29 March 2008

FH Boom and Natural Marketing Institute Survey

FH Boom and The Natural Marketing Institute have come out with a survey:
NEW STUDY PROVIDES FIRST GLIMPSE OF BOOMERS AT 70: From Revolutionaries to "Retrolutionaries" by 2016

A new study of 1,100 Baby Boomers released yesterday by FH Boom and NMI gives marketers new insight into the Boomer consumer at age 70.

In brief, today's Baby Boomers predict that when they turn 70:

* 74% still won't be describing themselves as old
* 86% will be more practical and pragmatic in their purchases, and much less concerned about trendiness and indulgences
* 76% will be using technology to stay connected with family and friends
* 93% will have more time to do things like travel, dine out and pursue hobbies
* 63% will be making some kind of move, but only nine percent of Boomers now in their 50's or older imagine themselves at 70 still in search of "the dream home"
Deeper into the survey/press release there's some old stuff, some new stuff, some obvious stuff, some common sense stuff. For example, I've been talking about practical, comfortable, easy-to-use cars for years. (I'd make you listen to a radio interview from 2005 where I go on and on about this - but it's an eighty-minute MP3 and my worst enemy shouldn't be subjected to such torture.)

Now for the sort-of controversy: Matt Thornhill of the Boomer Project wasn't too thrilled with the survey.

For transparency, let me reveal that I have no actual business relationship with FH BOOM or The Boomer Project - but I know Matt and his work and admire it - and Carol Orsborn and Yours Truly (along with Brent Green) travelled to Europe recently for a two-week speaking/consulting tour. We've stayed good friends and I consider Carol one of my top business contacts.

So what do I think of this survey? I do agree a bit with Matt. Meaning - the way the survey has been positioned for uptake is silly. Except for NostraChuckus - nobody can predict the future.

And for various reasons Baby Boomers are not following many conventional wisdom rules for aging. Predicting what they'll be doing (or thinking) in ten or twenty years would be, at best, a guess. At worst, complete fantasy.

But the survey has some revealing and valuable information. It's what Baby Boomers think they'll be doing in the future - not necessarily what they will be doing. A few of the survey points might end up being spot on. With a few, the participants might be deluding themselves.

The Good News: This survey is not 'new insight' into Baby Boomers at 70 - but juicy insight into Baby Boomers today. What they think they'll be doing in ten or twenty years could be helpful in marketing and advertising to them now.

But as some guide for laying the groundwork for targeting this unwieldy, diverse group in ten or fifteen years? That's wishful thinking.

Even the most famous futurists are usually wrong. They make ten predictions, one or two come true eventually - and the rest are forgotten. Down the line, their PR only mentions when they were correct.

As far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong or amiss with the questions, answers, or crunching in this survey. However, FH BOOM/NMI should have positioned it as helpful data for today - not as a crystal ball.

Read Carol Orsborn's blog posting.

Download the press release PDF.

25 March 2008

You'll Make Even More Money

Scott Rains scrawled this on my ‘wall’ at Facebook:
I just wrote to a list on disability rights something that reminds me of our conversations:

Our campaign for social inclusion is like the waves sculpting the shoreline and a ship moving forward under their power. The barriers left for us to wear down - forty years after first stirring up the waters with the modern Disability Rights Movement - are rocky, resistant, and dangerous to navigate. That is why we have enlisted the captains of industry and alerted them that the remaining threats to our passage to freedom threaten to sink their own ships as well. When they see people with disabilities as risks of lawsuits over the barriers threatening us they confuse the messenger with the message. Businesses who create, or delay in removing, those barriers will be run aground against them by the tsunami of Baby Boomers who will be the greatest business opportunity of a generation - the same generation whose impatience with injustice launched the Disability Rights Movement.
And a few other movements as well.

Scott understands that this isn’t all altruistic stuff. It’s simply good business. Even if you're in your fifties, sixties, seventies, or beyond - and with no disabilities - it's nice not to have to go through too much hell when you're out and about.

Repeating: Say to the powers-that-be, “Retrofit your restaurants, hotels, stores, and any place where people need to physically negotiate, and you’ll be prepared to do business with ‘the tsunami of Baby Boomers’ willing to spend their trillions of dollars around the world. You'll make even more money.”

23 March 2008

You Can't Fool Mother Nature. Or Chuck.

How could my silly ego not blog this:

Guess Which Photo Was Retouched?

Read through the comments at Richard Rosenthal's [freaking marketing] Blog.

And visit Amy Dresser's site. We've all seen her work. It's great.

20 March 2008

Fun Only

I've been hanging around the web for an eternity. At least it seems so. Since 1994.

In 1995 I was tossing up web pages. In 1996 I was asked to join a community where we all wrote blogs before they were called blogs. Click the thumbnails on the right.

At the time it was a hobby, my biz life being advertising. In 2003 I combined the two - leaving the pure Boomer stuff behind. In 2005 I switched platforms, setting up a standard business blog. And wrote a book.

Sometimes I miss simply pointing people to web sites of interest. So for a change this post is a bit of what I did in the olden days:

The Boomer Capsule is worth a click. There are a bunch of fun flash slide shows, commemorating the years we've lived. At the moment The Boomer Capsule is pure surface. My guess is that it'll go deep soon. Check back in a month or two.

The best place for music: Wolfgang's Vault.

There's been a site up ever since I can remember: HowStuffWorks. I've meandered over there hundreds of times whenever I'm curious about the innards and workings of just about anything in the universe. I chuckled when finding this topic: How Baby Boomers Work. Are we spring-loaded? Affected by the tides? Need batteries?

Mark Middleton and Bill Shafer are finally out of the gate and racing around the track like manic horses in a Tex Avery cartoon. Good for them.

