If you’re looking for an immediate return on your advertising investment, there’s never been a better time to take a hard look at direct response. The internet revolution is reshaping the DR landscape, making new products and services suddenly viable. New categories are commanding traditional media in radio and TV today that had never been sold directly to consumers before. Even if you’ve never sold direct, utilizing an omni-channel strategy powered by proven DR principles could give you the cash and confidence to grow faster than you ever thought possible.
In Part I, we established that online education has tremendous potential for growth through DR in 2016. Rising tuition, the consequences of student loan debt, and the shrinking power of the traditional diploma have left students and their families eager for alternatives. Presenting a more affordable educational experience online is a natural fit for a generation raised on the internet. Beyond that core audience, there are countless adults who never got their degree. An invitation to log in and graduate on their own terms is a compelling message.
Here’s the second of three emerging DR categories best positioned to see dramatic growth in 2016.
No.2: Senior Medical Devices
There’s a golden rule to successful DR that every advertiser should know. It’s true for any channel. It doesn’t matter how old your audience is. Gender doesn’t matter. Income doesn’t matter. If you want to get your prospects to take immediate action, there’s one golden rule you simply have to follow:
Never sell prevention. Speak to a pain point that your audience may feel someday and they may take action someday, but they’ll ignore you today. It’s all in the positioning, but if you’re not solving a pressing problem, your audience will tune you out.
There are countless pain points associated with aging that are easy to put off. Declining mobility. Joint pain. Respiratory issues. Health and wellness challenges. Dietary concerns, etc. For decades these problems can be ignored, but eventually there’s a tipping point where one is forced to take action.
Due to an aging generation of baby boomers, a rising number of Americans are hitting that tipping point daily. According to the U.S. Census, by 2050, there will be an estimated 83.7 million people over the age of 65 (virtually double the 43.1 million estimated in 2012). Put another way, 10,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. every day.
The audience is growing rapidly in other ways, too. There’s a growing number of caregivers buying on behalf of their parents and grandparents. For this demographic, they want what’s best for their loved ones and are willing to pay any price.
The Dreary Taboo
For generations, the aforementioned issues facing seniors have been considered taboo. Admitting you were facing them felt like a death sentence and previous generations simply didn’t discuss them.
The grave tone associated with these issues is even reflected in the design of most of the products meant to solve them. A drab gray walker with sliced tennis balls. An ancient brown stick that passes for a walking cane. A sea of medical devices in sterile hospital colors, devoid of inspiration.
The internet is turning the tide against the silent and dreary tone in the category. When we launched our own product, HurryCane (now the No. 1 selling cane in America), we discovered a remarkable internet-related trend that transformed our marketing strategy. Seniors, who have historically only placed orders by phone, are placing orders online in record numbers.
Awareness, Acceptance, Empowerment
Seniors are doing more online than just placing orders, however. Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic on social media. As we age, staying social is crucial for wellbeing and staying connected with friends and family on social media has played an important role in helping to fulfill that need for seniors.
Beyond sharing videos and reading up on their grandkids, social media has played another crucial role. Seniors are becoming more vocal about the issues that were previously taboo. The increased awareness is erasing the stigma and bringing these problems to light. It’s also made it easier for seniors to respond to advertising that can speak directly to their problems and offer compelling solutions.
Steve Jobs invented a computer that broke convention and said, “Hello.” In the rising senior market, inspired design is starting to transform the product landscape. With the HurryCane, we created multiple colors because seniors aren’t hiding behind their canes anymore. They’re embracing them and making them their own. Other product innovators are developing devices like customized walkers for style and storage that have unique colors and patterns. The product stories are shifting toward celebrating life, enhancing your quality of life and enjoying the golden years for as long as possible.
Direct for the Very First Time
Medical devices have been historically sold through durable medical equipment (DME) retailers and haven’t been sold directly to consumers. The shift away from dreary function toward functional style is empowering advertisers to finally go direct, creating a massive market that had never existed before. The sheer volume of new viable products in this category makes it one of the top DR categories to watch 2016.
If you’ve got a product that solves a problem for seniors, we should talk - even if you’ve never sold directly to consumers before. At Marketing Architects, we’ve developed the infrastructure to allow you to launch TV and radio advertising with online optimization and real time results reporting. Backed with more than 18 years of best practices in DR, we can give you everything you need to make 2016 an incredible year.