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A Different Take on Generational Marketing



westbrook village, AZ header

As Benn, Lani and I were discussing the propensity on AG to discuss Generation Y and I continued to rage against I know not what true to my Generation X roots, I happened to mentioned my Westbrook Village real estate site.”You should write about it,” they said. And so here I am.


Westbrook Village is an active adult community in Peoria, about a mile west of Arrowhead Ranch and less than a mile from Loop 101. When UDC started construction a quarter of a century ago it was on the edges of civilization; civilization since has sprung up around it.

Once upon a time there was one dominant real estate company – Westbrook Real Estate. That brokerage was later bought out by Russ Lyon and to this day, Russ Lyon has the (dare I say it) lion’s share of the market. But once you get beyond Russ Lyon, it’s fairly wide open.

Let’s Talk About Me

Here’s where I enter the story. About 18 months ago my then-branch manager suggested in a sales meeting that someone start working in Westbrook Village. A small group of us guaranteed. Money was tight for marketing so we used door hangers from one of the local title companies, sent letters, etc.

I started the website – I’m a one-trick pony and this is my trick.

Even as we discussed how to market I was told that you can’t market an active adult community via the Internet. Never mind that Westbrook Village now is open to residents 40 years of age or older – the vast majority of folks aren’t tech-savvy enough to ever know the website’s around.

I pushed ahead. The group came apart when none of the “traditional” marketing methods proved effective. Westbrook Village Real, meanwhile, became a category killer and a lead machine.

Some of those who contact me are looking for themselves. Others are looking for their parents. But they’re looking online – they want to see photos, they want to see floor plans, they want to see the newest listings to the market and they want to see all of the listings without having to register to see them.

It’s Not Really About Me

It’s about the fallacies we fall into when we market ourselves and our services. It’s about making incorrect assumptions about how a certain generation may behave and how they search for services. My 67-year-old mother has a computer and almost knows how to use Google. It’s something I’ve never forgotten and refuse to overlook.

It’s paid off.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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  1. Colorado Mortgage Broker

    February 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Even if the current generation of retirees aren’t web savvy, the next generation will be. Because the age of domain and age of links counts in the SERPs, old sites (like yours will be) are more likely to rank in the future. I think it’s a fabulous idea. You get some business now, perhaps a lot of business later. I am mulling over the same idea regarding reverse mortgages. There aren’t that many searches for “reverse mortgage Denver,” for example, but it won’t always be that way. The other great thing about throwing up a site is that it just doesn’t cost that much and the maintenance isn’t that much either.

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Wade, that is an excellent point!

    Dalton- thank you for bringing people HOPE that the retirement communities can be marketed online. Your business will boom because you refuse to forget that mom knows how to use Google!

  3. kathy Drewien

    February 23, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Oh dear! Didn’t realize that my clients and I have been dismissed as not tech-savvy!

    My 72 year old client who just relocated from Maryland met me through my online marketing.Fran wanted an active adult community. So, I set up an email listing alert for her. Long story short:Fran bought the property after researching online the area crime rate, libraries, and gyms.

    At age 57 I am a card carrying techie. My GenY clients love that I text.

    Baby Boomers (my peers) are online all the time finding resources for our aging parents. An “active adult” community without an online presence is invisible.

  4. Ginger Wilcox

    February 24, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    My 79 year old grandmother spends a ton of time on the internet. She is more likely to email me than call me. Online extends past specific ages, most people just haven’t figured that out!

  5. Colorado Mortgage Broker

    February 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I think your grandmother is unusual. I spoke to a retired woman the other day who told me that she gave her credit card information to her daughter so that she could book a plane ticket for her online because she is uncomfortable on the web. I think that’s more the norm. My parents, for example, are passable on the web, but they prefer to do things the old fashioned way, if possible. Between my wife and I we have three living grandparents — and not a one of them even owns a computer. Two are self-employed and one is an intellectual, so they are most assuredly capable. Most of the old folks just aren’t embracing technology. When I walk by the Apple store at the mall, I don’t see many old folks milling about. I doubt too many ipod adds are placed in the AARP magazine. Times they are a changin’, though.

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Business Marketing

Audio branding: Is this the next big boost in brand recognition?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Brands have invested heavily in audio branding in 2021, here’s how that is changing up the branding rankings for businesses.



