How do you identify and find new retirement property customers? In our experience this is the vexed question most likely to keep sales and marketing people in this sector awake at night.

For retirement living operators we have seen two types of approach to this, the rifle shot and the fishing net.

Finding the Sweet Spot

The rifle shot approach uses increasingly sophisticated segmentation tools that can break down the vast 65+ market into more targeted segments. Experian’s MOSAIC segmentation has recently focused heavily on creating cluster groups for the over 50s, identifying attractive labels such as “Diamond Days” and “Bungalow Heaven” to describe people sharing common socio-economic traits.

It’s not just location and age

Whilst this sounds like an ideal tool for targeting potential retirement property customers, its base criteria is the location and type of property people live in. In reality people’s motivations and decision making processes are much more sophisticated. Are you the same as your neighbour?

Looking at segmentation from a psychologist’s perspective provides an interesting contrast. Myers Briggs is the world’s best known personality analysis tool that categorises people into 16 basic personality types, based on their personal motivations and preferences. Crucially it suggests how different personality types respond to different messages. It is now possible to segment consumer databases to identify their personality profiles, allowing creative and messages to be tailored to maximise response rates.

It’s about the numbers

However the reality of tightly segmenting customers for retirement property using small niches means you get just that – a small number of people to approach. And you are likely to miss some or many potential customers that happen to fall into other segments for arbitrary reasons. For developments looking to attract customers from a defined area that is a problem.

In our experience it’s essential to start with a wider funnel (the fishing net) to create a large number of leads, rather than attempt the perfect rifle shot by very specific segmentation. But what is even more important is to start customer engagement at an early stage with a defined plan to engage people in, what is after all, a life changing decision.

Identifying potential customers is the easy part, it’s getting their attention and taking them on journey to purchase which is the hard part.

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