07 November 2012

The Costco Connection

imageThat behemoth barn Costco does a pretty good job serving Baby Boomers. 

The catalog/magazine Costco Connection likewise does a pretty good job.  Take a look at recent covers and you’ll figure out fast what age demo is not being ignored.  Advertisers everywhere, pay attention.

A bulkier-than-normal issue arrived the other day.  The holiday issue.  As always, I drifted through it.  Celeb profiles included Neil Young and Rod Stewart.  Sure, these fellows are pushing stuff (an autobiography, a Christmas album), but two Boomer music icons in one issue?  Smart for Costco.

imageI’ll make a wild guess and assume Costco is not directly responsible for ads from other sources.  It is responsible for store brands (Kirkland) and any promotional fodder. Most of these are okay for older eyes, but not great.  The designers seem to like white typeface, sometimes on light backgrounds.  I noticed a few with white on blue – the worst combo for people over fifty. 

The layout is busy, but what else could it be with such a jam-packed issue?  Black on white for articles is ideal, although I’d bump up the font a whit or more.  I don’t like to squint.

imageRecently, Costco has implemented two marketing strategies, one good (with reservations) and one not so good (yet):

  • It’s pumping millions into its website.
  • Promos are trying to convince folks to give up their print mag and access it virtually.

Some moldy posts, still relevant:

15 April 2007
Positioning Magazines for Baby Boomers
… This (digital) nest is here to stay – but for a big part of their day Baby Boomers are happy to fly far from all the chaos and into another nest – one that is warm and nourishing. That’s where they will find, among other delectable items, your magazine.

01 May 2010
That silly retronym “traditional advertising” will remain the premiere force for introducing people to a product or service, along with sustaining its shelf life. Television, print, radio, and billboard ads will continue to have the visceral power they’ve always had – if only for their sheer size, simplicity, and cutting-edge audio/visual qualities.  Advertising on smartphones will be considered an annoyance, invasive, and rather dinky – while marketing/search (coupons on steroids, and more) will flourish and dominate.

06 March 2012
Digital Distractions
Digital interruptions are headache-inducing.  Not so with magazines. Advertisements are welcomed and appreciated.  They are integral, seamless extensions of the magazine  experience.

27 April 2009
Is roiling ether the best place for advertising?
For 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.

Costco’s investment in their online site is a good thing – but it’ll take their print mag promos and ads to get customers there.  And it always will.

imageBig mistake: Convincing people to forgo the print mag for the electronic version.  As it is, the e-version is a klutzy, unreadable mess, forcing you to zoom in and out to read anything.  Even when you do you can’t really read much.  Give it a gander.  It’s a simple PDF, clumsily widgetized.  The best way to solve this is by downloading the actual PDF so the graphics and text are truly accessible. But that’s too many steps, and still awkward, time-consuming.  People won’t bother.

And they won’t even know it’s available unless force-fed an email or text or some sort of announcement, again requiring too many steps. 

An attractive magazine arriving in the mail gets your attention.  It hangs out on the table, inviting you to do some easy, restful leafing – at least until recycle day rolls around.

Are tablets taking over?  Maybe.  Someday.

From a few weeks ago:

23 October 2012
The Future Of Consumer Doodad Technology
… You should stop thinking about the next big thingamabob and whose will be best.  In five or ten years there will be all sorts of thingamabobs for just about everything.  You’ll have two or three or ten thingamabobs.  Tablets/Smartphones will be big, small, thin, simple, complex, active, passive, out the door in your purse or pocket, lost in your couch cushions…

I’ll wait for the model that won’t shatter when you drop it and can be rolled up to swat flies.

We have a way to go before tablets are big, thin, light, unbreakable, maybe flexible to some degree, super-easy to read – and super-easy to access your magazine.  For now, for at least five or ten years, don’t count on tablets or smartphones to do everything.  They’ll eventually do more, but may never do it all.