Why your marketing campaign to sixty somethings might not be working

Is your marketing to people in their sixties working?

Many businesses are vying for the attention of people in their sixties, but are they doing it well?  In this article, I suggest that marketing that uses stock imagery of older people shows them living empty lives.

This thought really came home to me when I was looking for images of people in their sixties for my recent presentation for the ‘Retirement is all different now’ webinar. So many of the images I found left me feeling uncomfortable in a way that I couldn’t quite define.

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Writing to users and customers can be difficult

Many people who are not specialist content writers now find themselves in the position where they have to write to users and customers. If this is you, I know how you feel and I have some suggestions that could help.

Here are three reasons why writing to users and customers can be difficult - and three tips that may help.

Writers and readers want different things

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What user testing teaches us about work voice

Work voice is one of the main reasons why users do not read content. When users see content written in work voice they will skim read; understand less than they read, and feel confused about your brand.

What is your work voice?

Work voice is the writing style you use when you are writing formally to colleagues, your boss, or the regulator. It  is not the one that you would normally use with your friends and family, or your neighbour.  It should not be the voice you use when writing to your users.

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Is your content full of jargon? 

If your content is full of jargon, you are at risk of 

  1. Creating unnecessary effort for your users and customers.
  2. Limiting how much they understand, and 
  3. Disengaging them

"Jargon disrupts people’s ability to fluently process scientific information, even when definitions for  the jargon terms are provided. ....... Research shows the less work audiences need to put into reading, the more they will find sources credible, and the better they will connect with the messages. " *

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Reading and the psychology of motivation 

Reading is a voluntary activity that people can start to do if they want to. They can also stop reading any time - even mid sentence.  Although we tend to think of reading as somehow different from other forms of behaviour, many psychological concepts still apply. One of those is motivation and goal orientation.

Reading and motivation

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Lessons learned from testing written content with users

Over many years, I have tested written content on a diverse range of topics such as cycling safety, exchange-traded funds, denied insurance claims, superannuation fees and charges, and making a will. I have watched how people read letters, landing pages, statements and brochures and how they filled in forms. From this experience, I have learned how people actually read.

User testing shows when people skim read or stop reading

Content creators are often advised to write for skim readers who navigate via headings.  In my experience, this is only partly true. It depends on how familiar the content is to them - or rather how familiar it seems and what they presume they need to do after reading it.

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What do people want when they ask for sustainable products or investments? 

If you are a researcher, marketer, communications specialist or product developer you may be wondering how to make sense of what seem to be competing trends in sustainability.

Our research has shown that the first step is to realise that what people mean by sustainability is probably different from what you mean.

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