25 April 2011

Virtual Professor Chuck Redux

From January 2010:

Virtual Professor Chuck
imageIt all started around 1999 when I was writing on the web about Baby Boomers.  My articles were getting hits from a University of Southern California intranet site.  I thought for sure that some professor of English or Literature or an artsy subject like that had made my online scribblings mandatory reading. 

Then I found out the truth: the course was about Gerontology.

Skip ahead a few years, and yours truly pens a book about advertising to baby boomers.  I was floored when it was selected as a Classroom Resource by The Advertising Educational Foundation.  I still get emails from students and professors around the world.  The book is in the libraries of many colleges and universities.

Now I’m ‘teaching’ another course. Or to be more specific,  students have the option of putting up with the meanderings of a doddering non-academic, Virtual Professor Chuck:

Interdisciplinary Center on Aging
imageEstablished in 2009, the California State University, Chico (CSU, Chico) Interdisciplinary Center on Aging (ICOA) is conceptualized to fulfill the ever-growing aging needs of Northern California.

Recommended Links
2010 Review: National & International Marketing/Advertising To Baby Boomers
Click here to watch the video.

I need to buy a ruler for rapping knuckles.

20 April 2011

Just A Few Gazillion Dollars

I was reading a review of Paul Allen’s memoir:

imageThe Reclusive Other Half of Microsoft’s Odd Couple Breaks His Silence
By Janet Maslin
… It is primarily a book about the advance of technology, and about Mr. Allen’s truly forward-thinking, sometimes staggeringly important innovations…

imageI’ve lived in the Seattle area for more than a decade, have friends (even a relative) working at Microsoft, had a very (very) minor role in Experience Music Project when it opened – so I know something about Mr. Allan.  (My brother once played drums with guitarist Paul – a funny story only the sibling can tell.)

More from the NYT review:

imageHe and Mr. Gates were present for the birth of the desktop personal computer … Now, he says, “here’s what the death knell for the personal computer will sound like: ‘Mainly I use my phone/pad, but I still use my PC to write long e-mails and documents.’ Most people aren’t there yet, but that’s where we’re headed.”

That sounds familiar:

Foretellings (May 2010)
With the exception of the workplace, smartphones (along with iPads and Kindles or something like them) might just make desktops and laptops and the web as we know it obsolete.  If ‘being connected’ mostly means communicating with friends, doing simple search, reading the news - then all that’s really needed is a smartphone.

It’s nice to know that the only thing that separates Yours Truly and Mr. Allan is just a few gazillion dollars.

18 April 2011

The Flat-Screen Rectangle of Common Sense

imageCommon sense seems to kick in by necessity.  It’s rarely around in the beginning:

Television Still Shines

Television Still Shines Redux

Snake Oil In Cyberspace

The Crystal Ball of Common Sense Goes Viral

I do find it ironic that TV ad revenue is “recovering”:

TV Upfront Predicted To Hit $10B, Broadcast, Cable See Double-Digit Rises
For the first time in many years, broadcast networks' overall ad volume during the upcoming upfront market will grow strongly to over $10 billion, according to one media analyst -- as well as averaging double-digit percent gains…

imageHere’s what really cracks me up:

TV Market is Robust, but the Internet May Be a Reason
TV is apparently roaring, at least according to one analyst’s report Tuesday forecasting a healthy upfront market. One reason: a certain synergy has developed, where TV brand-building is driving Internet deep-diving…

Sounds vaguely familiar…

imageFor the umpteenth time - The Most Effective Marketing/Advertising Model For Reaching Baby Boomers: What is now called traditional advertising pushing you to an age-friendly, informative product/services web site.

15 April 2011

Turkey: Tiptoeing Across The Bosphorus

imageI do my best to keep this blog apolitical and focused on international advertising and marketing to Baby Boomers. A warning: I’ll be tiptoeing across The Bosphorus with this one.

A year ago I was in Istanbul, heading up a day-long marketing/advertising workshop:

Back from Istanbul.
There are 15 million people living in Istanbul – and I think I saw all of them.  And I met about two dozen of the brightest.

Back From Istanbul: Part Two

Back From Istanbul: Part Three

Back From Istanbul: Part Four

Months later:

Turkey: A Bright Star In The Region
The EU: Many European countries want Turkey to join because it’s an economic, political, and cultural powerhouse.  Many European countries do not want Turkey to join because it’s an economic, political, and cultural powerhouse.

Now we have upheavals in the Middle East.  While not perfect, while there are political and cultural divisions in Turkey that mirror our own and other countries – the Turkish economic/political model is a valid one for Middle Eastern countries to consider. 

NPR recently ran a profile of Turkey.  It’s worth ten minutes of your time:

Turkish Democracy: A Model For Other Countries?