Person at audio mixing table, preparing audio branding

Media consumption and engagement with brands across digital platforms is increasing, according to sonic branding agency amp; and companies investing in audio branding are creating a significant competitive advantage. The Best Audio Brands (BAB) index created by amp uses 5 key criteria to measure audio investment performance: Customer recognition, customer trust, customer experience, customer engagement and customer belonging. The agency claims that companies investing in high quality audio assets for their brands have gained ground by establishing a recognizable audio identity.

Michele Arenese, amp CEO said, “Making a brand heard is more important than ever before. The past 18 months have accelerated the importance of sound and voice as vital elements of the brand identity and customer experience toolbox. Meaningful and purposeful brand communication takes advantage from a ownable and authentic sound ecosystem.”

For the second consecutive year, Mastercard ranked highly across all key criteria measured by the BAB and topped the list. Other brands that fared well on this year’s index were Netflix, which moved up 27 places by using it’s famous “ta-dum” more widely and Coca-Cola which collaborated with Tyler the Creator and invested more in bespoke music. In addition, 5 new brands to make the top 10 this year were Audi, Mercedes, Netflix, Hyundai and Siemens. The highest climbing brands were in the financial sector: HSBC, American Express and J.P. Morgan. The highest climbing sector, however, was beverages followed by automotive. Brands that dropped in the rankings this year were Google, Amazon, Colgate, Goldman Sachs, and Danone.

Björn Thorleifsson, Head of Strategy & Research, amp said: “This year has shown that those who were already embarking on their sonic branding journeys have increased their lead on trailing rivals – now clearly falling behind. Given the evolving ability of sound to reach consumers whatever the device or channel they’re on, we expect to see increased investment from brands looking to stand out amongst the online noise. There are already best practice examples from leaders, such as Mastercard, and we’d encourage those who want to improve brand recognition and even performance, to adopt a little less conversation on sonic branding, and a little more action.”

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.



Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

10 easy steps to get into Instagram marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want to up your social media marketing game? Start better with Instagram for your business using these easy tips to quickly get established.



Instagram post open on a tablet

When Instagram first came on the scene, it was simply a place to share pictures of your cat or a pie that you just baked. While it still is a place for that kind of content, it has also grown into a platform where one can influence others and build an empire.

So, if you’re looking to step up your social media marketing game through use of Instagram, look no further than using these 10 steps from Neil Patel.

  1. Switch to a business profile: This is super easy and can be done in just a few clicks. Switching from a personal to a business profile gives a better look at your followers through Insights, allowing you to see analytics and impressions. It also adds a contact feature that takes a visitor right to an email draft to you – just like it would on your website. All this and it makes it possible to publish ads.
  2. Use free marketing tools: Because Facebook owns Instagram, they operate kind of similarly. As mentioned in #1, Insights allows for a deep dive into personalized analytics to see what kind of posts are clicking with your audience and which aren’t. That way, you know what kind of content to continue with and what to do away with.
  3. Post product teasers: There are a variety of ways to do this, including posting about flash sales or linking business platforms that sell your product to make it easier for your customer to shop. The trick here is to not be pushy, but instead be enticing and make the post convenient for your consumer.
  4. Create a sponsored ad: Like Facebook, you can post ads and include a specific budget of what you want to spend. You can showcase one ad or multiple with the carousel feature. You can also target the exact demographic you’re looking to hit.
  5. Instagram stories: These last 24 hours and don’t have to be as “fancy” as a regular post. Give followers a glimpse into your brand with behind-the-scenes shots, polls, fun questions, etc. Make them feel like they’re part of the experience and use this as a way to tell your brand’s story.
  6. Partner with influencers: Work out a deal with influencers who have a decent following. Send them one of your items in exchange for them posting a photo of the item and tagging your brand. This will reach their whole followership and build your credibility.
  7. Collect user-submitted photos: Share photos posted by customers loving on your brand or product. Either share them to your story, or use a regram app to repost customer photos to your feed. It’s basically free advertising for your product.
  8. Hashtags: Come up with an interactive hashtag solely for your brand. Think in terms of verbs (a la Nike’s “Just Do It”). It can be punny or practical, but something that people attribute to your brand and your brand only.
  9. Timing and over-posting: Look into the best times to post – this is when your users are most active. It will be helpful to use Insights to understand when your time to shine may be. According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post. Also, don’t over post. It’s annoying and it’s always best to err on the side of quality over quantity.
  10. Track the right metrics: Insights do no good if you aren’t looking at the right data. You need to keep tabs on whether or not what you’re doing is increasing your follower growth as well as growth for your interaction. With research, use of Insights and a little trial and error, you’ll get yourself to where you need to be.

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