21 December 2007

Green Boomers

An interesting study by Focalyst/AARP has been released. Much is the same old, same old – but some is good, new stuff:
40 Million ‘Green Boomers’ In U.S.
Forty million boomers use their purchasing power to buy environmentally safe brands, according to a survey from AARP Services and Focalyst.
The same old, same old:
Green boomers are more attuned to advertising, both positively and negatively. They pay attention to ads for products they plan to buy, but are more critical and therefore are more likely to believe there is not much truth in advertising. They also wish that advertising included more real product information to help make decisions.
How long have I been saying that? I wrote articles about it four years ago, must have posted about it here twenty times over the last 2½ years, usually spend a good ten minutes on it during my presentations – and this info is in both editions of my book, first published almost three years ago.

Brent Green also has been writing about it for years. (He’s really Mr. “Green Boomer” and knows more about it than I do.)

Green boomers are watching less television, but are spending more time with print media, such as reading newspapers, magazines and books (95 minutes vs. 78 minutes per day).
Again, I’ve talked about this until green in the face. For years. Print is still a powerful media for advertising to Baby Boomers.

But this did surprise me:

Boomers with annual incomes of less than $50,000 are more “green” than boomers with incomes of over $150,000 (57% vs. 50%).

I guess those former yuppies (now called oupies: old urban professionals) do drive around in big SUVs, fill them up with pallets of plastic-bottled water from box stores, and haul them back to their McMansions where the monthly utility bills must be in the low four figures.

Then factor in the tens of millions of Boomers who kept their ideals through the 1960s to the present, eschewed the big bucks, became teachers, employees of government agencies, opened up low-profit socially-conscience businesses, etc. A highly educated bunch.

So it makes sense.

13 December 2007

The Commercialization of The Sixties

I really wasn't going to bring attention to this piece in The New York Times since I’ve blogged about the subject ad nauseam here and here and here and here and here. And I talk about it in my book, during my presentations. I'm not sure if I'm sicker of hearing about the subject - or hearing myself bloviate about it.

And I think I've even said that already. I'm sick of saying I'm sick of it.

But I stumbled upon Zac Bissonnette's take on it all at Bloggingstocks.com. He's one smart fellow:

Is the commercialization of the sixties something to mourn?

Should the baby boomers -- or at least those who were part of this movement -- be upset? I think so. What was supposed to be a powerful force for change has been reduced to nostalgia -- in the middle of a war in Iraq that bears striking similarities to the one hippies worked so hard to end. It's as if corporate America has forgotten the substance of the message and used the pretty flowers to sell insurance ... what's really happened is that the controversial elements are now long and forgotten, and we're left with what is essentially a sanitized white bread version of a movement that was supposed to go against all that.
Unless a flake or two in every box of Total has a dollop of Owsley's best on it, I'm not buyin' into any of this nonsense.

08 December 2007

The Jitterbug Phone

I've already passed along an odd story about the Jitterbug phone (or at least about their PR and marketing). Now the product is getting some press.

Will Baby Boomers scarf down Jitterbugs? I doubt it - although there are markets for a simple, easy-to-handle, easy-to-figure-out phone.

My assessment (and being the muddle-headed, evil moral-relativist I am, the good and the bad aren't mutually exclusive):

The Good

  1. Those numbers and buttons are big - I can see them.
  2. I like the padding. Makes it easy to hear.
  3. It's comfy to hold. Like a real phone. Not like a lumpy Lego.
  4. Some people just want a phone.

The Bad

  1. Those numbers and buttons are big - like a toy phone.
  2. Boomers are tech-savvy, demand choices. Just because you don't text or maybe enjoy getting away from email and the the web while out and about doesn't mean you don't want those options.
  3. No pictures or video? How will you instantly see your granddaughter smiling at you? Or watch your grandson actually splashing around in the bathtub almost live, sort of like 'instant replay'? Or ogle a video from your friend you're jealous of because she's at a concert you're not because the tickets were $250 a pop - and there is that old rock group, right on stage, banging guitars, screaming into microphones, long silver hair wagging away? I'll sound like a Hallmark Card here - but these are moments to cherish …
  4. The calling plans are expensive and cheesy.

The real issue: Marketers assuming that if you're over fifty you're automatically a member of one and only one age demographic - all with the same needs and wants.* While some Boomers will like the Jitterbug, most will turn their noses up at this product.

However, a lot of Boomers are pivot-spenders. They might buy Jitterbugs for their less tech-obsessed parents. And how about a Jitterbug for that three-to-ten year old grandchild? A one-button direct line to GrandBooma and GrandBoompa? Then, who knows - after playing with it a bit they might like it and buy one for themselves.

Or simply position it as ... a phone. For anybody of any age who just wants, oddly enough, a phone.

What'll happen unless the Jitterbug folks get wise: The Jitterbug concept will influence other cell phone manufacturers and service providers. Easy-to-read, easy-to-manipulate phones will be developed - but with more features. And the Jitterbug will go the way of … well … the Jitterbug.

Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. - Albert Einstein

* And what do you do when the usually perceptive and entertaining David Pogue of The New York Times does even worse, referring to "the over-40 set" as if we're all the same, calling us "technophobic old people"? No wonder most marketers and advertisers are clueless.
More posts about the Jitterbug Phone:

NostraChuckus Predicts The Future

My Blog Was WOMMed!

01 December 2007

The Same Old, Same Old Redux

As usual, nothing new in the news about marketing to Baby Boomers:
Tech giants target older buyers - and their cash
"Today's older generation is primed to buy and consume new technologies like no previous group of seniors," says David Kelly, president of technology research company Upside Research.
What fresh insight. Here's the pull-quote on the cover of the 1st edition of my book:

That's from late 2004.

Even my friend Matt, quoted in the USA Today piece, must be getting tired of saying:
"Any company wanting to grow their business in the next 10 years better have a strategy for marketing to those 50-plus," warns Matt Thornhill, founder of baby-boomer-focused market research company Boomer Project.
In 2005 I was a guest on The Advertising Show. You can listen to it - although it's pretty long. What's funny is that someone was on recently and simply repeated everything I said - as if it were all new stuff discovered by his company.

Merely the same old, same old - over and over again.

It's time to move on from the Why to the How. That's what I focus on in my presentations, consulting work - and the revised edition of the book.