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Aging Boomers Befuddle Marketers
Old 09-17-2013, 01:57 PM   #1
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Aging Boomers Befuddle Marketers

Maybe they should try medicinal weed...

Aging Boomers Befuddle Marketers Aching for $15 Trillion Prize - Bloomberg

Six years ago, the University of Cincinnati unveiled what it called an “unusual consortium” between its students, faculty and corporations, including Procter & Gamble Co., the consumer-product giant headquartered nearby. The group’s goal: to research and develop product ideas for consumers age 50 and over.
The problem with those products -- beyond the crummy ads -- was that they highlighted and reinforced the debilitating effects of aging. They’re palliative in nature, tools to make the long goodbye a bit less painful. “Use them, feel old” could be their slogan.

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Old 09-17-2013, 02:54 PM   #2
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"Don't trust any marketer under 30."

And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:38 AM   #3
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Why aren't they sending questionnaires to our home asking what we would like to buy, instead of brochures for Death's waiting rooms (oh excuse me, "active adult communities") and catalogues featuring giant underwear and elastic-waist "slacks"? Oh, and those "river cruise" catalogs. The brochures practically scream "Rich old people only." Who wants that?

Recently, I asked a shoe company's customer service department why I could not buy trendy colorful athletic shoes in a size 7.5EE. All I could get in my size was gray or white. The response was along the lines of "You have to understand that manufacturers don't want to take a risk on consumers who constitute a very small share of the market." Guess what, ladies' feet expand with age, and we will ALWAYS want cute shoes until the day we die.

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Old 09-18-2013, 05:23 AM   #4
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On second thought...

I thought the increase in ads for Medicare purchases of back braces and knee braces was an indicator that there were new restrictions on scooter purchases.

But now I see that that may not be the case. Maybe the equipment sellers are seeing a boomering market for aids to walking and not for aids to riding.
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:49 AM   #5
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Now we are actively trying to avoid acquiring more stuff anyway, and in fact are slowly shedding it.

However, if they come up with a pill that will make me 27 again, I'll pay for that. Well, as long as I don't have to go back to work too.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:25 AM   #6
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There's a blue pill that will make part of you 27 again. :-)
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
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Throughout the article, the underlying puzzle seems to come from the idea that successful marketing will only come from defining customers by age and the "want's" that are expected to come from those in an "age group".

After nearly a quarter of a century of living in a retirement communty, "age defining" is not a good basic concept. It would be hard to find a more homogeneous community than ours... typically a "middle middle" class as far as income, with a mix of ages, from 55 to 90...

Within that total population (about 500 to 600) in the Snowbird season, the homogeneity of the group as regards being a marketing target... is about as diverse as possible. From a few semireclusive individuals to world travelers and everywhere in between.

Half the people socialize daily... half drink, 98% socially, 2% addictively, 25% cruise at least once a year, 25% into sports, maybe 30% of the ladies shop regularly, half are continually upgrading and buying for their houses, and outside shrubbery/flowers/decorations... probably 30% go to movies twice a month, 60% cook and eat at home, 40% go out to eat. 75% churchgoers...

My guesses on the percentages, knowing about 90% of the residents...
Close enough to think that no matter what kind of marketing effort might be made, there would be no magic formula to guarantee success. No "Facebook"
or Phone/tablet revolution to suddenly change the retail approach.

About the only major shift that I can see (and it really only affects the under 65 age group), is a major swing to online buying ala Amazon.

One of the major changes in sales will likely come from the next wave of home renovations, to change from current style and quality factors such as doors, countertops and flooring... to more long term friendly things like above the counter dishwashers, safety grab bars, wider doorways, sill-less thresholds, waist high, more, and multiple plug outlets, walk in showers and tubs, roll out cabinet drawers, electronic "centers" for storage, charging and ergonometrically structured personal areas.

