31 March 2006

Car Spots Driving in the Wrong Direction

Sometimes I just don't know what to say. That's because I've been saying the same things over and over again for close to four years.

From Brandweek:
Automakers pursuing the elusive youth demographic are chasing the wrong economic quarry, according to a study from auto industry marketing research and consultancy firm AutoPacific, which finds baby boomers have the economic means that should drive advertising efforts.

Yet, the study states that only 10% of car ads are aimed at consumers over 50, faulting an approach that seems to play down a demographic with three-quarters of the nation's financial assets and $2 trillion in disposable income annually.
Think of me as some brilliant seer. A visionary. NostraChuckus.

Or just some slob with a bit of common sense.

Take your pick. I'll be happy with any of these labels.

28 March 2006

Is Your Online Channel Boomer Friendly?

Dick Stroud, the U.K.'s 50+ marketing guru, is starting to make himself known on this side of the pond. From an article in CRMGuru.com:
The VW web site is packed full of animation and clever imagery, with lots of dynamic navigation. The site contains all the information car purchasers require-if they have the time, patience and inclination to look.

Web designers will love the site; clearly, car purchasers don't. (For some inexplicable reason, Volkswagen's European web sites are far simpler and customer-orientated.)
Mr. Stroud's newest tome is now available in the States. I predict that it will be the last great marketing book dealing with the current and growing 50+ demographic. (Trust me. I've read them all. If there's another book to be published on this subject, it will have to be beamed here from Planet Xerxes in the Ambartsumian Galaxy, and will probably take 639.43 million years to get here - and another six months to edit, proofread, and publish. So read this one.)

Dick will also be a screening judge for Mary Furlong's Boomer Venture Summit Competition this June.

4/3/06 Update: Dick is interviewed by Karen E. Klein for Businessweek. And on April 16th Dick will be the guest on Ad Age's The Advertising Show. The last time they had such an illustrious guest was back in August....

24 March 2006

At My Table at The Summit

I hosted a table at the What's Next? Boomer Business Summit's 'On the Beat' Author's Luncheon. It was fun for me, and I hope the same for my guests.

Sitting on my left was Eric Fleischer, Senior Manager, Ad Sales Research for Nick@Nite and TV Land. He'd read my book - and said he'd purchased five additional copies, doling them out to his sales reps. For some reason, I liked him.

On my right was a fascinating, brilliant character: Astro Teller. We had chatted earlier at a reception, and he'd presented that morning. I brought up some privacy issues with one of his products -- and just to goof around a bit, asked:
"So can you tell if someone is having sex?"
"…We think so."
"... Good sex?"
He smiled. Sort of like in this picture.
Astro was a good sport. BodyMedia has great products, and far be it from me to eschew clich├ęs - this medical/lifestyle company is truly cutting edge and the wave of the future.

Across from me was Julie Ruhlander of Clothing Solutions. Afterwards, I introduced her to a few folks also with companies wholly or partially targeting Baby Boomers as caregivers of their parents. Margit Novack of Moving Solutions was one - and has her company taken off! It was great to finally meet and chat with Margit.

Geoff Meredith came late, so we didn't get to huddle until the next day. His outfit is Family Virtual Visits -- pretty much self-explanatory, and a hot idea.

Also at the table: a banking executive from Canada (no surprise - at least the banking part) and a Communications executive from Wal-Mart.

Quite an eclectic group - all interested in advertising to Baby Boomers.

23 March 2006

Intrepid Reporters Brave Anaheim

The Business Forum on Aging and Mary Furlong & Associates put on quite a one-day Boomers Business Summit last week. It was packed with three-days worth of speakers and panels, so attending was a bargain.

Read Bob Moos' piece in the Dallas Morning News:
Most of the entrepreneurs at the Boomer Business Summit were boomers themselves who have decided to pursue a new passion and reinvent themselves...
The nation's burst in entrepreneurship is being driven mostly by boomers, not by 20-somethings, experts say. Boomers and older adults account for 54 percent of all self-employed workers.
Also at the Summit was Kelly Greene of the Wall Street Journal.

Luckily for me, a piece I had written for Aging Today was in the current issue, so copies were everywhere. For a few days, I was an honorary member of "The Press Corps." All thanks to Paul Kleyman, the editor (pictured).

Who knows -- with such sterling credentials, I may now qualify for a White House press pass! (Although as far as I know there are no naked pictures of me on the web - even though I'm quite the stud.)

A PDF of the article, Why Advertisers Will Stop Ignoring Aging Boomers

And my book sold very well.

