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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Sometimes the biggest firms lose interest in older adults almost immediately. Why

Laurie Orlov raises the issue of the way some large companies have a surge of interest in the older consumer that then ebbs away as fast as arrived. She gives some good examples about Amazon (with Amazon 50+), Microsoft (with Kinect) and Verizon (lots of micro-attempts to enter the market).

It is not just digital related companies that go through this hot and cold relationship with the ageing business.

Unfortunately, I have seen it happen all too often. Here are the reasons that I think it occurs:

Reason 1. A senior manager 'gets ageing' and kicks off lots of activity that ends as soon as they move job or lose interest.

Reason 2. Something more important turns up. It is always possible to put of doing anything about ageing until tomorrow. Of course tomorrow never comes and what was a short delay becomes permanent.

Reason 3. It is more complicated than they thought. What could be simpler than having a large group of older consumers with lots of money that are bound to purchase whatever we produce. Of course it is never as simple as that and soon as the difficulties start then management focus move onto the next 'big thing'.

Reason 4. Middle management have too much to do. A senior manager sees the light and fires off a string of activities for their middle management to achieve. These people already are working at the limit and the new ageing activity is slowly (sometimes quickly) buried.

Reason 5. Conflict between senior and middle management. The engine room of the marketing group are instructed to get into the ageing business. This takes them well outside their comfort zone so one way or another they make the venture fail.

There are another 5 subsidiary reasons for failure in making ventures into the ageing business work, but these five account for 80%+ of the failures. Dick Stroud

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