Senior Living

How Brand Personas Lead Senior Living Marketing

Mackenzie Fraser, Senior Vice President

Seniors walking on the beach

Do you know who the absolute best prospect for your senior living community is? 

We’re not talking about basic demographics, like age, income and education; we mean everything that makes up the person who would be the perfect fit for your community and residents—someone looking for a senior living brand just like yours. 

We’re talking about the buyer persona. 

What Are Buyer Personas?

HubSpot defines buyer personas as “semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research.” 

You may have heard of brand archetypes, which are very similar to personas. However, an archetype is more brand-focused and abstract, while a persona characterizes a specific human identified by demographics, attitudes, behaviors, aspirations, wants, needs and pain points. 

Personas allow you to understand your ideal customer better, and that allows you to tailor your marketing to the right audience and make it consistent across all marketing efforts. In return, you will get higher-quality leads and prospects that will save you time and money. 

You can have more than one persona, each representing your different services or customer segments. For instance, you can have a persona representing males, females, singles or married seniors. 

But don’t forget the adult child persona, because seniors aren’t the only ones looking for information about senior living. Over 90 percent of older adults who move into senior living communities have assistance from family members or caregivers, with adult children involved in the process 73 percent of the time

You will want to target and address the adult child’s wants, needs and pain points, as well as the parent’s. 

How to Create a Persona

Creating a persona isn’t about guesswork. It requires real information about your current consumers via:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Form fills
  • Sales and other team members
  • Research

At its essence, your persona is your brand personified. If you are a high-end exclusive community, you will probably target people with higher income levels; if your residents love outdoor activities such as boating, hiking and biking, you’ll want to target active seniors; if you have a highly educated resident population, that’s the segment to which you’ll want to appeal. 

When creating the persona, first, consider their background: 

  • Age
  • Income
  • With or without children
  • Education
  • Single, divorced or widowed
  • Working or retired

Then, take a deep dive into their psychographics: 

  • Shopping
    • Are they Target or Walmart shoppers?
    • Do they frequent the local grocery or Whole Foods?
    • Are they fans of farmers’ markets and local crafters?
  • Goals and motivations
    • To not be a burden to their children. 
    • To ensure they have time to do what they love. 
    • To reduce maintenance and upkeep of their home. 
    • (Adult children) Ensure parents are well taken care of. 
  • Aspirations
    • To maintain their current style of living. 
    • To experience a higher style of living. 
    • To simplify their style of living. 
    • To further their education. 
    • To travel. 
  • Information sources
    • The New Yorker or People Magazine?
    • The Washington Post, the local paper or no newspaper?
    • Fox or CNBC?
    • Social media?
    • Basic cable or a host of premium channels?
  • Technology
    • Will they want to use their computers daily?
    • What devices are important to them?
    • Do they require fast Wi-Fi and great cell phone reception?

Geographic profile:

  • Are your residents primarily from the local area, or do they come from all over the state/region?
  • Treetops or hardtop? Are they looking for country living or the hustle and bustle of the city?
  • Do they want to be close to everything, or do they want to get away from it all?

Wants and needs:

  • Are they looking for a social experience? Will they want a wealth of get-togethers and group outings?
  • Do they want a luxury lifestyle or something more modest?
  • Are they looking for an active community, or do they value a quiet, more sedentary lifestyle?
  • Do they require extra assistance and care? What kind?

What are their pain points?

  • Do they have financial limitations?
    • Do they want to pay less up front without a refund when they leave?
    • Or would they prefer to pay more up front and leave something for their estate?
  • Do they want to be near their families?
  • Do they want to avoid being a burden to their children?
  • (Adult children) Do they worry about their parents?


  • (Adult Children) Not sure parents would accept moving to a senior community.
  • How will they afford it?
  • What if they won’t like it?
  • How will they deal with moving from a home with a lifetime of memories?

Only when you consider all those factors can you create a strong persona for whom you can customize your messaging with high-quality, useful and compelling content. 

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