I’ll shut up now before I get into any more trouble.

12 April 2011

Financial Planning: Meet Carol Seven Years Later

After seeing investments yo-yo a few years ago, lots of people are being cautious.  They’re scared:

Advisers' advising, but boomers not buying
imageClients not interested in re-balancing, saving more or devising a financial game plan, survey finds
…Only 5% of boomers have formalized a written retirement plan, even though about half of the surveyed advisers said they suggested the idea to clients…

Before the yo-yoing, way back in 2004, Fidelity Investments had a spot targeting women.  Brent Green dissected it:

A Heroine For Our Time
Meet Carol...
Cancer Patient
Cancer Survivor
And soon to be world traveler.

Sure, Carol is a composite success story.  There aren’t too many Carols in the real world.  That’s advertising – chunks of truth awash in aspiration.

But I remember thinking: It’s a bit early for this. Fidelity might be too ahead of the curve.  I wasn’t predicting the recession – just wondering if Baby Boomer women were ready to deal with their financial futures. The median age at the time was late forties, early fifties.    

The time has come.  Financial security is on the minds of many women in their late fifties, sixties:

More unmarried couples living together in retirement
image…More than 7.5 million couples live together without tying the knot, and that number is growing. It may appear to be a simple arrangement, but can be full of complexities when it comes to money and financial planning…

While the number of couples living together has doubled over the last decade, there are very few legal and financial protections for them. So financial advisers recommend that unmarried partners build their own safety nets.

imageThe Crystal Ball of Common Sense’s Prediction: Some smart financial planning company will figure out that there is a huge opportunity available: Targeting Baby Boomer women. 

07 April 2011

Here’s a big surprise…

Wow.  For 500 bucks you can find out about what I’ve been saying for years:

Will Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?
imageIn spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world have Facebook accounts, the ability of the social network to drive revenue for eCommerce businesses continues to remain elusive. eBusiness professionals in retail collectively report little direct or indirect benefit from Facebook, and social networks overall…

A few of my takes:

NostraChuckus, that uncannily somewhat accurate prognosticator who mostly deals with predicting common sense, is at it again:
Social Media/Word-of-mouth advertising/marketing on the web has been a washout…

5 Reasons Why 90% Of Social Media Efforts Fail

Is roiling ether the best place for advertising?

The Real Thing vs. The Virtual Thing

How do we get them there?
Average click-through rate was 0.051 percent in 2010…

My New Year’s Resolution
No more scratching my head and being completely baffled by social media marketing experts telling me that consumers want to talk about products, have online conversations about toilet paper or whatever – and have even more conversations with the manufacturers of products. What an odd, insulated view of advertising and marketing.

It’s certainly nice to see research finally catching up.

05 April 2011

Carnival of Colleagues

Only a few months ago I was highlighting the authoritative work of Dr. Joseph Coughlin and Dick Stroud:

Two Experts, One Superb Article, One Superb Presentation
Each is worth its own post here – but we’re living in an era of austerity, so…

Now they’re at it again (or, they never stopped and I’ve been asleep):

Dick in Dublin
Joe in Cambridge

imageBrent Green keeps us on our toes with eclectic, fascinating guests on Generation Reinvention Radio.  He recently blogged about all episodes so far – so pick one.  Then pick a few more.

And Marc Middleton continues blogging for The Huffington Post.  This one is about marketing and advertising:

imageStalking the Boomer Consumer
If you are trying to market to Baby Boomers as a whole, you are destined for failure. Baby Boomers are not a whole. They are a highly diverse, highly fragmented group of people born between 1946 and 1964.

I’ll have to do something impressive one of these days.

04 April 2011

Long-Term Relationship Partner Gets More Ad Age Ink Than I Do

Top-notch Ad Age White Paper by Marissa Miley  sponsored by AARP:

50 and Up: What's Next?
imageThe generation that defined youth marketing for Madison Avenue is readying for retirement. Here’s what they’re thinking, where they're spending their money and what marketers should know in order to reach them. Data from AARP's Baby Boomers Envision Retirement Survey, GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer and Ad Age's MarketFinder.

Download The PDF

Quotes from Dick Stroud, Lori Bitter, Carol Orsborn, and Yours Truly are scattered about.

Dick emailed me, saying “I thought it was one of the best researched papers I had seen for a long time.”  So when he gets around to blogging about it the link will be right here.

But … my long-term relationship partner (that’s what I am in the report) has a whole section dedicated to her:


My bloviations are merely occasional light sprinkles.

I’m not sure I’m happy about this.  In high-profile celebrity marriages and relationships such as ours, it’s never a good omen when one gets more ink than the other.  Will this be the end of domestic bliss???

Read 50 and Up: What's Next?