Bridging the Engagement Gap – Using Print to Reach Age-Specific Audiences

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    There’s no arguing that we now exist in what many have called a social and digital economy and that it is here to stay.[i] From tablets to mobile joomla_4ices just about every product and service is connected in some way to the digital world with each aspect of our lives experiencing the impact of technology. Because of this, most companies have either established a strong foothold in this space, or they are continually experimenting to find the right way to connect with customers. However, many still struggle to align continual innovation and consistent product Development around consumer adoption of new technologies (think of the app that allows us to close the garage door from a remote location). As sexy as technology is, the answer may lie in a more tried approach.

    While social (and digital) adoption rates continue to increase (see: How Digital Behavior Differs Among Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers), many companies and organizations are still left with the daunting task of bridging the gap between their drive to innovate and stay in front of a younger, more intuitive consumer base, without leaving existing customers who did not grow up with cell phones, microwaves, cable television or even computers.  Enter print.

    According to Raphael Heaggans of Niagara University, the challenge is often associated with learning styles. “Older adults have special learning needs that differ from younger adults when it comes to technology. Younger adults have not lived life without technology whereas older adults were introduced to it and are challenged to learn it.” There’s also the challenge of how technology (and techno-drive products) or introduced to consumers – sometimes via the television or the web, which assumes targeted consumers have level of comfort with technology. “Technology is not necessarily presented as a form of experiential learning that is based on the older adults’ experience thus making learning technology less embraceable.”[ii]

    So what can a company, university or any entity do about it conquering the engagement divide? One way to bridge this gap is to produce simple and accessible instructions in a way that many adults are accustomed to learning and digesting information…in print. By using simple graphics and step-by-step instructions, organizations can provide a safe approach for consumers and members of their communities that may not necessarily be as digitally intuitive as other segments of their markets. While it does involve additional creative, and in some cases a baseline understanding of how to present instructional material, it can often mean the difference between positive customer experience and frustration and abandonment.

    The image above is an example of how a step-by-step approach to presenting information in a familiar format aims to assist a segment of the organization’s population that can benefit from a new app. The myPennMedicine app allows users to access online medical records from Android and iPhone joomla_4ices. While it does assume some knowledge of its user-base, the card and content are simple, accessible and clearly written. There’s also a phone number which would require (dare we say it!) a phone call.

    In the age of technological explosion, it is important not to overlook simple yet important factors facing engagement. This includes learning style, age-of-audience and preferred method of communication. In some cases, printed instructions that walk users through new digital offerings is a great way for customers and prospects alike to feel engaged.





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