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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Role of digital platforms in senior care sector- Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice President – Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities

Contrary to popular belief, today’s senior citizens are quite digitally savvy and acknowledge the convenience digital media brings to their lives. Seniors are late adopters of technology. Having adopted it quite late, most of them appreciate the many boons of the digital transformation that has taken place in the country. Look around you, and you will find senior citizens as glued to Youtube as the millennials.

Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice President – Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities

They actively use Facebook, emails, whatsapp, video calling and also order necessities on e-commerce platforms. They may need some help initially to navigate e-commerce platforms. However, most of them are able to use it to their benefit and a large number of them have adopted e-commerce through the two years of the pandemic.

More importantly, seniors also adopted telemedicine and e-health platforms during the pandemic, with an average rise of40 to 50% in usage on these platforms.

In 2020, Help Age India released a report that claimed that 47% of India’s seniors have learnt to use digital media on their own. The rest take help from their children, and some even from their son and daughters-in-law and grandchildren. They learnt how to hail a cab on a ride sharing app, how to order grocery in 10 minutes, how to use social media apps and how to transfer money using a payment app.These are some of the most important apps for them, according to the survey.

At Columbia Pacific Communities, 70% of our media budgets are spent on digital channels such as

Facebook, Youtube, affiliates and Google Search. And about 90% of our conversions come from digital channels. For a new brand in an emerging sector with stringent marketing budgets, there is nothing more powerful than digital as a media as it allows us to target our primary (senior citizens themselves) and secondary (children of senior citizens) audience segments effectively.

Given that our strategy from Day 1 has been to adopt niche marketing, there is nothing as effective as digital marketing, despite the bots and the fake impressions.

Some of our most awarded campaigns – whether it was #ToSeniorsWithLove done last year on World Senior Citizens Day, or #ChiefExperienceOfficer, done this year on the same occasion that reached close to 9 million people, have been done only on digital platforms. The ROI on digital is much higher and we find senior citizens actively reaching out to us and engaging with us on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Digital is also a great tool to reduce distances and bring people together in the post-pandemic world. During the two and a half years of the pandemic, we hosted our marquee, talent-hunt event PLATFORM, across our nine communities entirely digitally, live streaming the various inter-community competitions. This way, even while residents were physically distanced, they were not emotionally distanced with each other.

During the pandemic, when senior citizens could not visit their children offshore and vice versa, they all fell back on Whatsapp video calls and Facetime to communicate with their kin.

Digital is the present and the future. With the advent of Web 3.0 and the metaverse, senior care players will be able to provide experiences to seniors that they have never experienced before, right from the comfort of their homes. For example, seniors can travel the world through VR.

Today’s seniors have even turned influencers on Instagram, giving the younger influencers a run for their money, and raking in the moolah with brand deals and endorsements.

Digital, therefore has played the role of a great enabler, in the senior care sector.

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