- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Kaplan Business (November 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0793177553
- ISBN-13: 978-0793177554
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ageless Marketing: Strategies for Reaching the Hearts and Minds of the New Customer Majority
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Top Customer Reviews
I've been in marketing and advertising for 20 years --- I've worked with some of the most sophisticated brands --- I know what makes a sound business proposition, and I've seen companies desperate to find a way to build their sales and profitability. And yet I've never heard a business exec say, "You know - we really should be taking a look at the mature market."
Instead, what I HAVE witnessed is an obstinate blindness about what is clearly THE market opportunity of the next two decades. With baffling consistency, the marketing press is full of companies trumpeting their initiatives to capture the youth market. Brands well-established in the high-quality, high-income, mature market segment fervently re-invent themselves to appeal to more youthful consumers.
Mercedes, for example - a brand which virtually owned the "I've been working for 20 years and I've earned it" upper end of the auto market - has been diluting their valuable brand equity by introducing little mini-Mercedes cheap enough for young people to afford. Toyota - with executives wringing their hands over the fact that the average age of their buyer base is 46 - gallops off to build the Scion, intended to be sort of a college dorm room on wheels. (Ironically, they've found the Scion average buyers are well into their mid-30s.)
Every single week Ad Age and Brandweek have some article bemoaning TV's declining ability to reach the "highly coveted demographic of men 18-34." Who covets this audience? Beer and pizza makers, perhaps - other than that, and maybe motorcycles - in what categories are they the primary buyers? And advertising agencies stubbornly continue to limit the upper end of their media segmentation to 54 years old ("Women, 25-54"). What are they thinking --- everyone suddenly drops dead at 55?
On the contrary, as demonstrated so clearly and convincingly by this book, Ageless Marketing. The numbers are unassailable - Over the next two decades, the ranks of 50+ consumers will swell like a tsunami while the number of under 50 consumers will dribble to a trickle and then actually decline.
Not only that, but it shouldn't be news to anyone that older people have more money than younger people - a lot more. And in case you're thinking they hoard it under a mattress, know that their per capita spending averages 2.5 times the levels of younger people. In the automotive business, an article published recently in the Wall Street Journal said: On average, over the "lifetime" of a household, the individuals in that household buy 13 cars; seven of them - the majority - are bought after the head of household reaches 50 years of age.
So let me get this straight, Mercedes: you're going to enrich your brand by leaving your traditional older, wealthy buyer base behind in order to chase after a market segment that is shrinking and has no money?! Toyota - you're actually concerned that your brand is strongest among consumers that buy more cars and have more money?
The Baby Boomers once didn't trust anyone over thirty. Now there isn't a one of them that isn't over forty. Times have changed! In a way, times have gone back to normal. During what other period in history have teens and 20-somethings been the driving forces in commerce or culture? Revolutions, sure; they're always the driving forces in revolutions. But in commerce, they're not. They're kids for crying out loud - they don't have any money!!
It's remarkably difficult to break our culture's absolute conviction that young consumers are every marketer's best prospect. They're not. And until we all get that through our heads, we're going to continue to miss some major market opportunities.
Ageless Marketing not only helps you get it through your head, but it helps you understand that when you do market to older consumers, you need to change your ways. Older consumers screen communications differently, process information differently, respond based on different life priorities and selection preferences.
David Wolfe and Robert Snyder understand those differences, and help readers get in touch with what they need to do to act on them. Their wealth of experience and insight are apparent, and there are tons of examples and ideas that make it easy to understand how to apply what they're saying.
Obviously this is a topic I think is important. Thank heavens there's finally a book that collects all the facts and crystallizes the thinking! I give copies to my clients, and recommend it to my co-workers all the time. My own copy is dog-eared and marked up and so full of notes it's almost hard to read any more. I guess I'll just have to buy another copy!
Occasionally, someone comes up with an original insight that revolutionizes marketing communications. The brand positioning idea, spawned by Jack Trout and Al Ries in 1972, illustrates such a bellwether paradigm shift.
Ageless Marketing is a paradigm shift, not just for one scintillating idea, but also for dozens of conceptual breakthroughs that will influence the nature of 21st century marketing communications.
David Wolfe shatters the youth-centric foundation of contemporary marketing communications by pointing to unassailable demographic facts: people 40 and older now outnumber 18- to 39-year-olds by 123 million to 85 million; by 2010, the margin will become 138 million to 87 million.
Survival for many products and services depends on their custodians successfully embracing, as Wolfe calls it, the New Customer Majority. Ignore this clarion call and risk extinction. As the author decrees: "The sweet spot for the next decade will be 45- to 64-year olds."
Wolfe then introduces and richly illustrates new ways of selling successfully to an aging population. Positing fresh insights drawn from human biology, motivational psychology and neuroscience, he deftly obliterates outdated, product-centric beliefs that govern marketing hegemony today.
For example, instead of selling with product benefits - which worked during the bygone era of a youth-dominated society - marketers must now reveal a brand's gestalt emotionally, yet ambiguously, so each customer completes the brand's definition within an individuated context.
This approach addresses the very nature of mature minds existing in a time of product and service over-capacity. Contrary to popular opinion, today's brands must speak rather than shout.
The New Customer Majority responds favorably to experiential segmentation rather than classic demographic or psychographic segmentation. Instead of designing advertising programs to appeal to base self-interest, marketers will be more effective if their product messages point toward the nearly universal quest for self-actualization. Appealing to unique customer-segment values is far more durable than appealing to group behaviors or demographic generalizations.
On this point, co-author Robert Snyder unveils the Value Portraits of Americans older than 45. The sophisticated (and once highly proprietary) research describes 17 different Portraits or psychological profiles of mature consumers, based on primary and enduring values. This segmentation approach has been useful in tailoring marketing messages, as the author adroitly illustrates with a campaign for an outdated retirement community. By paying close attention to Value Portraits for current and prospective community members, his creative team successfully transformed the image of a home for the very elderly into a revitalized community for active adults.
Why read this book before any of the other marketing books recently or soon-to-be published?
Authors Wolfe and Snyder have tapped a veritable marketing wellspring by squarely addressing the changing needs and priorities of an aging population. They propose new ways to reach and motivate the more introspective, individuated and autonomous mature mind. They defend their conjectures and conclusions with pertinent marketing case studies, scientific research and ... call it wisdom borne of deep thought.
Ageless Marketing is that infrequent achievement of marketing discovery packaged with sound analysis. The implications for your business surely will lead to a confident "ah-ha"!
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