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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The elephant in the room

Another day another Boomer conference.

This morning my inbox contained yet another press release about a “Boomer Summit”. The first few paragraphs contained the usual mandatory stuff demonstrating the importance of the older market.
Business leaders and marketers seeking baby boomer customers will discover new strategies, tactics and markets to reach the 78 million baby boomers at the What's Next Boomer Business Summit.

Baby boomers remain the most important demographic for marketers, according to a survey by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG). Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the executives rated baby boomers the most important demographic -- up from 72% last year.
With today’s economic problems I wonder if anybody really gives a damn about Boomers. They should, but I doubt if they do.

There is a fine line between becoming obsessed with the economic ills and ignoring them, or playing down, as if it were just a tiny perturbation. As I have already written, it appears that the Brits are the gloomiest bunch about the lasting impact of the downturn. If you compound that with being an instinctive pessimist then it probably explains my negative attitudes (with a capital 'N').

But, from all I have read there is only one thing of two things on the mind of companies. For the vast majority: “how to get through this messy time”. For a very few: “how to take advantage of it.” I don’t think there is much in-between.

How companies react to the older market can be pivotal in both of these strategies. Elephants are delightful creatures until they inadvertently stand on your head. My clients are only concerned with avoiding a headache – I cannot believe they are alone. Dick Stroud

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