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About Dick Stroud
Dick Stroud is the founder of 20plus30, a marketing strategy consultancy specialising in the 50 plus market. He is the UK’s leading expert on using interactive channels to communicate with the over-50s market.
Skype Name: dickstroud
News, views and opinions about the most powerful group of consumers - the 50-plus market.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The writer of this article makes an interesting observation.
Perhaps the problem (the lack of attention given to older consumers) was not the young agency creatives or the media planners but the Boomer experts themselves: perhaps, our own marketing practices contradict the very advice we dole out, serving only to reinforce rather than dispel stereotypes of what it means to market to Boomers.The author then goes on to make three observations about bad practice,
Perhaps, if we want to convince the youthful decision makers, we should start with ourselves. We should look at our own sites, blogs and advice to see if we are "walking" the talk. Are we following our own advice?
1. Copy and creatives that equate a Boomer with a senior -- even though studies show that Boomers hate being labelled "senior."
OK, I have searched through my web site for the word ‘senior’. Other than where it appears as quote in a blog I don’t think I am guilty of that one.
2. Advice that highlights fear, not aspiration, to motivate Boomers.
I might be a tad guilty of this one, but then us 50-plus in the UK have a lot to be fearful about. If the thought of Gordon Brown being in anyway connected with running the country for the next 5 years isn't enough to make you fearful I don’t know what is!
3. An assumption that aging is a destination, not a journey.
Not guilty of this one. I perhaps wouldn’t use such a sickly phrase “destination not a journey” but I know what the author means.
I have my own views about what is wrong with the way many of ‘us’ talk about marketing to older consumers. Four years ago I wrote and article called “Not another article about marketing to the over 50s” that documented some of my gripes. I would change things a bit if I was writing it again but a lot of the observations are still true. Dick Stroud
Labels: 50-plus entrepreneurs
Monday, April 12, 2010
of MIT AgeLab has an interesting posting on his blog about the challenge facing designers when dealing when older people.
He uses the good example of the mobile phone and argues that you can either create a product that is specifically designed for older people. He uses the LG’s Migo VX1000 as an example of this type of product – paradoxically as can be seen it is designed for children rather than older people.I guess that gives substance to the argument that old age is like childhood?
Alternatively, he argues, you can provide the ability to personalise the ‘normal’ phone (i.e. features to enlarge display font size, functionality). He mentions Vodafone, in collaboration with Toshiba, in this context.
I think that Jo has missed out on a third option. It will not come as a surprise to anybody who reads my blog that this option is connected with apps.
His arguments are based on using the existing technology platform. You either use it to create a bespoke simple version or provide it with the functionality to enable it appear less complex than it really is.
The third way is that you abandon the old technology platform and create a new one. This is what has happened with the smartphone and the use of apps. The technology platform is larger in size and the functionality is a step-change easier to use than the old menu driven phones.
Jo raises an important point that he calls the designer’s dilemma.
The older consumer serves as the designer’s acid test of success or failure in resolving the trade-offs of function, form, fun and usability. The explosion of technological capability makes it difficult to resist more function even if the form it takes makes it unusable. If all functions are designed to fit, they must also be designed for ease of use. Greatly reduced function may result in a more usable device, but at the possible risk of not meeting the aspirations of the older consumer and alienating younger buyers. A product obviously designed for the old becomes an ‘old man’s product.’
That’s as far as it goes. What you should add is that the designer’s challenge is to create products where the building block of functionality is easy to use and can be combined with an unlimited number of other building blocks, at the discretion of the user, to create a personalised device (i.e. The foundation of the product is personalisation) . Welcome to the Apple iPhone app. Dick Stroud
Sunday, April 11, 2010
When branding is demoted to becoming a “tick in the box” marketing task you know things are going badly wrong. I have just read a couple of articles that present different of explanations of what’s wrong with today’s branding and brand management.
The “Beyond Mad Men” article in brandchannel proposes the argument that today’s brand management isn’t a million miles away from the world portrayed in the TV series Mad Men. As a great fan of the series I think that the advertising industry is now a secondary to the personal sagas of the employees. Other than the contempt that agencies have for their clients I don’t see too many similarities to today’s agencies.
McKinsey takes a different line of argument. In classical McKinsey style it has lots of nice charts.
The article “A new world for brand managers” argues that CPG companies have created fragmented, overlapping structures that have tied up brand and category managers and others in key coordinating roles, crimping their vitality and value creation potential.
This chart gives an interesting insight (click on the image to see an enlarged version of the chart). Today’s brand managers have lots (maybe too many) technical and functional skills and not enough communicating and direction setting ability. That has a big ring of truth. This is summed up with the: “don’t bother me with the brand strategy argument I need to implement a social networking thingimijig.”
At some point in time, somebody in the council must have gone through the process of ‘branding’ and out popped the pleasant green logo and the meaningless term “where everybody matters”. My fear is that there are more private sector companies than we would like to admit that employ this simplistic/mechanistic approach to branding. Somehow I reckon Don Draper would have come up with something a tad more inventive and meaningful. Dick Stroud
Labels: Personal Gripes
Friday, April 09, 2010
Kim Walker, the Asia Pacific 50-plus business expert, knows a lot about. Kim has contributed a chapter, about the ageing of the countries in Asia Pacific, in particular China, to the new version of my book that is being translated in Chinese for publication at the end of this year.
The numbers are staggering.
These are the main observations on the Nielsen blog.
At its youngest—around 1970—nearly 51% of the population of China was under 20 years of age. Two years from now, the share of the Chinese population under the age of 20 will fall below the same share in the U.S., and will continue to fall for the near future.
Today, the median age for the U.S. is 36.6 and China is 34.2.
Marketers entering China will need to evaluate their portfolios very carefully. A mix of brands, targeted to different demographic groups, or those that work well in India or other less-developed nations may struggle in China. Large families with children—typically the biggest market segment available in the less-developed world—are nonexistent in China.
Very few households have more than two children and those with one greatly outnumber those with two. As the population ages and the gender ratio becomes more imbalanced, household sizes will continue to shrink and the share of households that have children will continue to fall. This means less variance in the buying rate for products that rely on use by multiple family members for volume. Gaining new users and the retention of current users will be far more important strategies than seeking to grow volume within existing users.
Lessons marketers learn in the more-developed world about targeting older consumers should pay dividends in China. By around 2038, there will be as many persons over the age of 65 in China as there are young persons under the age of 20. After 2038, older consumers will outnumber younger ones. Marketers who can tap these older generations could do very well.
An area not covered by Nielsen is the migration of the population from rural to urban areas. This is having the effect of depleting the countryside of young people resulting in extreme concentrations of older people.
Faced with a population ageing at an unprecedented rate, China may grow old before it has a chance of reaching widespread prosperity. This quote (from 2004) says it all: "Today's great powers became affluent before they became ageing societies, China may be the first major country to grow old before it grows rich." Dick Stroud
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