Credibility Counts



Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging, with Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging, with Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

Marketing physical activity to older adults is more than just advertising, direct mail, email, websites and blogs. In reality, marketing is everything you do to build your reputation and brand.  Marketers today have an uphill challenge when focusing on the 50 plus market, as three-quarters of this group don’t believe what you have to say. The lack of credibility is a major barrier when marketing physical activity to older adults.


Check out the following 9 tips for building your credibility (and adapt them to your organization or your individual role):


1.  Court partners

Governmental organizations, non-profits, and highly respected companies are ideal for creating strategic alliances as credible organizations. Alliances confer on your organization a level of credibility almost impossible to buy and difficult to create.


2.  Do your research and know your market

The one-size fits all approach does not work with the older adult market, which has many segments-each with its own wants and needs. Learn what types of marketing appeal to different segments. For example, the term senior is disliked by 98% of Baby Boomers.


3.  Provide the facts

This age group wants straight facts, with data to support them.

That’s why the Physical Activity Guidelines are so important. Effective messaging explains clearly and simply why someone should be interested in exercise, what you have to offer, and what benefits the person will receive.


4.  Create relationships

Generally, older adults value personal ties and will gladly take the time to get to know you and your service. Take advantage of this attribute by providing people with an unforgettable experience.


5.  Become an expert

If you or your organization has little or no profile in your community, craft one. If your presence is mediocre, enhance it. Become a local or national expert in your field and ensure the media knows it:

* Make yourself available for interviews;

* Write articles; or

* Conduct seminars.


6.  Get involved in your community

Support local charities, initiatives and senior groups. Hold events to show your support for these causes.


7.  Educate the market

Partnering organizations for the Be Active Your Way blog are a good place to start. You also can host seminars to help educate your customers about the health issues they face, such as osteoporosis. By educating these customers, you show you speak their language.


8.  Choose appropriate models

In your marketing, use photography and art that reflects your audience’s lifestyles.


9.  Strut your stuff

If you utilize the Physical Activity Guidelines, let them know. If you are a member of a national industry association or to a governmental group that specializes in the aging market, let people know. Your key copy elements should include professional endorsements, documentation and evidence.  For example, associating my involvement, as a chosen participant in the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on an Aging Society lends credibility to myself and the ICAA because the Forum chooses only 20 participants from around the world (see photo).


By enhancing your credibility in consumers’ eyes, you show older adults that you share and understand their values.


What has your organization done to enhance its credibility with adults as they age?