Sunday, June 06, 2010

Generation E=Everyone

When I wanted to call my book “Age Neutral Marketing” the publisher said – 'what!' They then said – 'are you joking!' They then appreciated that I was deadly serious and thought they had better humour me and said – 'well it is an original name – let us think about it for a while.'

After an appropriate period of time, to let my ego recover, they then applied the line of logic that said – 'look, we know about the publishing industry and we have to give the book a name that people will understand within 10 seconds.' I was convinced and the title agreed – The 50-Plus Market. As a sop to make me feel a bit better we agreed the tag line – 'Why the future is Age Neutral when it comes to marketing and branding strategies.'

Well it has taken a long time for the - “I told you so moment” – but I reckon it has arrived. The next big thing that companies will have to wrap their brains about is how to cope in a world where the rusty old definitions of age segments are becoming worthless and where supposed generational differences are disappearing.

Of course at the very young and very old there are big differences. But that huge bit in the middle is beginning to merge into an amorphous blob of differing lifestyles and niche sectors, where age as a proxy for behaviour no longer works. Of course the compass of age has some uses for finding your way in the market but if you rely on it as your primary source of direction you are going to be toast.

Kim Walker’s blog
highlighted an excellent article in Adage about age-neutral marketing. You are going to see more and more.

Marketers have got to get their heads around the fact that there is going to be less and less advantage to be gained by trying to squeeze differentiation using age as a mechanism to refine the emotional glue of their brand. But, and this is a HUGE but, there will be increasing advantage in understanding the importance of physiological ageing to refine their interface with the consumer across all of the touchpoints.

Attitudes might be becoming age neutral but unfortunately, he says from bitter experience, bodies and minds are not. This is the next challenge for marketers to overcome. It is one where Kim and I beleive we can assist. Dick Stroud

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