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Marketing Minute: Smartphone Seniors

Smartphone Use by AgeEvery morning my 60-year-old father gets up at 5 a.m. Throughout my childhood, I would wake to the sounds of the morning ag show on television. Tidbits about the fat cattle market and the grain trade would filter under my bedroom door, but now the house is practically silent. A faint glow illuminates my parents' living room and a few tap, tap, taps can be heard.

My father has entered the world of smartphones. His big, callused fingers somehow navigate apps like Facebook, CropLife, The Weather Channel and the American Angus Association mobile site. He checks wheat prices, studies the 10-day forecast and scrolls through his Facebook newsfeed before the sun comes up. When I visit home these days, I have to laugh when I see how attached he is to his phone.

Most of us associate the Internet, social media and smartphone use with a younger generation. And while studies show us that the majority of smartphone users are those in the 18- to 34-year-old category, seniors quickly are catching up.

According to ComScore, a leading mobile analytics company, as of March 2015, 49 percent of those 65 and older are using smartphones, an increase of 12 percent from March 2014. For individuals in the 55- to 64-year-old category, the numbers are even more impressive with 64 percent of that age group using smartphones.

Now let’s talk farming. The average age of U.S. farmers is 58 years old. While the average age of farmers is steadily climbing, so is the percentage of smartphone users in that same age category.

Our customers are searching for NDSU’s research and educational resources, information and events online and on their mobile devices. They are Googling phrases like, “how to test for soybean cyst nematodes” or “best ration for weaned calves.”

We need to make sure our information is accessible to those searching for it. Publishing research on our Web pages, sharing information on our social media sites and sending out an email newsletter (like the one you’re reading now) are all ways to connect and engage with our customers digitally.

Not only are the younger generations on their phones looking for information, but so are older generations. Let’s make sure we are providing the research and education they are seeking.

, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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