Sunday, July 19, 2009

Get Them While They're Old

(Times Square 1909)

According to McKinsey Consulting, by 2010 50% of all consumer spending in America will be by people over the age of 50.

(The) advertising parlance (…) called the "sweet spot” (…) is people aged 18 to 34. Ninety percent of today's marketing dollars are spent trying to reach this group. (…) Which makes perfect sense. Or at least it did in 1975.

Because in 1975, people 18 to 34 were smack in the middle of the baby boom. They (…) were the largest group of consumers in history with the most money to spend in history. In the '70's and '80's and even some of the '90's, boomers could make or break a brand.

30 years later, the (…) boomer group is still the largest group of consumers with the most money to spend. But their average age is 53, not remotely in (…) sights of most marketers.
(N)ationwide research by AARP shows that the majority of consumers over 50 feels that advertising and marketing either portrays them negatively or ignores them altogether.

The issue at hand is that some people are saying advertisers and marketers are wasting time and money trying to reach young people, and not enough time trying to reach old people. The facts seem to add up: 50+ people have more disposable income, they watch more TV, they buy more cars etc. I agree with all of this, but not 100%.

It's true that reaching a younger audience is harder today than it was before. It's also true that they typically have less disposable income, however, these people won't be young forever. If we successfully reach them at this early stage, then maybe as the years go by they will become more loyal to whatever product they used when they were younger (or at least be more aware of the product). So, hypothetically, it isn't a complete waste, right?

The article above is a recent one on MediaPost. If you have time, you should read the full article and then follw up with this post from AdContrarian back in 2007. It totally debunks my theory haha. Here's an excerpt:

The worst and perhaps most pervasive rationale for targeting young people is the notion that if you get them young you’ll have them for life. This is the idiotic “lifetime value” argument that spawned the dearly departed “new economy.” Someone please show me one 50-year-old who drives the same car, drinks the same beverages, wears the same clothes, or eats the same food he did at 16. I mean, besides my brother-in-law.

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