21 June 2009

Entrepreneurship: The New Mid-Life Crisis

A BusinessWeek blog post:

Entrepreneurship: The New Mid-Life Crisis
This is a guest blog by Emily Schmitt, who joined BusinessWeek’s Small Business team and Investing team in June.
bwAn entrepreneurial boom is on its way, but don’t expect it to be led by 20-somethings. Instead, America’s best economic recovery plan is in the hands of those aged 50 and up, according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation.

Not much new, really – but check it out for some good links, including one to The Kauffman Foundation study (PDF).

I left a comment on the blog, along with a few quotes from my book.  A handful of more pulls:




More from the BusinessWeek blog post:

As we see more large firms go under, we may also see a shift toward small businesses—the same ones that drive innovation. And it’s all thanks to the baby boomers.

I’ve also talked a bit about  this – in a few blog posts and in an online presentation.

17 June 2009

Universal Design Moves More Mainstream

It’s fun to be quoted by folk I don’t know:

Universal Design Moves More Mainstream
By Home Experts Team
homeIntel It’s stating the obvious to say that the Baby Boomer generation is aging – we’re reminded often, thanks to the media.  However, it is this generation – or more specifically, their situation and needs – that is paving the way for how the rest of us will prepare for the future.


I do know Dr. Scott Rains.  He picked up on it, nice fellow that he is:

rollingrainsUD: Learning from Chuck Nyren and HomeIntel Blog

But if you take a peek at Rolling’s Seven Principles of Universal Design at the end of the link above, you’ll know that he has nothing to learn from me.  I learn from him.


More Universal Design News: A Free Webinar Thursday, June 18th – hosted by Louis Tenenbaum.

15 June 2009

Harris Poll & Advertising & Social Networking

Take a look:

HarrisInteractive Offline Social Word of Mouth Influence On Brand Decision-Making More Frequent and More Powerful Than Online Social Media

The most frequently identified methods of gathering information were:

  • Using a company website (36%),
  • Face-to-face with a salesperson or other company representative (22%), and
  • Face-to-face with a person not associated with the company (21%).

Other frequently mentioned methods or sources were:

  • Advertising in print media (19%),
  • Independent websites that have reviews (19%),
  • Phone call to the company (16%), and
  • Public or private social networking sites (4%).

Thirty-six percent use a company web site.  Four percent use social networking sites. 

I’ve been blogging about this for years

The real issue is that WOMMers have usurped the term word of mouth.  Word of mouth is what word of mouth marketing isn’t.  From my book:

When it all comes out in the wash, WOMM will be the best thing to happen to (silly retronym ahead) traditional advertising. Pretty soon, consumers won't believe anybody - even their best friends. They'll realize that they receive the most honest and straightforward information about a product or service from a TV commercial, print ad, or product web site. At least we don't lie about who we are and why we're saying what we're saying.

As far as all the claptrap about WOMM replacing advertising - people who are hawking that one have a slippery grip on history. Word-of-mouth marketing is nothing new. It's been around for a hundred years, since the beginning of modern advertising, always morphing into various forms. The latest morphs: online social networking and blogs.

There is plenty of marketing and advertising to be done on the Web, and who knows what forms they will take over the next ten years. We'll all be surprised. But word-of-mouth as the primary driving force of marketing? I think not.

Remember this: Advertising didn't die with the invention of the telephone.

Someone who understands history and makes you laugh:

The Revolution That Never Happened
ac Ten years ago, if you would have said that DVR viewing would represent only 5% of total viewing today, you would have been called a fool and a Luddite. – The Ad Contrarian

Download The HarrisInteractive® Report (PDF)

14 June 2009

A Few New Campaigns

Way back in 2006 I was part of a private marketing seminar for AstraZeneca’s Crestor:

az The day was productive and fun. The three ‘experts’ were Dr. Coughlin, John Page from Yankelovich, and you-know-who. The numbers-cruncher wore a very conservative, gray suit, the academic a dark pinstripe and loud bow tie, and the ad guy a mock turtleneck and over-the-top orangey sport coat.

We were straight from central casting.

The night before I had dinner with a gentleman from Commonhealth and the Brand Manager of Crestor®.  Of course, I’d done homework.  Three points I made:

  • Boomers want information.  I found out more about the active ingredient (Rosuvastatin) and how it works from Wikipedia than I did on the Crestor web site.

  • Feel-good advertising is fine, but make sure the commercial pushes you to the web site for more information – and the information is there.

  • You should produce a computer-animated ‘fly-through’ video of arteries showing how and why Crestor works. 

crestor The other night I saw a Crestor spot with a man in his fifties explaining a bit about the medication, and pushing viewers to the Crestor web site to view an animated video about how Crestor works. 

I can’t find the television spot on the web, but did find the animated video:


Take an interactive artery tour …


My colleagues, heroes, and brothers in troublemaking Brent Green and Dick Stroud have been all over a bunch of campaigns that use the perennial ‘time machine’ technique:

Some target 50+, one should but doesn’t, one (or maybe two) are age-neutral.  You decide:

Bacardi Rum Mojitos, Marketing Missteps, Boomers and Social Justice
bg Take another look at the commercial and now scrutinize for diversity. You’ll see Caucasians, Latinos and African Americans. You’ll certainly see a balance of gender, as you would expect for a nightclub evolving backward through the fourth dimension (of time). What you won’t see is anyone over the age of 40 (more likely 30) — neither in the present nor in the distant past where the thirsty customer finally gets his freshly mashed mojito.

dsThe more retro the better?
Retro advertising is back with a vengeance … I suspect you can have a bit too much of retro, even for the over-50s market.

The M&S spot is my favorite:

Probably because Twiggy is sexier and more fun now then way back when – and I chortled at the cheeky nod to a classic spot for Levi’s:

11 June 2009

Older Employees' Better Coping Skills Mean Better Engagement

mb Marti Barletta sent this to a handful of us boomer business folk:

The Herman Trend Alert
June 10, 2009
by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia
Older Employees' Better Coping Skills Mean Better Engagement 
hgOur younger workers are most affected by the current economic crisis even as our older employees are able to handle the trials of this difficult economic time. These findings were recently reported in a study by Boston College's Sloan Center on Aging & Work.

It reminded me of some posts over the last five years:

Old Masters and Young Geniuses

What Kind of Genius Are You?

Baby boomers are smarter than you think

Trust Your Gut


People generally get better.

Calcified Advertising Agencies

Rance Crain Makes Perfect Sense Yet Again

Diversity = Productivity

Managing Age Diversity in the Advertising Industry

And an article I never got around to blogging about:

Why We Need Aging Workers
By Ray B. Williams
rbw The key to a company’s future success will be its adaptability – its capacity to deploy resources quickly to seize competitive opportunities and to draw from a labor pool that features a mix of multi-skilled, full-time workers, and specifically-skilled, contingent employees who contribute on a part-time or temporary basis.

And my book: