Boomers Have the Money – And Listen to Radio

I found this lovely quote in a recent article on MediaPost’s Boomer Blog:

“Let’s not forget that boomers account for nearly $230 billion in sales for consumer packaged good; they control nearly 70 percent of the nation’s disposal income and they stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years.”

If you want to focus your marketing on the people who can buy your product or service today, rather than in 20 years when they have serious money in their pockets (hello, Millennials), focus on Boomers as your most profitable consumer pool.

And they still listen to radio, because that was the new thing when they (including me) were young, and habits are hard to break unless you give us a really good reason to change. We still have that habit. Research would probably support the idea that Boomers are keeping AM/FM radio on the air, as younger generations move to more personalized audio sources.

That trend is affecting Boomers, too, of course. We like nothing better than to act young and adopt the latest trendy gizmo. But as we have aged, we do that less. So we will be listening to the radio a lot once we retire and start spending our inherited loot.

boomers-radio habits

So think about Boomers, and think “radio” if that market segment makes sense and your product lends itself to a broad audience rather than a niche.

 

Yellow Pages Continue to Shrink

I received my YP book late last week. Look how it has shrunk: Down to a half inch on the binding!

The incredible shrinking Yellow Pages. How long before it disappears?

The incredible shrinking Yellow Pages. How long before it disappears?

As you might expect, the ads have been bought by emergency services like plumbers and lawyers. A number of slots were taken up by YP promotional spots, so they couldn’t sell the book out.

With their online versions also struggling against Google, Bing and other more universal search options, this media property can’t have long to live.

I wrote about this on Forbes.com, a while back. That article still gets hits, so the questions remains a live one for local businesses. My recommendation cannot be “go for it.” Better to put that hard-earned cash into online search, SEO and other tactics.

One caveat: If you are focused on the Senior Consumer, you may still have some chance of generating leads from the old YP. But that’s it from my perspective!

 

A New Golden Age for Marketing? McKinsey Thinks So.

mckinsey-logoAmid talk of MTOs (Marketing Technology Officer) and the explosion of both analytic power and targeting tools (think “Account-Based Marketing”), it is clear that Marketing may be in the midst of a big comeback from the dark days of the Great Recession. The fierce battles over scarce budget dollars from 2007-2013 created a zero-sum game in executive suites that CMOs did not have enough data to fight.

The proliferation of social media and other “hot” marketing tools also made the job stressful, because everyone wanted big social media successes, but few actually panned out.

This is evolving, however. Analytics are catching up to the needs of CXOs to justify expense, and new digital marketing tools really allow deep targeting of potential customers, and targeting their location and place in the buying cycle.

Used consistently, and analyzed rigorously, these new capabilities are going to make Marketing a real player in controlling the drive to raise topline growth strategies.

Read more about this in an insightful article posted recently on McKinsey & Co.’s blog.

 

A Collection of Good Marketing Advice Gathered by Vertical Response

bestmarketinginfographics-619x350The image to the right provides a link to Vertical Response’s collection of popular infographics for 2014 on various marketing topics. I looked through the lot and think they have curated a decent set of advice. Some of each will be repetitive (marketing is not rocket science, and the basic good practices evolve less quickly than industry pundits would have you think), but overall these presentations are a good reminder about how to stick to a basic plan in each marketing channel, and give it time to work!

 

 

Forget Millennials – Boomers Have All the Money and Gen Xers Have a Bunch Too

Marketing as an industry has been obsessed with youth since Baby Boomers grabbed the reins 40 years ago and promptly focused the whole shebang on themselves (a very Boomer thing to do that is still a bad habit).

Marketing run by and for Youth, however, begins to run out of gas as a strategy when you recognize that all the money is still in Boomer pockets (and the pockets of their parents.) Why chase poor Millennials with millions of dollars in marketing spend when they cannot buy what you sell?

Here are some reasons people give:

Boomers follow what Millennials do, and buy what Millennials declare as “cool.”

This has some truth to it. Boomers are “forever 25″ and don’t want to be 60+. So they grab the trappings of youth with both hands and spend accordingly. This is why product managers of products that are targeted at Boomers clothe their messaging in youthful images. (Think health products and service, most notoriously drugs that help with erectil dysfunction. And recall Toyota’s initial success with its Scion nameplate was among Baby Boomers who wanted to appear cool, even though it was targeted at young Gen Xers.)

header-engageboomersAs Mark Bradbury asserted in a recent article on MediaPost, marketers can still wrap their products in the imagery of youth, but should try to win the hearts and wallets of Baby Boomers if they want to make real money. And Gen Xers are soon to join the 50+ segment, and have almost as much money as Boomers. So a strategy that works to extract business from Boomers will need just a little adjustment to work with Gen Xers.

