May 19, 2020

What brands need to know about reaching today’s empty-nesters

Stacy DeBroff
3 min
What brands need to know about reaching today’s empty-nesters

Ready for some surprising facts about today’s empty-nesters?

  • 89% have a Facebook account
  • 72% use their Smartphone to visit social media sites
  • 9 out of 10 consider themselves “texters”

These findings, from Influence Central’s new research study in collaboration with Vibrant Nation, revealed startling new insights about this generation’s ease with online technology and social media. While empty-nesters did not grow up surrounded by electronics as Millennials did – unless you count electric typewriters – they’ve embraced the challenge and now navigate freely throughout the online world.

Turning away from traditional media

Marketers mistakenly still think of empty-nesters as the news show generation – women inspired by primetime TV spots – and still immersed in traditional media such as newspapers and magazines. Yet our survey of more than 600 women, 45 and up, reveals a vastly different reality. Nearly 70 percent of empty-nesters feel skeptical about traditional ads, with 60 percent tuning them out entirely because they don’t feel they’re accurately targeted.

Moreover, empty-nesters say traditional media no longer impacts their purchasing decisions, with only 15 percent more likely to purchase a product when it’s showcased on a favorite TV or talk show. Just 12 percent are more likely to purchase a product when it’s used in a compelling ad.

In search of online recommendations

So what does move the purchasing needle with this generation? Overwhelmingly, empty-nesters look to word-of-mouth and personal recommendations to sway their purchase path. More than 95 percent say they seek out online product reviews for feedback and first-person recommendations before they make a spend.

In addition, 80 percent of empty-nesters consider first-person recommendations online before making a purchase, and 79 percent are more likely to purchase a product if it receives a high star rating on a retail e-commerce site. Finally, 56 percent of empty-nesters say a negative online review would cause them not to visit a store or restaurant.

Moving the purchasing needle

Beyond purchase path influences, empty-nesters have even moved their consumer purchases online – with 85 percent shopping online for convenience and 64 percent making e-commerce spends from their tablets. And 44 percent of empty-nesters download coupons from their Smartphone.

The challenge for marketers

As empty-nesters demonstrate their online fluency, brands need to recalibrate their marketing strategies to reflect empty-nesters’ immersion in the online and digital world. Brands need to develop forward-thinking strategies that map to how empty-nesters act as consumers – from their adoption of the online recommendation culture to their embrace of mobile technology to their reliance on e-commerce.

Today’s empty-nesters remain strong, confident, and adventurous consumers, and brands using outdated approaches to reach them will risk losing their trust – and their purchasing dollars.

Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, is a social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling author. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. You can reach her at [email protected].


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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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