to still be using cell phones!) But I’ll probably have to have my son program it for me.








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