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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, December 21, 2014

Brands on the up and down for their customer experience

Marketing Week has published the top 100 brands for customer experience.

Much to my amazement the biggest jump of any brand in the ranking is by Saga’s travel division, which shot up 195 places to 28.

Apparently it has been working on making its mission statement – ‘An unforgettable holiday starts with you’ – a reality, starting with frontline sales teams. The company's director of travel sales, says: “We looked at everything, such as how we get feedback and insight from our team and customers, how we train and support our frontline teams to be the best they can be and how we were align our objectives to the delivery of that mission.”

These don't seem a bad set of principles for improving CX. You do ask yourself the question - surely you would be doing this anyway and doing it all of the time? Clearly not.

There was another quote I loved from one of the honchos at AO.com

“Internally, our phrase is treat every customer as if they were your gran. If you would do it for your gran, do it for the customer”

Not rocket science but not a bad way forward.

Improving CX is not difficult, you just have to drill down into each step of the customer journey and ensure it is fit for purpose. Of course it does help if you have a nice tool like the AF app to help. Dick Stroud

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A new source of 'extrapolations' about European population growth/decline

Wow, the "The 2015 Ageing Report", published by the EU, all 436 pages of it, is one hell of a lot of data about all the factors of ageing throughout Europe.

We are talking data forecasts (I think the word used are extrapolation).

So for instance, by 2060 Europe's largest country (GDP)  will be the UK. Germany, falls to third.

Now all of this is based on simplistic extrapolation from today's data and much of relies on the growth / decline of the population.

If you are a numbers person and want an alternative data source than the UN then you must download this report. Dick Stroud

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

The last person to ask about their finances is the individual

It does amuse me when I read research that concludes X, Y and Z having interviewed a bunch of older people about the state of the finances.

The chances are they will not have a clue about the facts and their implications and worse still don't realise how little they don't know and even worse than that will be embarrassed to admit the state of their ignorance.

I am not saying that younger people are that much better informed, if at all.

The bottom line is that the majority of people sail along in a state of blissful naivety about their finances. And of course the financial services industry like it that way and probably build their products around that assumption.

Don't believe me? Have a read of this research. Dick Stroud

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US Boomers face good or bad time (financially) in retirement - it all depends

There is a new book that tries to answer the question about the future financial well-being of US Boomers called : "The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It."

I have bought a copy and reading it will be one of the zillions of things I plan to do over the Xmas period.

The Economist has a good blog summary.

From a marketer's perspective this is a rather important subject. You have people like me preaching the importance of the older consumer but then there is another argument, very often made by me, saying that older people are going to have lots of financial hardship when they stop work.

How can both arguments be correct? Here are a few thoughts on that subject:

  • It is all relative, older consumers will have a tough time but that needs to be measured relative to the financial state of their children and grandchildren.
  • What is 'having a hard time'. Having to survive on 10% less money than when they were working or 50%?
  • When during their post work period do things deteriorate (financially) - immediately - only when they are confronted with unexpected large bills?

I can think of another ten of these question statements.

So what do we know for 'certain'? The wealthiest 10% will be an attractive group of consumers unlike their mirror image at the bottom of the wealth table.

The attractiveness of the 80% in the middle have lots of caveats attached.

My working assumption is that the group with the spending power probably extends to the top 20% and the group who will just about survive is the bottom 50%. The financial attractiveness of the remaining 30% all depends on your definition.

So, if you have any sense you will build your marketing strategies around at least two groups  -the wealthy and those surviving. Both will be attractive markets but will have totally different needs. Dick Stroud  

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

The US 'mass affluent' are older but those defining their digital financial services are young. That can cause problems.

Nielsen defines the Mass Affluent as US households with $250,000 to $1,000,000 in liquid assets - excluding real estate.

The Mass Affluent make up about 11% of U.S. households but control over a quarter of total
U.S. wealth. You get the picture, they are an attractive segment of the population for financial institutions.

Not surprisingly, this group is older, with Boomers making up 41%  of the segment and the 65+ accounting for over a third.

Putting this into context - Millennials represent 10%.

Now none will surprise you (hopefully). Nielsen then goes on to show that there are differences in the attitudes of the generations to technology. Again, not a surprise.

Older and wealthier people tend to be digitally literate. So the differences in attitude tend to be mainly about the use of platforms. Younger people are happier with mobile than older.

At the end of reading the report I was left wondering what I was supposed to do with the research findings. It is all very interesting and great for presentations but how would it impact the way I devised my digital strategy?

I think the main lesson for marketers is that it is very easy to think that the whole world has the same digital attitudes and desires as yourself. Marketers in the finance sector are likely to be in the younger group yet most of their customers are older.

As far as I can see that is about the only major lesson to learn. Dick Stroud

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