Wednesday, January 09, 2019

If nothing else, AARP is persistent in promoting the value of the 50+

When I first became involved in the Ageing Business - a long, long time ago - AARP had been at it for years. And here they are today, still plugging away to make corporate America aware of the economic values of oldies. AARP still defines older as being those aged 50+ - that is 132 million Americans.

Let's not get sidetracked by definitions of old. My reason for writing this blog posting is to comment on AARPs recent report about how the 50+ use technology (2019 Tech and the 50+ Survey). What caught my attention was the press release about the organisation's attendance at CES 2019 where it showcasing the ' $7.6T in Annual Economic Activity for Americans aged 50+'

There is no doubt that the tech uptake amongst older consumers has increased (that's stating the obvious) but I have my doubts about AARP's forecasts for the usage levels in the older age groups - especially the 70+.

The research sample that is providing all these forecasts is 1,456 Americans aged 50+ who took part in an online survey. Now maybe the clever people at the research company made allowances for the significant numbers of older people who are not online and those with very basic digital skills. Surely, they don't believe their research sample, who is willing and capable of completing an online survey, is representative of the range of digital interests of the old age group?

So I am holding up a warning sign. The graphs are great and it contains lots and lots of numbers but you need to remember the research sample and how they were canvassed. My guess is that it over states the level of digital literacy and engagement.

Hopefully a bright spark from AARP can convince me I am wrong. Dick Stroud

Friday, January 04, 2019

Saga has another attempt to raise its sagging fortunes

Cards on the table time - I have never been a fan of Saga. I know I should have been because it is one of the few companies that targeted old consumers, but my professional dealings with the company have never been good - I haven't been impressed.

Way back in 2014 I wrote about 'the sorry saga of Saga' when its launch on the stock market was a disaster. From time to time people have asked me about the company and I have always given the same, negative response.

As you can see from the company's share price, I am not alone in being unimpressed.

As reported in Marketing Week, the company is having another go to reposition itself. Part of this is a new ad campaign (see above). This has the novel idea of instead of the customers saying how marvellous a place is you hear the comments of the locals, praising the travellers. Mmmmm, other than being 'new' and 'original' I am not sure that it will deliver the hoped for response. Time will tell.

Now for another admission. I am a customer of Saga. I use the company's car insurance. The reason being that got me onto its web site and made the product purchase so simple that it got my custom. It had nothing to do with its travel offering or its long gone association with oldies. It was the excellence of its product.

If the company is going to succeed then that will be the key. It will succeed in spite of a notional attachment to older consumers. Dick Stroud

Will people be more tech savvy in ten years time? Answer - No.

If you don't already subscribe to NN/g's newsletter. then you should.

Ever since I was first involved in 'all things internet' (a long time ago) I have followed Jakob Nielsen's writings. He was talking about UX before anybody had any idea what it was and explaining its importance to improving the CX (before anybody had coined the term).

His 2 mins of musings about our the lack of desire to remain 'tech savvy' is a must for all designers.

So many times I have heard somebody in their 30s telling me how the issue of digital literacy will end when the current crop of oldies die off.  The arrogance to think that when they are the same age that they will automatically have stayed current with tech developments is laughable.

Hopefully the use of voice and better interfaces will make it easier for everybody to use tech but at the limits of a device's functionality will always be the preserve of those willing to devote energy and time to understanding new tech ideas. That is a small (ish) group of people and will probably always be the young rather than the old.

Don't believe me? How much of the functionality available on your smartphone do you utilise? Bet it is less than 20% Dick Stroud

PS. Here is a good example of the practical advice that you get from NN/g - this is about the use of 'breadcrumbs' on computer and mobile devices.