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Digital Durables: What’s Ahead


reverse mortgage newsAttention spans aren’t just short these days; they’re bifurcated. Few people seem constitutionally capable of participating in one activity at a time. Just as the much-vaunted “paperless office” did not materialize with the advent of computers, all of our digital devices have spawned more busy-ness and fractured attention, rather than better focus.

Let’s say you’ve prepped extensively for an important conference call with your team. You’re ready to field tough questions about new HECM regulations, such as the Financial Assessment. But are your teleconference participants listening wholeheartedly? A recent survey by Intercall, the largest international conference call company, found that most people on teleconferences are multitasking, and, “when you zone out on conference calls, you’re participating in a national pastime, not unlike baseball,” according to an article in The Atlantic.

What are people really doing during your conference call or webinar?

  • 65% are doing other work
  • 63% are sending an email
  • 55% are eating or making food
  • 47% are going to the restroom (hopefully on mute!)
  • 44% are texting
  • 43% are checking social media
  • 25% are playing video games
  • 21% are shopping online
  • 9% are exercising
  • 6% are taking another call

Ouch. Another reason, perhaps, to hold reverse mortgage prospect and client meetings in person where possible.

Of course, older adults raised in a less distracted era may not be splitting their attention so assiduously — even though they’re embracing technology in droves, and technology is embracing them! Then again, as the aging Boomer generation is more accustomed to the digital lifestyle, they may be as easily diverted as the younger set.

So where is digital headed, and how can it help your business if you can grab people’s attention long enough? Here’s what one young CEO in the digital space sees, gazing into his crystal ball at 2015 and beyond:

  • TV is dead. When it comes to business, the wealth of on-demand programming makes the idea of waiting to watch something at a specific time so last century. Which means…
  • Brands must reinvent themselves. Commercial advertising tied to TV has no leverage. Brands need to embrace digital in order to reach consumers (as we described in this post on the power of video marketing).
  • Forecast: cloudy. Marketing “clouds” will become “immensely powerful forces in the coming trillion-dollar market of accessible advertising.”
  • Sharpen your business focus. Online identity is still clarifying, as businesses become more comfortable reaching consumers via technology. “Every advertiser will need a strategy around connecting the dots for identity,” avers this LinkedIn influencer.

As far as those conference calls go, the solution seems to be switching to webinars with compelling slides or video plus live chat/Q&A, which helps keep participants engaged. And be sure to record and email a replay link. In the distractable twenty-teens, when even people who are excited about your event may miss the initial broadcast, it’s wise to back up everything you do.


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  1. Yet the problem is not just that of attendees. Many moderators and speakers are as badly distracted as the attendees. On several occasions in recent years I have heard a speaker on a panel, react to a question as if he/she had just awoken from deep sleep in outer space. Jet lag, late night client outing, emergency back home, last minute client demands, alarming emails, hunger, any number of things can disrupt us.

    Digital is both a blessing and a curse. I knew a bookkeeper who for more than half a decade rejected the idea that hand written journals and ledgers would become obsolete. Many seniors are caught up in that same mindset when it comes to digital.

    The trouble with digital is the general lack of control in its use. We have a long way to go before we master our time using digital.

    • Hello H4Pchampion,

      You make some excellent points. While travel can indeed be enervating, presenters have a responsibility to give their best to an audience that may also have traveled, as well as paid a fee, to receive what they have to share.

      Using digital communication requires the same kind of focus and organization business people need to master for traditional communication.. And it might make a good topic for a future post. Thanks for the idea!

  2. I keep seeing articles about the confusion of R.M.s as I also keep reading about the advertisements of getting up to $625.000
    from a R. M. ,,, that and other false advertisement is a disgrace to our business and is going on unchecked ,,,when are we going to quit looking the other way ? Or are we going to wait for the CFPB TO PASS SOME MORE LAWS AND THEN CRY ABOUT IT ? my understanding ,, if a L.O. buys leads that are false or misleading they are just as guilty as the company doing the adds,,, So who is buying all theses bogus leads ?? the company that assists these lead companies are they just as guilty ? This has been going on over two years,
    The companies need to take a good look at what their promoting and put that ahead of what their getting paid for their adds before it comes back and bites them ,,,

    • Cliff,

      Since only Congress passes laws and the CFPB cannot, I am not sure what your all caps phrase is supposed to mean.

      Even now borrowers can get far more than $625,000 with a reverse mortgage. I am looking at doing an Urban Homesafe reverse mortgage for a friend in Scottsdale who has a $2.5 million home on Camelback mountain. His proceeds will be close to $720,000. So what are complaining about?

      The issue about false advertising and purchased leads has been going for at least as long as I have been in the industry which is about one month away from 10 years. There has been no recent change in the interpretation that the false advertising of an agent is the false advertising of the principal.

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