The field of psychology is perhaps best known for its contribution to mental healthcare. But the applications of psychology go much farther, providing valuable insight into everything from occupational health through to sports performance. Notably, a whole branch of psychology is dedicated to optimizing marketing campaigns for maximum efficacy. 

What Is Advertising Psychology?

As experts in senior living consulting, we find the psychological aspects of sales and marketing intriguing. It’s no surprise that psychology plays a crucial role in advertising. Psychology is the study of human behavior, revealing why people behave in certain ways and how to influence these behaviors. By using psychology, we can create emotional connections with our target audience, making them feel more connected to our brand.

How To Use Psychology In Senior Living Marketing

Senior living is closely linked to psychology, as families can experience a range of emotions when seeking assisted living communities. Understanding your customers’ needs and their inner journey is crucial in creating effective marketing campaigns that inspire feelings of comfort and trust. If you’re looking to enhance your senior living marketing strategy, consider these three proven psychological models. They can provide valuable insights and help you connect with your target audience.

3 Important Psychological Models and Theories In Marketing

Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975)

According to this well-known health psychology model, a person’s subjective norms and personal attitudes determine their behavioral intention, ultimately influencing their behavior. Attitude refers to whether someone thinks a certain action will have positive or negative consequences. For instance, many seniors and their caregivers believe that moving to a senior living facility means losing independence or dignity, leading to a negative attitude.

Subjective norms refer to whether a person believes the important figures in their life would want them to carry out a behavior. This may include people like family members, friends and doctors. For example, if a senior believes that their regular physician thinks moving to senior living is a good idea, they may be more likely to consider it. 

Putting it into Practice:

      • Develop campaigns that aim to change attitudes and tackle preconceptions about what it means to move to senior care.
      • Seek positive relationships with trusted physicians and produce rack cards for them to hand to patients.
      • Create campaigns that target family caregivers and other important people in seniors’ lives.

Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger, 1957)

This theory suggests that we tend to dislike inconsistencies within our own minds. For example, feelings of discomfort might arise when a person who views him or herself as being honest tells a lie. In this case, the person’s values and behaviors are not aligned. If a senior believes that moving to residential care is depressing or will rob them of their independence, seriously considering the move may result in cognitive dissonance. 

In turn, seniors may exaggerate the positive aspects of living at home and resist moving to maintain cognitive consonance. By challenging negative preconceptions about senior care with your marketing campaigns, you can influence seniors to reconsider and adjust their beliefs. In turn, the cognitive dissonance they feel when considering senior care may reduce. 

Putting it into Practice:

      • Highlight your community’s exclusivity, luxury or desirability, and tackle common preconceptions around senior care.
      • Be mindful of the language you use – avoid framing getting older as negative and youth as positive, and refrain from infantilizing language. These may solidify a senior’s existing preconceptions.

Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1943, 1954)

This model suggests that human needs are built upwards in a pyramid, and the next level can only be achieved once the current one has been fulfilled. The first building block in this pyramid refers to basic needs, including biological, physiological and safety needs like sleep, food, water and financial security. 

Without these basic needs being met, we cannot reach the next level – psychological needs. Psychological needs include things like love, feelings of belonging, self-esteem and friendship. With these psychological needs being met, a person can then reach self-actualization – a state of self-fulfilment in which an individual is able to reach their full unique potential. 

When you consider the common pain points seniors face, they can be directly related to this hierarchy. For example, many seniors struggle with ADLs like eating and transferring to and from bed, which may mean their basic needs are not being met. Others may be comfortable in this sense, but have a diminished social life due to bereavement or transportation issues. Lacking friendship and connections, their psychological needs may not be fulfilled.

Putting it into Practice:

      • This theory may be useful when creating consumer personas that inform your marketing efforts. By aligning your customers’ pain points to the hierarchy, you can identify and speak to the underlying need.
      • Create marketing campaigns that address each important section of the pyramid, demonstrating how your residents can achieve self-actualization with a combination of care that meets their basic, psychological and self-fulfilment needs.

How Can A Senior Living Consulting Expert Help?

With decades of experience, our senior living consulting specialists deeply understand the psychological processes that go into senior healthcare decisions. Our talented team of consultants, copywriters, website developers, social media experts and graphic designers will craft a marketing strategy that speaks directly to the psychological pain points of your clientele.