18 June 2012

A Series Of Miniatures

No overarching theme this post.  Often, life is a series of miniatures.

Boomers represent an untapped niche market
imageRetiring baby-boomers, who have travel high on their list of priorities, represent a major opportunity for hoteliers.

Catalog the above as No News News.  I’ve been screaming about this for years

Tech savvy?  What a surprise.  Marketers will probably screw it up, however.  There’s a big difference between someone using the web to fashion a vacation, and advertising on social media

NostraChuckus predicts the future again and again:

Your Home: Boomer Build
"When we're building for people 55 and older, we're finding that this particular client comes in knowing exactly what they want. They're transitioning to a new lifestyle. They're coming from a home where they may have raised a family in a bigger house in suburbia," said Frank Barbera, custom homebuilder.

Barbera's development, reserved for "active adults, 55 and better", caters to the boomer generation and allows the prospective buyers to customize virtually every aspect of their home to suit their new lifestyle.

NostraChuckus years ago:

Selling Universal Design To Baby Boomers/Aging In Place  (PDF)
imagePast generations tended to get excited about modern conveniences that would make their lives easier. They'd walk into a planned housing unit and exclaim, "Look! It's got this and this and this and this!" The more features, the better. The more 'planned,' the better. It was time to start a new life. Time to be rewarded for all the hard work, and relax.

Not so with Baby Boomers. We take most modern conveniences for granted. And we don't want to start new lives, but continue the lives we already have.

Baby Boomers will be anticipating a seamless transition. Instead of "Look! It has this and this and this," we'll be sniffing around for friendly, useful spaces. You'll want us to say, "Look! There's a perfect place for my pottery wheel," or "There are plenty of windows and sunlight. My house plants and indoor herb garden will do fine in here," or "Good. I can put up big, deep shelves for my books and CDs," or "Here's the perfect room for our side business on Ebay," or "Here's a place where I can soundproof a recording studio or entertainment center," or "This oversized back door is great because I can roll my bicycle in and out without squeezing and jerking it around - and the extra-wide hallway means there's plenty of room so I can just lean it against the wall and we won't bang into it every time we walk past it."

The Venza…

My PhotoMis-marketing to Boomers: Toyota
by Matt Thornhill

  • For the 11 months immediately preceding the campaign launch, Toyota sold 36,051 Venzas.
  • For the 11 months since the launch, Toyota has sold 31,535 Venzas, a sales decline of 12.5%
Targeting Boomers and consumers over 50 can work for you, but you have to get it right. There may be other issues with the Venza that are affecting sales volume, but this campaign isn't helping.

Yup.  My take from last July:

Non-Diversity = Solipsism
Spots that star Millennials but, at least from what you tell me, are targeting Baby Boomers.  I guess if you want to target Millennials, you should get a bunch of Baby Boomers to star in the ads, and have them talk about their kids.

You should take a look at this – Dr. Joseph Coughlin at his best (which usually is always):

Dr. Joseph Coughlin

05 June 2012

For The Elderly And Beautiful


We went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel the other night. Fun flick.

To get the “only okay” stuff out of the way…  

All the main characters have  life-changing epiphanies.  That’s a lot of epiphanies.  After the first few you’re so emotionally drained you don’t care anymore.  I was hoping  the last four or five wouldn’t ‘see the light’ – and slog on as miserable beings.  Oh, well.

Except for the wacky, cyclonic Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel),  the Indian characters seemed like caricatures to me.  His personal story (girlfriend, girlfriend’s brother, domineering mother) was likewise a bundle of clich├ęs.

I ignored the above and immersed myself in the brilliant acting and (for the most part) writing and directing. 

One of the kickoff scenes: a husband and wife visit a bland, cheesy retirement flat full of hospital-like Universal Design amenities.  The wife is horrified.  It mirrors a piece of mine from a few years ago:

Selling Universal Design To Baby Boomers/Aging In Place  (PDF)

Another subplot involves a Call CentreJudi Dench’s character teaches a bunch of young adults how to talk with (not to) potential customers. 

Thinking about hiring expensive sales trainers?  A ten-dollar movie ticket will do.  Or, wait for the DVD… 

When it’s available I’ll be illegally showing these two segments in my presentations.   If you’re in the Universal Design or Call Centre industry (and have no scruples), so should you.

31 May 2012

Back To School


Unemployed Baby Boomers Are Getting Hired By Going Back To School
Lucia Mutikani, Reuters
Thousands of Americans aged 55 and older are going back to school and reinventing themselves to get an edge in a difficult labor market…

Productivity experts like Frank Lonergen say it is a mistake to overlook these so-called baby boomers, given their wealth of experience ...  While it is a reasonable expectation that somebody hired at 55 would want to retire at 65, it could also be argued that a 25-year-old would probably not build a career at a single company, he said…

A post from 2005:

Baby Boomers, Adult Communities, and Education
Campus Continuum focuses solely on developing, marketing, and operating university-branded 55+ Active Adult Communities that are tightly integrated with their academic hosts.

