Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Time to scrap the idea of a category called technology for seniors

Technology for seniors – why have a separate category? Laurie Orlov asks this question and comes up with a few answers.

The answer I like the most (because it is the correct one) is that you abandon the idea of defining the category. There you go, job done, solved in an instant - forget all about it.

I can sense a few readers thinking - well that is just avoiding the question. Well no it isn't, it just asks a different question.

Let me explain my rationale. Firstly, who the hell is a senior? Somebody over 50, 60,  70., 80 ? There is no universal definition. On the beach this morning I watched a guy, who must have been 75, jogging at a pace I could only dream of running. I think he was wearing an Apple watch but he certainly seemed to be tech savvy. A bit later, as I was eating lunch I saw a women, probably aged 55, who could hardly manage to get up and down out of her seat and who could just about use a credit card machine. I guess both are seniors.

If we say that seniors are aged over 60 then there are going to be lots and lots of them about. Are they really going to want to have products and services and to using marketing channels that are unique to their needs? I doubt it.

So why don't we just say that we provide technology products and services that can be used by a broad spectrum of ages  - maybe we call this something original like being age-neutral. In fact we don't need to limit this thinking just to technology.

Of course there will be specialist needs that are health related. Surprisingly, many of these are also used by younger people. Loss of sight, hearing, smell, mobility, cognitive powers - these may be a lot more common in older people but not only related to them. OK, there are some products and services that are only relevant to older people (i.e financial services products and some types of housing). But it is daft to have a marketing construct based on a few exceptions.

So there you are. This is a vision of a future that will occur - without doubt. For bright companies it is one they are working on now (I know since they are working with us to delivery it).

Do read Laurie's article and think about what you mean by the Seniors' market. My bet is you don't know. Dick Stroud

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

How can the BBC get its marketing to its older viewers so wrong?

The way the BBC is funded is a throwback to another era. Only the Brits could have a system that forced everybody who has a TV to pay an annual fee to fund the channel. In an age where the difference between a TV and any other computer is zilch it beggars belief that the BBC continues with this method of funding.

Anyway, that is not the reason for this blog. If you are over the age of 75 you get to watch the TV for free. That is the rule.

The BBC is being forced to pay for all of these older people, which represents a loss of about £700 million.

So some bright spark in the BBC's marketing department has come up with the idea of having an advertising campaign to persuade the 75+ to pay the fee, even though they are legally not obliged to do so. It is a bit like asking them to contribute the money to the BBC 'charity'.

This is where the story enters the realm of fantasy. The BBC has decided to get a lot of older celebrities to make an advert saying that they are not paying the fee and suggesting that older viewers do the same thing. Of course these celebrities are the people who are paid 7 digit sums of money to work for the BBC. All of them are multi-millionaires. The people they want to dig into their pockets and pay the fee are some of the poorest members of society.

No wonder the BBC is in such a mess. Dick Stroud

Monday, February 01, 2016

Positive first step by Mercer buying the Positive Ageing Company. Now for step two?

This is interesting news: Mercer acquires the Positive Ageing Company.

The headline of the press release says that the acquisition is to help UK companies respond to challenges of ageing workforce.

It is good to see that the message is slowly getting through that companies have to come to terms with the implications of having a lot more older workers.

What is yet to dawn on 99.9% of HR managers is that they will need to re-evaluate all aspects of the working environment to enable older workers to remain productive.

Fact - most work environments are designed for people age 20-50, or there abouts. Little if any consideration is given to the impact of physiological ageing on workers and how they interact with their workplace and the tools that enable them to perform..

Kim Walker and I have been studying this area and the AF Tool we have developed enables companies to audit all aspects of where and how workers perform their job. You can see how the tool is applied to marketing and to the urban environment by downloading the free app from iTunes.

Maybe Mercer would like to talk to us about how they could use the tool in the work they expect to be doing in the ageing world? Dick Stroud