I’m Back and Senior Marketing Has Never Been More Popular!

July 15, 2009

For the past 15 years I’ve talked about the value of targeting the 50-plus market. Now with the ad market in a state of confusion, suddenly the 50 plus market looks very becoming. They have the money, the interest and the need for your products.

In the next few months I’ll give you a look at how the ad landscape has changed.


A Good Turn Sometimes Uncovers Gold in Unexpected Places

August 1, 2008

Early this year I was approached by a potential client and asked if I would write a series of three articles for their company newsletter. The client sheepishly admitted that he didn’t have much of a budget and when he quoted the figure he was right, he didn’t have much of a budget. However, because I enjoy writing I agreed to do the articles and put a good deal of effort into them. The other day the phone rang and it was the potential client thanking me for the outstanding articles and invited me to address his various companies around the country at my full speaking price. Talk about an unexpected surprise!

Chris Anderson’s new book, “The Long Tail” addresses why the future of business is selling less of more and the benefits. He discusses the reputation economy; the end of inventory; the Wal-Mart effect; the power of peer production and the 9 rules of operating in a Long Tail economy.

So often in the past the mindset of business has been the bottom line and full speed ahead. If every business is thinking that way, where is the soul of business to business going?

The senior market is the perfect area to put the business of selling less of more into practice. It is the fasting-growing demographic in the country and people over 50 are the last group of business people who can remember clients going out of their way to help and mean it. 

If you find yourself or your company in a position to reach down and help someone, do it. Not for the benefit that you might derive, but rather that your extending a kindness or a help that will probably not be forgotten. In the difficult business climate of today, that’s not only simply great public realtions but you add a human touch to your business.

It’s a little like giving the down and out street person some money. You dont know what they are going to spend that money on. Booze, drugs, food or who knows what. But you feel good because you’ve recognized them and their problem and offered to help in some small way!

Lemonade Stand Marketing

June 16, 2008

It’s that time of the year when kids in my neighborhood setup the card table, a pitcher of lemonade and go into their first business.

I predict that one little girl will go far in this world and she reminded me of some of the business basics we all tend to forget from time to time.

Her sign in front of the card table read the usual “Ice Cold Lemonade, 25 cents!” All of the kids claim its ice cold. However this 9 year old took it one step further. Her sign also read, in big letters, “It’s Good!” Marketing 101; make your message and your product standout!

As I walked up to her stand she and her friend met me with a big smile and the usual little girl giggles. “How many glasses would you like” she asked. Remember your first sales manager stressing, “Ask for the order!” I put down my quarter and said, “one please.” They excitingly told me I was their 5th customer and their little brother was on his bike riding around telling everyone about their stand. They weren’t satisfied with the corner traffic and word of mouth, they were advertising.

As I drank the last of the lemonade I commented that it tasted good. The little girl said “Thank you” and then blew me away with her next question. “Would you like another one?” How many of us in sales miss an opportunity for another sale when we talk with our satisfied customers.

I was thoroughly enjoying this mini marketing encounter and the fact that someone in the family took the time to school these two little girls in the basics. However she wasn’t done with me. As I left she thanked me for coming and said, “Tell your friends about us!”

As I drove away I thought about how many orders I’ve missed down through the years because I overlooked some of those lemonade stand basics. How about you?

Tell, Don’t Yell!

May 15, 2008

Have you noticed that it doesn’t matter what some marketers are trolling for, votes, cars or cat litter, a lot of people are yelling at us! The other morning on TV I heard Hillary yelling about her credentials in a gym full of voters, followed by NBC’s Al Roker yelling about the weather in my neck of the woods followed by a car dealer who was actually using a bull horn to sell his cars.

Is yelling effective? Its like pressing harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are about shot. Of course not! In marketing to people over the age of 50 yelling is a complete waste of money, for several reasons. Women find it rude and inconsiderate. Men are yelled at at home so often they simply tune it out! ( I speak for myself.)

The reason there is so much yelling is the theory that yelling stands out and gets attention. In todays advertising clutter the feeling is that you have to grab and hold onto the potential customer. It’s easy to yell and far more difficult to write a commercial that grabs the attention of a customer. For example travel is big on the agenda of many 50 plus people. Whistle and yell or “May I tell you about a vacation that will last a lifetime?”