More posts about the Boomer Business Summit and ASA/NCOA Conference over the next few weeks.

14 March 2006

What's Next? Boomer Business Summit

I'll be hopping off the blogging merry-go-round for a week or so to participate in Mary Furlong & Associates/BFA's Third Annual What's Next? Boomer Business Summit in Anaheim.

Jon Currie (Currie Communications) and Yours Truly will be entertaining the troops with a handpicked handful of commercials targeting Baby Boomers (Pillsbury, Stainmaster Carpet, etc). In everybody's welcome packet will be a survey. After being crunched by Currie, the results will be available to the participants.

There's also an Author's "On the Beat" Luncheon (scroll a screen or two). Some good folks have been lined up.

Although I'm not at all happy. When you register for the Summit, you pick your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for authors you'd like to sit with — and I didn't get any of my choices (Myrna Blyth, Dr. Susan Love, Brent Green). That's because the powers-that-be have insisted that I sit at my table. So ..... if you're being forced to eat lunch with me, I'll be as upset about it as you are.

Then I'll spend the next day schmoozing and doing a book signing at 2006 ASA-NCOA Joint Conference on Aging.

And for the last few days I'll be in LA mixing business with pleasure, and generally causing trouble.

Back on the merry-go-round in a week.

10 March 2006

Braving the old attitudes and being thankful for the new.

Along with some revealing numbers crunching, Matt Thornhill's Boomer Project newsletter for March features a short interview with Leonard Steinhorn about the reaction to his superlative trouble-making book, The Greater Generation (scroll down three or four screens):
"Most gratifying to me is how positive the reaction has been. I've gotten hundreds of e-mails and letters, and a good three-fourths say that the book speaks to them both culturally and personally. Some - - particularly those working in nonprofits or other social change work -- say that my book puts their lives and pursuits in a larger generational perspective, that they're not so alone in what they've done. Some -- mostly women and minorities - - share their own stories of braving the old attitudes and being thankful for the new."
Check out the book on Amazon.com — but, as Matt says:
"The only negatives we've seen about the book are postings on Amazon's site -- which read like an organized smear effort..."
I've read the book - and will put up an Amazon.com review soon.

Advertising/Marketing Article of The Month

Probably of the year:
Is Word Of Mouth All It's Cracked Up To Be?
by Jack Trout in Forbes

"How many people really want to chatter about products? Do you really want to talk about your toothpaste or your toilet paper? ..... This all brings me to my word-of-mouth on word-of-mouth marketing. It's not the next big thing. It's just another tool in your arsenal. If you have a way to get your strategy or point of difference talked about by your customers and prospects, that's terrific. It will help, but you're going to have to surround it with a lot of other effort, including, if you'll pardon the expression, advertising. You just can't buy mouths the way you can buy media. And mouths can stop talking about you in a heartbeat once something else comes along to talk about."
So what brilliant insights can I, advertising to Baby Boomers author, creative strategist, and blogger extraordinaire, add to this article?

.... Whoops. I've exposed myself. I can't think of a thing.

Update 4/4/06: Listen to Jack Trout, Steve Rubel, and others discuss WOM marketing on Jack Trout Radio.

07 March 2006

Reuters & Brandweek & Baby Boomers

Freelancer Linda Stern writes about financial matters for Reuters. She made me chuckle today when I read this juicy aside in her latest article, How to ride that aging baby-boomer wave:
"…and, of course, Ameriprise Financial (AMP), the financial services company behind those embarrassingly annoying (or is it annoyingly embarrassing?) '60s nostalgia ads."
Brandweek has a guest piece about advertising to Baby Boomers. I agree with about two, maybe three of the eleven suggestions — and I bet you can guess that the first suggestion isn't one of them. Circle 2, 8 & 10 — although I've already made these points in my book and this blog.

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01 March 2006

What kind of classic are you?

Clothing retailer, cataloger, and e-tailer (their word) Talbots has a new campaign:
The "What kind of classic are you?" TV spot seeks to connect with boomer females through a story of four women who gather for a reunion weekend to reminisce and share stories, with Talbots' wardrobes featured throughout.
I haven't seen the spots, can't read the copy on the graphic I've tossed up - but we get the general idea.

I have problems with personality profiling. (Lifestyle profiling, fine.) True or not, Baby Boomers think of themselves as individualistic folk - so if you market to them it's not wise to squeeze'em into little boxes, neatly (and presumptuously) defined.

Besides, what's Talbots selling, anyway? Clothes ..... or Baby Boomers?

You decide.

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