All in all, though, a far cry from my own marketing background.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Now we are actively trying to avoid acquiring more stuff anyway, and in fact are slowly shedding it.
Yep - also trying to un own and shed 'stuff'.

As to Amazon - trying to give to Goodwill or equivalent 2 items for each purchase on Amazon.

heh heh heh - with some lapses trying to really declutter and make snowbirding a rental adventure.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:41 AM   #9
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I am not yet trying to shed stuff, but I am definitely trying to keep it from expanding too much. I de-cluttered quite a bit before the "move-that-never-happened", and I enjoy actually having space in my closets now. Probably if/when we finally do decide to move, I will benefit from not having too much to dispose of. I do have more now than I did right after de-cluttering, though.

At some point, I will want to get rid of most of my stuff as a courtesy to my heirs. It is such a nightmare to go through a house crammed with years of stuff after someone passes away. But my goodness, I am not old enough to be preparing for that quite yet.

I really enjoy Amazon and Amazon Prime. As I get older, I know I will value having things delivered to my door and not having to battle crowded stores to get them.

What do early Boomers want? Oh, I have opinions on that! At my age (65),

1) I value appliances that are sturdy, work as they should, are simple to operate, and do not have to be replaced frequently. Once my present washer/dryer break, I would pay quite a bit for an old fashioned washer/dryer that would simply wash my clothes and get them truly clean without breaking for 20 years, and that would not stink or have other strange attributes. No fancy cycles needed.
2) I enjoy luxury and beauty, whether embodied in artwork and lovely furnishings, or in a simple and yet luxurious and beautiful device like the iPad.
3) I also enjoy practical items that make life easier for me as I age, like my small furniture dollie and sturdy, stable step-stool. Big screen TVs are a blessing as one's vision declines. The simplicity of modern wireless networks has evolved just barely in time, since now I don't think I could handle the hassle it used to take me to set one up in the old days. There is more to be done.
4) Physical fitness is extremely important to people my age that I know. Gyms and in-home physical fitness equipment are popular. I shell out quite a bit for both, and yet I pay for someone to do the mowing and gardening. That may not make sense, but it is what it is and someone could make quite a bit by catering to these habits and desires of some Boomers.

I am interested in making upgrades to my home such as lower kitchen cabinet shelves that roll out, new exterior doors, and at some point an elderly-friendly bathroom remodel.

At some point at least twenty years from now, I might be willing to pay quite a bit for a reliable service that would check on me each day so that I can safely stay in my present home. Also delivery of healthy meals will be desirable in old age. I predict that in home caregivers will be in great demand in about twenty years. I agree that the continual ads aimed at those seniors with declining health are depressing and will never inspire me to buy any of those products even when I get old enough to need them.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:46 AM   #10
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Walt, you are probably joking, but I think you are on to something.

Sure, somebody has to sell walk-in bathtubs, and other dismal reminders that people are almost dead.

But the guy or gal who figures out how to make and market things that make people feel like they're 27 again...will be a billionaire.

Creative product development is called for.


Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
However, if they come up with a pill that will make me 27 again, I'll pay for that. Well, as long as I don't have to go back to work too.
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.’ Christopher Morley.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:04 PM   #11
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I just buy whatever I find that fills my needs. I don't care if it is the latest CD from Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes or a bottle of prune juice .

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Old 09-19-2013, 07:21 PM   #12
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2.5 yrs into ER I found that I have a much reduced desire to shop. I realized that a lot of my purchases were just rewards to compensate for a stressful j*b. Now, no stress = less buying. I also have a bit more resentment of the consumer culture around me. Maybe I've found myself to want more simplicity. As the article said, I tend to stick with my favorite brands whenever possible. I do struggle to find clothes that are age appropriate but also somewhat hip. Maybe that's the problem. How do you make a product hip for the older generation. That is a big part of what drive younger buyers. A lot of it is status buying. It seems like the companies were trying to develop products that went beyond utility.

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