What does that mean? Start using 30 or 40-something models in your marketing instead of kids. That is the image that Baby Boomers have of themselves, and the imagery they want to relate to.

Now you just have to make it so.

 

Follow the Bouncing Coupon – CPG Moves Promotion to Where the Eyeballs Are

Offers coming to the phone near you!

Offers coming to the phone near you!

Consumer Packaged Goods companies are full of smart folks, even if they need to see the whites of the marketing opportunity’s eyes before pulling the trigger on significant investments in new promotional channels.

But mobile searching, beaconing and showrooming are now embedded in consumer behavior, and protecting market share means being there when the phone comes out and people are pinged by local retailers with offers.

Laurie Sullivan, writing for MediaPost, confirms that CPG giants are fully on board with local mobile communications, and are ramping up programs to promote their brands and help their merchants gain the shopper’s attention (and hold it.)

“By targeting custom audiences based on location,” writes Sullivan, “traffic patterns and habits, along with demographic and transactional information from matching mobile devices to household-level data, CPG ads generated a 74% increase in foot traffic and 56% lift in visit frequency via location-powered media for retailers.” Sullivan is referring to data from a new report by Verve, a xxxx company.

Strategically this is not news. Trade Promotion at the point-of-sale has always been a demand-driver for CPG brands, and drives trial through the retail locations. Moving the coupons to the phone is the key change, and technology is making such campaigning much more affordable and scalable.

What can a smaller business do, now that the Big Boys of Retail are horning into local digital marketing?

  • Lean on those CPG companies for whom you sell to cut you in on the action.
  • Keep your own efforts at permission marketing in high gear.
  • Protect your turf by amassing a strong contact database within your market area.
  • Ramp up referral programs that feature great values as rewards and promotions. Emphasize being truly local.

All of this activity is local, and smaller businesses still “do local” better than big national chains, so keep at it. Concede no ground!

Millennials Cherish Experiences Over Stuff – For Now?

Gathering experiences - No stuff to be seen!

Gathering experiences – No stuff to be seen!

I have written in the past that Millennials are less different than older generations than we think. Indeed, a lot of the “differences” are actually the same attributes and behavior patterns that Baby Boomers exhibited when they were the same age, once differences in technology and environment are taken into account.

Both generations rebelled against the prevailing culture as defined by their parents. Millennials are just rebelling (if you can even call it that) in a different way than their Baby Booming parents did.

In some key ways, however, this new generation is redefining how one builds a life, and what one cherishes as important. I just spotted a great article that captures the unique characteristics of Millennials in a clear and usefully brief way.* The key points that I think people should take away:

Millennials seek to collect experiences rather than “stuff” or “toys.” Unlike their Baby Boomer parents, they are tending (so far) not to define themselves by what they own, but by what they choose to do.

This could change: Baby Boomers also were anti-materialistic as a way to separate themselves from their parents, and came back to materialism once they “settled down.” Millennials don’t seem to be using anti-materialism as aggressively as Baby Boomers, however. This means they might actually stick with it longer because it is less of a rebellion and more of a preference.

“The redefinition of ownership culture for Millennials is all about putting a premium on experiences and sharing those experiences,” writes Kipp Jarecky-Cheng in the article. “Status symbols such as fancy cars and lavishly appointed homes—big-ticket items that once defined previous generations’ conspicuous consuming behavior—simply don’t elicit the same thrill for Millennials. Instead, status updates on Millennials’ social channels and visual artifacts that showcase rich, deeply felt experiences—whether they’re Facebook pics showing them in exclusive faraway locales or Instagram pics of exotic eats–provide greater clout for Millennials than the most expensive luxury goods ever could for them.”

Baby Boomers were famous for saying “you can’t take it with you,” but seem to have dropped that mantra as a guiding tenet of their behavior. Millennials have rediscovered it, and are redefining it in their own, perhaps more lasting way.

Marketers take note: If you can wrap your product or service into experience, or make it the channel through which experiences can flow, you may have a more successful time capturing this generation’s attention and affection.

What do you think? Will Millennials maintain this less materialistic cultural norm over time, or come back to the pack once they pass thirty and finally start those families and set up house?

 

*The article is on MediaPost, which may require registration.

