In celebration of the new year, a group of my Boomer friends sat around the fire, chatting over a glass of wine. The topic that dominated the very passionate discussion wasn't politics or sports - it was what to do about Mom and Dad. Nearly all of the friends around the circle were either going through or had gone through some experience of dealing with a deteriorating health situation or the decreasing ability of a parent.
With the latest technologies unveiled this month at CES in Las Vegas, there was plenty of buzz about the newest ways to automate a variety of our day-to-day tasks. Not surprisingly, Boomers are ready to take advantage of these innovative products as part of the surging "do it for me" (DIFM) trend.
Mobile devices have irreversibly altered the consumer path to purchase. Regardless of things like age, gender, location and income, mobile devices give everyone the same ability to connect with the world of information, entertainment, commerce and more.
Millennials have regularly been the subject of misunderstanding, even teasing, due to their unconventional beliefs and practices. Still, since they represent the largest, most powerful generation to hit since the big bang of the Baby Boom, marketers, researchers and planners like me continue to watch this group of consumers with borderline obsession. In my own observations, I've discovered the Millennial generation is not only different than prior generations, it's contagious. Unwittingly, the rest of us are becoming more like the segment we're all trying so hard to figure out. I'm a balding, shining example.
Mark Twain wrote, "The problem isn't the things that we don't know; it's the things we 'know' that ain't so." His comment is simply a reflection of a common-sense reality. Today, marketing and selling draw on a lot of things "we 'know' that ain't so."
With Boomers spending $120 billion a year on travel, there's a huge incentive for marketers to give them a better experience. So, if not for this holiday season but the next, I talked to a few Boomers to see what was on their travel wish lists. Although they visit a wide range of places, from local campgrounds to international cruises, it was surprising how many preferences they shared.
As we cross the threshold into 2017, it seems like a good time to let consumers speak for themselves. Much has been made in the last few months of the "voice of regular people" and those who are disenfranchised. Let's be honest, most of "those people" aren't the targets of campaigns. Many categories in the boomer marketing space target the mass affluent consumer. But there is a real sweet spot in a segment we call "Average Joes & Josephines." They are neither rich nor poor. They are articulate, smart consumers. As they age, they need brand heroes.
Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama represent the bookends of the Baby Boomer generation. Clinton (now 69) was born in 1947 and Obama (who will turn 53 before her husband leaves office) was born in 1964.
An esteemed colleague once told me that no category of business expense contains as much waste as marketing. The amounts are astounding. Some marketing-related activities are estimated to cost companies about $500 billion annually. There are those that consider that figure is double what it should be. That claim is not as outlandish as it might seem, it's the single biggest expense in many companies' marketing budgets.
It's Movember, which means that men all over the world have spent the month feeling the tickle of a growing moustache - all to raise awareness of men's health issues. As the month of moustachery draws to a close, some other seasonal traditions are sprouting: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, last but not least, Giving Tuesday.