11 October 2007

Friends In The Netherlands

In The Netherlands I made many new friends, and finally met up with a handful of folks I'd been in contact with for some time.

Among other things, Arjan in't Veld heads up InTheField Marketing en communicatie and runs the Mokka Marketing Blog. One of his clients is PLUS Magazine. Arjan has been helping with the redesign and implementation of their web site - adding interactive sections like this one.

View the site through Babble Fish to get an idea of what's being done (although don't completely trust the quirky translation).

The Mature Market Interview with Arjan in't Veld.

Martijn de Haas and Michel van den Bosch own the marketing firm Active Development:
Active Development is a consultancy/participating company in the marketing and communication to the 50+ market. We advise and/or participate in efforts of companies in entering the market and effectively reaching the 50+ consumers. This could be in thinking up new marketing strategies, new communication, online activities, and product development. We have a growing database of 50+ consumers who are providing us information in all these activities and who are actively taking part in our panels.

We have developed a small local fair called "the fair for people who enjoy life", or short in Dutch "de Levensgenietersbeurs": www.levensgenietersbeurs.nl

This a fair that is held in relatively big cities in Holland and holds about 30 exhibits. The textual marketing is ageless but the target is attracting the 50+ consumer who has money to spend on luxury articles. From our experience and backed-up by psychological research we found that as people get older they tend to value local socials networks more and more. They want to build close relationships with local entrepreneurs who give them optimal service and a feeling of being a 'friend' rather than a customer.
Here is Active Development - and their Fair - stuffed in the Babble Fish meat grinder.

We can learn a lot from the Dutch about how to market to the 50+ demo. In some areas they're way ahead of us.

02 October 2007

The European Speaking Tour (maybe Part I)

I'm finally back from the European Speaking/Consulting Tour sponsored by Bayard Presse, PLUS Magazines, and Roularta Media Group.

I guess you don't need a play-by-play. It was a success, Carol Orsborn and Brent Green were a notch above top-notch, our hosts treated us like Royalty everywhere we went, and my more-significant-than-I-am other had the time of her life as tourist and part-time nanny for the three prima donnas.

Carol is blogging about it all, so keep up with her musings. I'm sure Brent will also have a bunch to say when he returns and has some time.

I'll skip the travelogue, and only mention business stuff. The two most impressive things for me in Europe:
1) These incredibly dedicated, talented, hard-working, creative people I met, socialized, and worked with from all the companies, all the PLUS Magazines (along with Vi Over 60 and Notre Temps). I'm still reeling from being around such energy and artistry.

2) The 50+ Fair in Utrecht, Netherlands. Impossible to describe. Attendance over five days was just shy of 100,000. Almost 600 exhibits/booths. Seriously - I can't describe it. It was like everything I've been talking about for the last five years physically washing over and overwhelming me. The web site also doesn't do it justice. It can't. You had to be there.
A few bloggers have commented (but you may have a tough time reading their posts) - and the feedback from the attendees has been positive and enlightening. I still haven't answered all of them - and they keep piling into my inbox.

12 September 2007

Immersion Experience Sheds Light On Seniors

I had a good chat with Dan Miller of The Patriot-News last week. He asked me what I thought about a marketing/advertising firm embedding some employees in a retirement community.

Also interviewed was Todd Harff of Creative Results - a colleague and leading expert on marketing adult communities.

The article should be available online for a few weeks. All in all, it's a good one:
Immersion experience sheds light on seniors
Market researcher Bob Fell, 43, wanted to know what it's like to live in a retirement community, so he spent August at Garden Spot Village in Lancaster County. The ground-level research is part of his company's efforts to become a national leader on how to market to people 55 and older.
I'll stand by my quotes - although a few were slight misquotes and taken a bit out of context.

This will be my last post for two or three weeks. I'm off to Europe for a speaking and consulting tour. If you email or call don't expect a response until early October.

When I return to the ether, no doubt there will be stories to tell …

08 September 2007

Hopping Around Those Social Networking Sites

It’s nice to wake up in the morning and see that you’ve been ‘blogged’ by two top ones – coincidently both on the same subject: social networking sites.

I’ve written about this subject ad nauseam - here, in my book, in articles. Three posts:
Invasion of The Baby Boomer Pod People

Invasion of the Baby Boomer Pod People Returns

Sleepy Baby Boomer Internet Villages
Matt Thornhill and John Martin of The Boomer Consumer fame (and they’re also famous for a few other things) have put together “The List” of Baby Boomer social networking sites – along with trenchant comments on many of them. It’s not a complete list, and they admit as such. But that’s the point. These silly sites are popping up like mushrooms. There is no way you could ever list them all or find them all. Many have died already, or are in their death throes. (Instead of an obit section like Eons has, I’m thinking of putting up an obit section here for Baby Boomer social networking sites.)

Here’s the comment I left on The Boomer Consumer Blog post.

Then Peter Himler, numero uno Flack (hey, he describes himself as such – at least the ‘flack’ part – ‘numero uno’ is my description), also talks about social networking sites, and tells a great story about his experiences with one:
... Within a day, I started receiving messages from some of the lonelyhearts whose less-than-appealing head shots peppered the site .... The next day, the come-ons from paid escorts arrived. I cancelled my membership and struck the site from my new business prospect list ... I'm convinced that there are many social networks -- some I know, others I don't -- with the kind of membership, content and utility that will accrue to me personally and professionally. I'm just scratching my head on which ones.”
Business networking sites - of course, it's simply good business to join some. But as far as general interest social networking sites, when Peter mentions “content and utility” I think he means relevant articles, videos, and new media - along with finding products and services of interest to him.

That's not social networking.

01 September 2007

Bottled Blondes and Man-Made Brunettes

I just blogged about this subject last week. I guess it's a hot one. A tepid one for me, since I likewise blogged it two years ago.

And a few months ago.

And a few months before that.

The media is all over it all of a sudden. Now the New York Times has caught up:
Bottled Blondes, You Too Can Break Free
By Natasha Singer

In an image-obsessed culture predominated by bottled blondes and man-made brunettes, a naturally gray-haired woman can be made to feel that she stands out like dandruff on a dark sweater. So it took some courage for Anne Kreamer, a contributor to More magazine and yahoo.com, to stop coloring her hair three years ago. "Gray hair has been stigmatized to mean sexually old or over, and we all want to maintain attractiveness," said Ms. Kreamer, 51, now the proud owner of a lustrous silver mane.
I guess what I find interesting is that the NYT web site does a great job cross-referencing articles - meaning, if an article is of interest in more than one section, it's listed in all the appropriate sections. For example, a book about politics would be in the Politics and Book sections.

This article, not surprisingly, is in the Fashion & Style section. But why isn't it cross-referenced in the Business/Advertising Section? The title is Bottled Blondes, You Too Can Break Free. So what's a bottled blonde? Maybe you should ask Shirley Polykoff (if she were alive).

This is a major change in the way mature (Marti Barletta calls them "PrimeTime") women are feeling about themselves. Mary Brown and Carol Orsborn also talk about this subject in their book, BOOM. Quoting Peggy Northrup, Editor of More Magazine:
"When we put attractive, successful women on our covers who look like they are between their late 40s and mid 50s, we sell lots more copies than when we go for the “40, could pass for 32” look. In fact, one of our highest selling issues of the past year had a great looking 53-year-old, gray-haired woman on the cover. You can see the crinkles around her eyes. We have to restrain our photographers from airbrushing these out."
I think everybody in the advertising industry should read the article.