05 September 2011

The Obligatory Follow-Up iPad (and Smartphone and QR Codes) Post

I have a handful of zombie posts – ones that keep getting oodles of hits year after year.  Over the last three months, one from April 2010 has crawled out of the grave, haunting  the internet.  It’s more popular now than when first published.

Why? I guess NostraChuckus has been divining the future behind my back:

The Obligatory iPad Post (April 2010)
Used in relaxed mode…” (Dick Stroud) That reflects a lot of what I said way back in April ‘07 about the strength of magazines and why they’re not going away…

imageI use the word iPad as a generic term referring to all tablets, sort of like “Have you googled anything on Bing lately?”  Droid, Mac OS, Windows 7 – don’t ask me about that stuff.  I’m more interested in the concept and how it impacts advertising and marketing to Baby Boomers.

A handful of news stories:

As PCs Wane, Companies Look to Tablets
…Computer makers are expected to ship only about 4 percent more PCs this year than last year, according to IDC, a research firm. Tablets, in contrast, are flying off store shelves.

Sounds familiar.  At least to NostraChuckus:

Foretellings (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. 

Ad Campaign Effectiveness Dives
by Steve McClellan
ertain segments in the online space were more sharply impacted during the reported period. Display ads and sponsorships were down 26% and 35%, respectively, in customer engagement.

Online ads generally were 25% less effective than traditional ads for "incremental customer demand generation," per the report.

What a surprise:

Click this ad. 0.051% do.
… a tiny fraction of people ever click on an ad. In fact, 99% of stable cookies examined never click on an ad … optimization of campaigns to achieve higher CTR may in fact be reducing brand ROI.


Smartphones & Usability
There is no way anybody, no matter what age, will put up with graphic gizmo advertising on smartphones.  Simple Fact: The real estate isn’t there.

New Study Reveals Generational Differences in Mobile Device Usage
Boomers are the most likely buyers of eReaders…  More than 9 out of 10 Boomers (92%) use the device at home, 13% at work, and 36% power up their eReaders while on the go.

Baby Boomers Up-to-Date on Smartphone Technology, Study Finds
image"It is a common misconception that smartphones are complicated or hard to operate," Marick said. "But as we see in this survey, an overwhelming majority of current smartphone owners ages 40-plus were able to teach themselves the functions of their device."

Wow.  What a shock.  From my book, first published in 2005:

Shock redux:

Snake Oil In Cyberspace (February 2009)
A recent report from Forrester Research indicates that while it might be tempting to categorize all aging Americans as techno-dinosaurs and Luddites, more than 60 percent of baby boomers are avid consumers of social media like blogs, forums, podcasts and online videos…

Perhaps … it is simply a case of older users being a bit more savvy about marketing ploys, social networking, and the intermixing of the two.

QR Codes are beginning to play a big part in it all:

Foretellings II
How revolutionary!  How clever we are in this modern day and age!  Imagine! Using your phone to order from a grocery store and having your items delivered!  What’ll they think of next?

But …

QR Code Scanners Skew Male, Young, Wealthy

However, the numbers aren’t shoddy for Baby Boomers.  And add this into the equation:

Home Most Popular QR Code Location
The most popular source of a scanned QR code was a printed magazine or newspaper, with nearly half (49.4%) scanning QR codes from this source…

Among mobile users who scanned a QR code on their mobile devices in June, 58% did so from their home…

And that brings me to my mantra, repeated so many times by yours truly that I’m even sick of hearing it.  Update it a bit with QR codes:

The Most Effective Marketing/Advertising Model For Reaching Baby Boomers: What is now called (silly retronym ahead) traditional advertising pushing you to an age-friendly, informative product/services web site.

What can be gleaned from this meandering, bloated post? 

  • Smartphones are used to scan QR codes while reading newspapers and magazines at home.
  • The perfect tablet (someday) for Baby Boomers will be big, thin, light, unbreakable – and while you’ll be able to use it for search, email, Facebooky things, etc. – it will mostly be for curling up on a couch and reading your favorite magazines, newspapers, books, watching short videos, etc.  I think we used to call this ‘alone time’.


  • Television, Magazines, Radio, Outdoor: Advertising 
  • Smartphones: Some Marketing on steroids, no advertising
  • Tablets: Advertising, maybe some marketing – but you’d better be careful.  Remember – most  Baby Boomers will be in ‘relaxed mode’ when using tablets. 

If you don’t know what ‘relaxed mode’ is:

Positioning Magazines for Baby Boomers April 2007