Personal fulfillment.  Now add new skills for employment. 

But here are slews of (probably even better) reasons to mix it up and hire older workers.  I’ve been writing about the subject for years, pointing readers to articles and studies galore.

Dive in:

The Human Resources/Brain Power Posts

14 May 2012

The Aging In Place, Universal Design, Age-Friendly Revolution

Not quite as ubiquitous as The Blob (but friendlier), the UD revolution is oozing into public places, private places. 

50+ Homeowners, urban and suburban architects and planners, product designers industrial and tech – all are finally paying attention to what many have been furthering for years.

I’ve bundled my posts on the subject (2005-2012), spiced with other goodies.  Be prepared – not all the embedded links are still alive. I guess the real Blob got them:

The Aging In Place & Universal Design Posts

Here’s a fun one I forgot to squeeze in:

12 June 2006
Boomers in Candyland
"In England, they've done a lot of studies about 'wrap rage,' and it goes much deeper than not being able to open a bottle of medicine, for instance. It's anything, any consumer goods packaging that people have trouble opening, and as Baby Boomers are starting to age, they are very sensitive to this."

Some recent articles, blog posts:

5 Tips for Boomer-Friendly Retail Design
By Jane Porter
image… Boomers naturally appreciate large, easy-to-read type on price tags and signs. If your customer has to pull out her glasses to read a tag, that doesn’t bode well…

Nearly Half of All American Homeowners Give a Green Thumbs-Up to Home Improvements
image… Gardening Homeowners are 11 percent more likely than all homeowners to read the home and garden pages of the newspaper and eight percent more likely to read the food and cooking section. They are eight percent more likely than all homeowners to watch documentaries on television, six percent more likely to watch local morning news, and eight percent more likely to watch reality talent shows. Twenty-seven percent of Gardening Homeowners listen to adult contemporary or news/talk/information radio…

What Boomers Want
Nearly all pre-retirees want to age in place in their homes, and they're relying on home-health tech to do so…

Remodeling Tips for Boomer to ‘Age in Place’
by Casey Dowd
…. To help boomers stay in their home, more companies and organizations, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), are offering assistance to make homes more livable and safe as they age…

Could universal design be the next mainstream movement in architecture, planning?
image… Though universal design benefits people of all ages, the aging of the population is an important driver of the field. Universal design enables residents to stay in their own homes and neighborhoods for as long as possible, and supports their continued participation in social life.

Universal design has roots in the disability rights movement, whose proponents fought for buildings and infrastructure to be more accessible…

Identity, Stigma, and the Horror of Exclusion by Design
By Scott Rains
image… Universal Design is a blueprint for inclusion that exposes unwaveringly the injustice of "exclusion by design." It demands that human difference be accounted for in real concrete acts. It requires that those traditionally excluded precisely for their difference be given voice at every stage of tool, environment, and policy creation...

Dick Stroud and Kim Walker are working on two interesting projects.  I haven’t read the book (it’s due out in a few months) or sampled the software, so I can’t really recommend them – but no doubt they’ll be valuable tools.

About the book:

Being age-friendly is simply better business. This thinking is the basis of a new book to be co-authored by Kim Walker and and Dick Stroud published by Palgrave MacMillan.

About the software:


Aging In America, 2012 (PDF) Joop Koopman

I’ll leave you with a piece from yours truly written a handful of years ago.  Most of the advice still holds up:

Selling Universal Design To Baby Boomers/Aging In Place  (PDF)

03 May 2012

67% Of All Sales…

I haven’t invoked NostraChuckus in awhile.  He’s that Great Seer of The Obvious and The Mundane

Automobile advertising, marketing, sales – to Baby Boomers.  When NostraChuckus first divined it (and went on divining it again and again):

Car Spots Driving in the Wrong Direction

Coming Boom in Boomer-Friendly Transport

Who’s gonna buy this car?
… In 2005 on The Advertising Show yours truly had a spirited discussion with hosts Brad Forsythe and Ray Schilens.  A chunky segment was about marketing autos to Boomers.

Now it’s some huge surprise:

Baby boomers drive boom in new-car sales
By Greg Gardner
imageAutomakers are turning to buyers like 64-year-old Martin Friedman for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks.

That's where the money is.

… Those age 50 and older are buying more than three of every five new vehicles sold, or about 62% … For the Detroit Three, boomers now account for 67% of all sales.

Here’s the best part:

The research raises the question of whether automakers' vigorous efforts to reach younger buyers through social media or targeted reality shows…

Sounds a bit like this No News News:

http://images.forbes.com/media/assets/header_baked/forbes_logo_main.gifFord Fiesta Sales Slump Despite 'Groundbreaking' Social Media Marketing Campaign

NostraChuckus predicted that over two years ago:
… And when it comes to viral videos of the Ford Fiesta – here’s the most popular one of all – uploaded and ‘remixed’ by dozens of ‘citizen marketers’ and seen by millions:

Ford Fiesta