A Forbes Article about LinkedIn Marketing Strikes a Nerve

Click the logo to open my profile page. Find the "Follow" button near the top.

Click the logo to open my profile page. Find the “Follow” button near the top.

A recent post about LinkedIn’s networking power that I placed on Forbes.com struck a nerve in the legal community. My usually small but steady readership leapt up by a factor of five. The trigger? I focused on how hard it is for smaller organizations and solo practitioners to find the time to invest consistently in online networking. Then I gave a short story about an active small-firm lawyers that cemented the learning, which is standard marketing practice. Finally, I offered a value by stepping through how any small businessperson could construct his or her day and evening to take fuller advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer.

And folks have been sharing this particular article at a higher rate than previous efforts (aside from my all-time winner, a cautionary column about printed yellow pages.)

I struggle with the same time constraints other independent practitioners do: Most of my professional time is dedicated to delivering on my value promise to clients. The meagre balance that remains outside of family time (all-important!) does get devoted to my own business development.

So what I shared in the post is applicable to all of us, and I have found that following my own advice (!) has paid dividends just as it has for Mr. Poniatowski (the lawyer I cited in the article.)

So, I recommend this particular Forbes.com post highly, on the recommendation of others!

 

Why Do Marketers Hate Adverbs?

In my most recent column on Forbes.com, I lamented the tendency of copywriters to bend the rules of grammar in search of “punchiness, pithiness and brevity.” This has led to the writers following rather than leading in protecting the standard of English that is acceptable as proper. The most obvious rule that gets bent or forgotten is the use of adverbs. Example:

“You should shop local” instead of “You should shop locally.”

“Buying direct saves you money” rather than “Buying directly saves you money.”

Much as a teenager might give more credence to the casual English spoken by his or her sports coaches above that of the English teacher (example: “You did good” is far more common on sports fields than “you did well.”), so poor grammar that appears multiple times in marketing materials begins to gain acceptance as “OK.”

In marketing, that can be dangerous for smaller businesses without large media budgets: You never know whether your desired prospect cares about English grammar, and will grade you down if you use casual rather than formal English in your written content (business letters, e-mails, blog posts, direct mailers, ads…). And you can’t spend millions to cement your poor grammar as acceptable.

Why take that risk? Get someone to proofread your written material to check for grammar errors, and correct them.

It only takes a few minutes, and has a lot more upside than downside:

  • People who don’t know grammar well will not notice, and not ding you for taking the time to write correctly.
  • People who do know grammar will raise and eyebrow and say “Hey, here’s an outfit that appreciates what is important to me.”

You know how hard it is to break through and make a good impression when a prospect is ready to engage with your content. Why risk a bad connection by letting poor grammar slip into your published work?

Click through to the Forbes article for more on this, including stiff rebuke of Hyundai for contributing to the eradication of the adverb from English!

Great movie. Too bad about the ending!

Great movie. Too bad about the ending!

 

Using Link-Building to Bulk Up SEO: Still a Battle Worth Fighting?

The value of generating links between your site and others still impacts your organic search results (part of a good SEO breakfast). But it takes an enormous amount of time and resources that you may not have, or cannot afford to hire.

Some link-building may still be worth pursuing, however, as it adds value to the reader of your content, and presents you as a more thoughtful content creator.

So I recommend you explore some of the 13 recommended link-building tactics in this column by Robbie Richards, who clearly spend a huge number of hours chasing substantive links for his clients.

robbie-richards

Robbie Richards taking a quick break from link-building.

By “some” I mean perhaps two. You do not want to overwhelm yourself with tasks and wear yourself out. Our pal Robbie clearly is a high-energy dynamo who doesn’t sleep, and you may not be able to match his pace. So set your own, starting with those tactics that most attract you as interesting activities that will keep your attention and stay on your to-do list.

Set appointments in your calendar with the tactics you choose. And keep those appointments just as if they were appointments will prospective clients (which, in a way, they are)!

You will see that there is a lot of outreach to real opinion/thought leaders in each of the 13 tactics listed. That is the key to creating links that Google and other search engine algorithms will value:

The sites that link to your content share your keyword sets.

Those sites have a lot of other sites linked to them that exhibit similar “real” connections.

The goal:

Pursue connections with people who have sites that seem to rank highly within your own industry profile.

Bite off only as much as you can safely digest. Add more as each tactic is mastered and bears fruit. Drop tactics that you cannot make work within a few months or so.

Let me know how it all works out!

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to select my own handful of tactics to test.