Is there ever a day when mattresses are not on sale? By the time people are thier 50’s they are in the market for a new one. With something that is synonymous with peace and quiet, why yell about the sale? Nor will the 50 plus market fall for that old line, “On sale today only!”

When your next ad campaign comes due think about that huge 50 plus market and “Don’t yell, Tell!”

The Senior’s Marketing Perception

April 18, 2008

CBS is on the verge of announcing that Katie Couric may be replaced on the CBS Evening News. It was a 75 million dollar experiment that floundered and may fail. The result is a marketing lesson we can all learn from. It was assumed that many people who watched and enjoyed Couric in the morning would follow her to CBS, it didnt happen.

In marketing I call this, “Weber’s Flawed Law of Line Extension.” Conventional marketing believes that if you have a product that is doing well, (The Today Show with its features and fluff) take one of those ingredients, (Katie Couric) and create a different product and image using that familiar name. Then success is sure to follow? Not so fast, remember “New Coke?”

The TV audience sampled Couric and then left her in droves. They failed to her as a news authority and now CBS may move her to Sixty Minutes. Will the audiences perception of her change? Probably not, however if you were to place Katie on a show like “The View” she would most likely do well. You may scream sexist, however whether its right or wrong, it’s the public’s perception of her and that wont change.

The marketing lesson we can all learn from CBS’s mistake is this. If your thinking of expanding your segment of a market and it involves the very savvy 50 plus senior market, consider this. Don’t assume that the senior’s will accept your new product simply because of your past name brand recognition.

You have to woo them, not wow them!



Coping with Marketing E-Shock!

February 12, 2008

Furlong bookAny company worth its salt has to do projections at least 10 years out. According to Dr. Mary Furlong, author of “Turning Silver into Gold, How to Profit in the New Boomers Marketplace“, by 2020 “healthy living” will be over a trillion dollar a year business. Notice she said “living” not “aging”.

Dr Furlong writes of exogenous shock or e-shock as something that throws the status quo into chaos. E-shock can be a life crisis, a death, losing a job or even turning 50! She states that when you understand what people are coping with, you can plan a wealth of new products to not only target them, but help them as well.

Examples, someone decided to solve loneliness and created E Harmony.com. Struggling with weight gain? Last year people spent $50 billion to shed the fat. $23 billion was spent last year on vision correction. Is your hairline bailing out? Talk about e-shock! Well, you’re not alone. Last year men and women spent $17 million on Rogaine. Prescription drugs have gone through the roof! It was $40 billion dollar industry in 1990 and $250 billion in 2005. Have you got a green thumb? Gardening is already a $36.8 billion year industry. Boomers are digging in and growing faster than your backyard weeds.

The beauty of this potential market is that it’s growing right before your eyes. Even the US Census bureau wants to help you. They report that the 50- to 69-year-old market has grown by 41 percent in recent years.

There’s your market, pick up a copy of Dr Furlong’s book and go get em!

Older Adults Can’t Remember What?

January 12, 2008

Here goes another myth about older adults shot down in flames!

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center recently focused on the effects of age on multisensory attention, or the way the senses work together. (Click here for link to full report.)

Dr Paul J. Laurienti, lead researcher on the study said that Wake Forest Baptist wanted to find out if older adults had a harder time paying attention. They wanted to find out if seniors were affected differently in their ability to enhance or suppress relevant information. “There are two kinds of attention we were interested in studying– voluntary attention and involuntary attention,” said Laurienti. “We all know that we can choose to focus on one sense and ignore another. For instance, you might be able to ignore the sounds of the television while you read the paper. but sometimes a very salient stimulus can capture your attention anyway–for instance, if the fire alarm went off while you were reading the paper.”

With the 55+ senior population now the fastest growing demographic in the country, knowing how to reach this huge market and how they pay attention is of vital importance to many companies.

The data showed that older adults can still successfully engage their attention, both in terms of speeding up and slowing down. More importantly older adults were also quite similar to young adults in how much of their attention was captured involuntarily. Even as we age, this study suggests that the brain’s ability to engage multisensory attention remains intact.