Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wait long enough and the truth will out

This article is worth reading. If you buy-in to my ideas about age-neutrality (it is called ageless in the US) then you will feel good to see that your ideas are at last becoming mainstream.

Reading the article reinforced my belief that we are always looking for some absolute truths - be it about marketing or any other discipline – when the truth always comes in multiple shades of grey (nothing to do with being old!).

Is age important or is it a burnt out old proxy that we should trash? The answer is that “it all depends”. This is something that journalists hate to hear, as do most marketers who want a subject summarized in a single PowerPoint slide.

Right now I am working in the area of physiological ageing and its impact on all of the areas of marketing. Is age important in this context – you better believe it. But, you cannot then take this conclusion and apply that to the subject of creative or channel use.

This article has some lovely quotes.

I particularly like what Matt Thornhill says:

"No traditional consumer companies have decided they want to actively market to older consumers," argues Matt Thornhill, founder of The Boomer Project, a market research company. "Most have attempted to focus on all the bad things that happen -- insurance companies, financial services... A big mistake that a lot of marketers make is that everyone over 50 is only concerned about aging. All they want to sell them are solutions to problems, but nobody aspires to that."

He is absolutely right. I have called the activity of targeting products by age and by marketing technique as “age-silo” and indeed most of the products in this category are problem solving. Maybe I should re-christen the term as “aches and pains” – be it financial, physical or mental.

I am personally very please to see that Apple is quoted as a company that has “got it”. It is not just about the company’s advertising but it is a covers almost all of the customer touchpoints. I would like to think that this was a conscious decision in the Apple boardroom but I suspect it is a bye-product of the Apple culture of extreme attention to detail and usability.

Enough of reading my blog – just read the article. Dick Stroud

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