A recent Pew Study shows 1 in 5 adults don’t use the Internet.
20% of U.S. adults think the Internet isn’t relevant for them, the majority of whom are retirees.
For anyone with an aging parent, it probably isn’t all that surprising. Those raised to search through phone books to find businesses, who eagerly await printed catalogs to arrive in the mail, who keep their mobile phone turned off until they leave the house, who watch The Weather Channel to get their forecast—in short, the “Boomers” and older who represent nearly 40 million Americans—they have been much slower to adopt the Internet…or to “see the point” in it.
It would easy to dismiss this, noting that many of them are retired and don’t work in the building industry, except for one problem: this audience is a massive portion of the end-step of the building supply channel.
Boomers are the core of the aging-in-place population, a group with billions in purchasing power and growing need for products and services that will ease them through their senior years.
And what we’re hearing is: they don’t use the Internet.
What does this mean for us as building product marketers? Simply put, it means we need to make sure we talk to our audiences—all of them—where they really are and not where we think they should be, or where we’d like them to be, or where it would be convenient for them to be.
Fact is, in the current environment, it’s our inboxes and not our mailboxes that are jammed full of junk, much of which we barely skim over to determine if it’s worth reading at all. As a result, some of the “old school” tactics that have fallen out of favor in the digital age are perfectly positioned to reach the “old school” audience.
So as it turns out, those print ads, direct mail, printed catalogs, prominent Yellow Pages listings, door hangers, and all the other tactics that have been shunned as too old-fashioned to reach the tablet-enabled are exactly the way to reach the non-Internet crowd.
That’s not to say that email campaigns and banner ads and SEO aren’t important ways to deliver your message and reach your audiences. But more than ever, we need to remember that an audience exists who isn’t reached through the Internet that now dominates much of our lives.
When speaking to those who choose to live comfortably off-the-grid, the tried-and-true tactics are still the way to get noticed and make a connection.
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