You'll unearth video, radio, all sorts of nuggets at GrowingBolder.com. And some serious pieces. It's a carnival of media - like a web site should be. (And bringing it back to business for a second - you'll also find a few marketing/advertising related Growing Bolder Radio interviews with Marti Barletta and guess who.)

I'll do my best to write about "fun only" sites more often.

14 March 2008

ING's "Your Number"

I've always liked the clever ING bench ads. Sometimes they went a bit too far, tried to be too cute – but overall a top-notch campaign.

Their new campaign gives me the heebie-jeebies. It’s pod-people ostentatiously (or obliviously) carrying around large orange numbers signifying what they might need to retire.

First of all, are Baby Boomers retiring? Some are – but most will keep on working and contributing to society. So there really isn’t a Your Number.

The web site is truly yucky. Not only a pain to use (pure flash), it’s slickly condescending. Again – a couple of pod people walk in and start talking at me without my permission (I hate that). The guy stumbles around with his hands in his pockets waiting for me as I stumble around trying to figure out what the hell he wants me to do. It turns out to be not much, really. I’m supposed to type in a few meaningless numbers, answer a few questions. Pretty silly.

And if you click around – all that tiny, wishy-washy, white copy on orange background. (And it's all centered - a huge no-no.) Is it possible to make it any more difficult to read?
The New York Times has a take on it all:

Will baby boomers feel shackled to a bright orange number, dollar sign in front, that represents the often-stressful concept of how hard they must work to maintain their lifestyle in old age? When people watch an older couple tuck themselves into bed with the orange number between them, will they view it as a ball and chain between the sheets?
So does Zac Bissonnette:

I just wonder whether the old financial planning models for baby boomer retirement will work. I can comfortably say that none of the baby boomers I know are planning to retire in the conventional way that their parents did -- golf in Florida. My mother tells me frequently that she plans to work in some capacity for her entire life, and I think many of her contemporaries will do the same, by choice. This is the generation that brought us Woodstock, and I would expect that many will "retire" from their careers to pursue part-time work with a socially-conscious edge. If ballroom dancing and big bands were nostalgic for their parents, this generation may be more inclined toward activism and community service.

12 March 2008

NAAS Selects Advertising to Baby Boomers

The National Academy on an Aging Society has selected Advertising to Baby Boomers as a marketing and advertising resource for its organization and members.

Also on the list (scroll to bottom):

Brent Green's Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers
David Wolfe's Ageless Marketing
Dick Stroud's The 50-Plus Market
Mary Brown/Carol Orsborn's BOOM

06 March 2008


Here's something I've been hearing about for awhile - but only in whispers. And it was strange hearing names like Mary Wells, Lesley Stahl, and Liz Smith as wisps, as vapor. Finally - the real virtual thing:
Boldface in Cyberspace: It's a Woman's Domain

The site's five founders, also women of a certain age, are longtime friends and media live-wires: Ms. Evans, formerly the president of Simon & Schuster and an ex-publisher at Random House; Ms. Smith, the gossip columnist; Mary Wells, the advertising executive behind memorable campaigns like "I Love New York"; Peggy Noonan, the political columnist and former presidential speechwriter; and Lesley Stahl, the television news reporter.
But there was no hint (at least for me) of this:
In addition, the founders have signed up some boldface friends to contribute to the site, including Ms. (Candice) Bergen, Joan Juliet Buck, Whoopi Goldberg, Marlo Thomas, Lily Tomlin, Joan Cooney, Judith Martin, Sheila Nevins, Julia Reed and Jane Wagner.
I have no comments about this. Haven't seen it, I'm not the target market. I'll just say it's great that Mary Wells Lawrence is all over it. She's a heroine of mine. I talk about her in my presentations, and often show a famous spot or two that she produced:

Visit wowowow.com.

02 March 2008

BRAND BUSTERS by Chris Wirthwein

Authors send me books to review. I'm on the lists of a few publicity outfits. Here's the last one they sent me. Every so often my publisher mails me their authors' offerings. If I like them, I blog them.

A new peppy palomino in the Paramount stable is Chris Wirthwein:
Brand Busters: 7 Common Mistakes Marketers Make
No matter how good a marketer you are, it is easy to slide into behaviors that ultimately make your marketing less effective. Chris Wirthwein has identified the seven most common mistakes made by marketers of technical and scientific products and he explains how to avoid them. With wit and passion, he helps you learn how to overcome the mistakes of marketers of technical and scientific products and how you can learn from these mistakes no matter what kind of product or service you are offering. You learn how to avoid the mistakes and get on with efficient marketing and advertising.
What's fascinating about Mr. Wirthwein is that he comes from the world of B2B scientific and technical advertising/marketing. We don't hear from too many people with his background and expertise - and there are lessons to be learned. (Seven, he says - but there are actually dozens.)

I'm a sucker for anybody steeped in the history of advertising, and Chris liberally quotes Claude Hopkins, Rosser Reeves, David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, and others.

Not to put you off - but this marketing guru also draws inspiration from Shakespeare, Maslow, and a few hoity-toity folks I'd never heard of.

The best part: Chris Wirthwein is a top-notch writer. He knows how to tell stories, keep you engaged - rare for a business book. The last one I read that was as well written is already becoming a classic.

And Chris can be quite entertaining. His take on ROI dogma is just short of hysterical, referring to it as Return On Illusion. I may steal that.

Brand Busters will be around for quite some time. Probably longer than most - since it's been selected as a Classroom Resource by The Advertising Educational Foundation.

Take a peek at the back cover blurbs.

You can purchase Brand Busters directly from the publisher or on Amazon.com.

And if you do - sit back, crack the cover, and click here for the full-blown Wirthwein Multimedia Spectacular.