Article Date: 8/1/2010

Getting Through to All Ages
Contact Lens Practice Pearls

Getting Through to All Ages

BY THOMAS G. QUINN, OD, MS, FAAO

Any parent of a teenager, and anyone who's ever been a teen, knows that there are generational differences in communication. How you connect with people is largely dependent on their age.

Identify Goals, Audience

Before deciding how to reach out to any audience, clarify your message. For example, you're excited about a new multifocal contact lens and you want to share your enthusiasm with your patients.

Now that you've identified a goal, it is easy to select the target audience; in this case, those entering into or currently experiencing visual changes associated with presbyopia. More specifically, let's say we want to reach out to those 38 to 65 years old.

Demography expert Kenneth W. Gronbach says different generations seek and receive information in varying ways (Table 1). According to Gronbach, the presbyopes we want to target include both baby boomers and Generation Xers. He states that Gen Xers rarely read newspapers, a regular boomer resource, and are more comfortable with technology than their predecessors are. Fortunately, both receive information from traditional media sources such as television and direct mail, so you can reach both audiences using these resources.

The Millennials

The millennials, also known as “Generation Y,” and “echo boomers,” are the children of boomers. They are the largest consumer group, numbering 100 million Americans. Another feature of this group is their rate of consumption: more than five times that of the boomers (in adjusted dollars). Even so, they see themselves as having a social conscience. Concepts such as recycling are embraced by this group.

Millennials are multitaskers and keep in constant contact with the world around them via various social media. They are very open and see themselves as able to make a difference. They respond to an unbiased, authentic message, especially when presented by someone their own age. Use this knowledge to craft a message that will resonate with this important demographic.

The Cross-Generational Source

According to Gronbach, there is one method that allows us to share a message with all generations: direct mail. Everyone still checks the mailbox. Tailor direct mail to appeal to all groups by highlighting broad concepts and direct readers to your Web site or social media page for more information. Maybe even include a coupon. Oh, and don't forget to use recycled paper. CLS

For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document #177.


Dr. Quinn is in group practice in Athens, Ohio. He is a diplomate of the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry, an advisor to the GP Lens Institute, and an area manager for Vision Source. He has served as an advisor or consultant to Coopervision, Ciba Vision, and Vistakon and has received research funding from AMO, B&L, Ciba Vision, Coopervision, and Vistakon. You can reach him at tquinn5@columbus.rr.com.

Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: August 2010