Emily Runyon

DRAGON: Divorced, Rich, Aged 65+, Overseas traveler, Networker

If you were to ask an aging services provider what his or her ideal potential resident looks like, you’d find many different definitions. In most cases, leads are qualified based upon income-producing assets, home value and, perhaps, some additional savings and/or investments. These people are ideal leads because they meet all of the financial criteria for moving into a community.

For this reason, they are prized candidates, often being competed over by several different aging services organizations. From the point of view of prospective residents, they are evaluating the amenities and floor plans that communities offer. But, at the end of the day, the biggest determining factor for choosing a community is culture. This is where understanding the DRAGON can help you convert those high-quality leads into residents.

The idea of the DRAGON coalesced around 2014, as marketers began to identify trends in the Baby Boomer demographic. For retirement communities, DRAGONS are ideals candidates because of their demographic profiles. They are wealthy, usually working with two retirement incomes. Being aged 65+, they meet the age requirements for community entry. As frequent travelers, they like the maintenance-free lifestyle that many campuses offer and, for the same reason, are less reliant year-round on on-campus amenities, such as restaurants, wellness centers and programming. Last, as natural networkers, they become excellent word-of-mouth marketers for your organization and can sing your praises to their friends and family, who may also fit the DRAGON demographic.

Identifying DRAGONs, and understanding why they are especially important leads for retirement communities, is just the start. How do you win them over and make them choose your community over all of the other options? The answer is simple — culture. As noted earlier, individuals make their retirement choices based heavily on the culture and feel of a community. Making your community physically appealing to DRAGONs is the first step. The harder step is getting the culture right. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes and look at what might be appealing to DRAGONs.

First, they may look to more open and accepting cultures, especially in light of being divorced. Obviously, the community needs to be well-appointed and include many options and amenities. These work best in a community atmosphere where DRAGONs can spend time with friends and neighbors, where their natural networking talent shines. As travelers, they desire easy access to transportation, whether that is a train station or airport (but probably both!). Obviously, issues like location and access to transportation aren’t easily addressed by providers. In those cases, organizations should be ready to demonstrate what kind of accommodations they can make to ensure DRAGON needs are met, or alternatives offered that may better suit their lifestyle.

Take a few moments to put yourself in the shoes of a DRAGON and look at your community through his or her eyes. By doing so, you might be able to adjust your sales & marketing strategies, even if only slightly, to make a big difference in your appeal.