11 January 2007

PrimeTime Women by Marti Barletta

"With wit and wisdom, Barletta has pulled off the seemingly impossible: made the prospect of becoming an 'older' woman sound like fun. Marketers, take note: a horde of Prime Time Babes, with passion, power, and bulging pocketbooks, is heading your way." — Linda Tischler, Senior Writer, Fast Company
You'll be reading scores more enthusiastic reviews of Marti Barletta's PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds, and Business of Boomer Big Spenders over the next few months. They'll equal or surpass the ones for her seminal tome Marketing to Women.

Let me first sneak this in: Two and a half years ago, when I signed a contract to write Advertising to Baby Boomers, I froze for a few days. Do I approach this using my 'voice' - the one I've been writing with for most of my adult life - or do I put on a three-piece suit (not that I own one) and attack it as if it were your generic, staid, compose-by-numbers business book? Luckily for me, I had just bought Marketing to Women - and Ms. Barletta's casual, accessible 'voice' seduced me - freeing me to write in my own voice. Thanks, Marti.

PrimeTime Women
is a breeze to read. It's like sitting around with Ms. Barletta, chatting. And in the room are dozens of fascinating, ready-to-rumble women, chiming in every so often.

The overarching theme of PrimeTime Women really isn't the money they control - it's the fact that they are taking control of their lives. This is a phenomenon unique to Baby Boomers (and a bit older). After fifty is better than before fifty. There has always been a small percentage of women who bloomed in their later years. For Boomers it's become a generational ethos.

I've talked about this in my book (and there's more about it in the 2nd Edition - due out in a few months), in my blog, in articles. So have others. But Ms. Barletta elegantly unpacks this sociological phenomenon. She's done it better than any of us. As far as the 'phenomenon' - personally, I love it. Part of the legacy of Baby Boomer women will be passing on this ethos to younger generations.

From the wonderful world of advertising, a good example of this is the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. I've blogged about it. Ms. Barletta dives into it and shows you how and why it works.

The second part of the book is nuts 'n bolts. I was swept away by many of her "word-of-mouth" marketing paradigms. She eschews the cheesy WOM tactics so often used today in favor of real, truly inspired marketing/PR/promotional techniques.

There are hundreds of great quotes in PrimeTime Women (read it with your yellow highlighter handy) - but if I had to pick my favorite:

PrimeTimers are not compelled to make social statements by their brand choices, and PrimeTime Women are no longer controlled by the need to have perfect looks and perfect behavior … Looking for the long-submerged "secret self" is also about listening to one's own counsel rather than listening to others. PrimeTimers are more individuated, more autonomous, and less influenced by peers and celebrity endorsements.
The takeaway for me: I learned a ton, enjoyed the experience of hanging around a bunch of intelligent, creative, energetic, forward-thinking women. Even a few creative sparks went off as I read - ad concepts for my clients.

I can honestly say that from cover to cover, I agree with ninety-five percent of what's in PrimeTime Women. And that's quite amazing if you think about it. What book do you agree with one-hundred percent, believe that it's one-hundred percent true? (Jerry Falwell, don't answer that.)

Marti Barletta, DDB, and all the PrimeTimer contributors: Thanks for this book.

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