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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What does your e-mail host say about you?

There is a very interesting article in Media Post titled: When Older Boomers Drive Away Younger Boomers.

The argument is that products that were developed or were used  by lots of older Boomers get the cachet of being 'old' and hence become a disincentive for younger Boomers. This is very much the argument that products used by the old and that get put into the pigeonhole of being 'old' will not be bought by the young. 

The main example used in the article is Hotmail. Because this service was one of the first on the block it was used by a lot of people - many have migrated to other services - but those that have stayed are thought to be the older age group - hence the brand gets old. Now, I have never thought about this and have no idea what the facts are but it seems that Microsoft (owner of Hotmail) has rebranded it as Outlook - the business e-mail client. I had just thought of Hotmail as an old product that hadn't changed.

Another way of looking at this argument is that if Hotmail had remained ahead of the curve and offered better facilitates than Gmail then it would still have all ages of users. Maybe the argument is a bit dead in the water anyway as so many young people have shifted their means of communication to Facebook and the plethora of instant messaging services.

The core conjecture is that brands should stay relevant to all ages - you cannot argue with that. I think it is done ensuring the products within the brand are relevant and competitive. Nothing new there.  

A much starker example of this issue is retirement communities that are marketed to the younger old who not surprisingly get older. This makes it much harder trying to attract people in their 70s who look at the communities and see them inhabited by wall-to-wall 80 year olds. Worth reading the article. Dick Stroud

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