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About Dick Stroud

Dick Stroud is the founder of 20plus30, a consultancy specialising in marketing to older consumers. He is the UK’s leading expert in understanding the implications of physical ageing on the way older people behave and the products they buy.

Marketing to the Ageing Consumer
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50-Plus Marketing

News, views and opinions about the most powerful group of consumers - the 50-plus market.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Marks & Spencer's food for oldies

Wiltshire Farm Foods has pretty much got the food for oldies market sewn up. Well to be a bit more accurate, the company has focused on the home delivery aspect of its product. My guess is that the average customer is firmly at the old-old end of the market and hence home delivery becomes important.

A journalist from the Independent newspaper wrote about the company and was then contacted by Marks & Spencer to invite her to inspect their product offering aimed that older end of the market.

Like the journalist, I had no idea that M&S had such a product.

The point of telling you this is twofold. Firstly, the journalist took along her dad (80+ and a retired doctor) to have a taste and in his view the food, whilst very tasty, had too much salt.  Having had to buy low salt content food I know how difficult this can be. So, all companies intending to hit the older consumer beware that they are probably looking at both the sugar and salt content.

Secondly, well done M&S for not broadcasting the fact that this food is for oldies but I think you can take it a bit too far so that nobody knows that it exists. It is a fine line and I think you have veered on the side making the product invisible from the intended customer. Dick Stroud

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Friday, May 01, 2015

IBM and Apple to deliver iPads and custom apps for older Japanese - I have mixed feelings

It is not everyday that you read a press release from Apple proclaiming that it is working with IBM. Even less common to read that the partnership is to target older consumers (in Japan).

The objective of the partnership is to improve the quality of life of Japanese 'senior citizens' by delivering iPads with IBM-developed apps and analytics to connect seniors with services, healthcare, community and their families.

Of course it is terrific to see two mega tech companies deciding to focus on older people. But why I have mixed emotions is that it appears that both companies are putting older people in the pigeonhole marked 'to be helped'. Put it another way, it appears (and I might be totally wrong) that this venture emanates from the company's CSR department rather than Marketing.

This announcement doesn't shout to me that either companies really understands the message about the impact of population ageing and how it will impact all of their operations. Rather, they see it as a venture that is separate from the main activity.

Apple and IBM should be adapting all of their products, services and channels to respond to the effects of ageing. Sure this might mean they have special products for those older people with significant issues with using the technology.

Kim Walker and I have evaluated the customer journey related to the iPad and Apple scores very well. I think this is because of the company's obsession to detail and design rather than trying to deliver a lifetime customer experience.

So well done to both companies but I hope this is only the start and not the end of their age friendly activities. Dick Stroud

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Getting old isn’t what it used to be: What does McKinsey have to say?

The four global forces breaking all the trends is a new book about to be released that is written by three senior members of McKinsey. Here is a summary. 

Three of the forces are:

  • The age of urbanisation
  • Accelerating technological change
  • Globalisation

Let you guess what the other one is.... Of course it is population ageing.

If you are interested in this subject then there is nothing new in the arguments of the book.  The implications of these changes are immense. If you need any more evidence to get your organisation to take this subject seriously then the McKinsey book provides yet more data and arguments. Dick Stroud

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More good stuff about CX from Econsultancy - like what does it mean

In my previous blog posting I referenced Econsultancy's research about where the responsibility for CX resides within the company.

Here is some more good content from the consultancy.

Firstly, they provided a pretty good definition of what CX means - I quote: Customer experience is the sum of all the experiences a customer has with a business during their entire lifetime relationship, taking in not just the key touchpoints (product awareness, social contact, the transaction itself, post purchase feedback) but also how personal and memorable these experiences are.
Customer experience can also refer to the quality of an individual experience a customer has over the course of a single transaction.

Here is how it defined customer experience management (CEM): A strategy used to track, oversee and organise all interactions, in order to help a business focus on the needs of its customers. 
This practice is meant to ‘close the gap’ between the intended customer experience and the actual customer experience.

Finally, Econsultancy published some research about what marketers and their customers think is important about the digital experience (you will need to click on the image to read). The thing that interests me is where there is a big difference between what customers and marketers think is important. Dick Stroud

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Who is responsible for the customer journey in your organisation?

Econsultancy has conducted some great research about the organisational issues that are central to managing the customer journey.

I found this chart extremely interesting since it helps explain so much that is wrong with the way companies manage this vitally important issue.

As you can see, both the company respondents and the agencies, thought that it was primarily a digital marketing issue.

Of course the digital channel is extremely important but it is only one of the components. Now when you consider - excuse the gross generalisation  - older consumers are less likely to be using digital as much as young ones, you see the problem.

However, this does explain an awful lot since so often the customer journey is portrayed as only being about touchpoints that involve digital. Mmmmm. This is an issue that needs addressing. Dick Stroud

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