November 10, 2010

Beating Their Heads Against The Wall

For several years now, we at Ad Contrarian Global Headquarters have been ranting about the astonishing stupidity of marketers for relentlessly chasing young people and ignoring people over 50.

Just to recap the case:
  • People over 50 control over 75% of the financial assets of the US.
  • Baby boomers dominate 94% of all consumer packaged goods categories.
  • They purchase almost 40% of consumer packaged goods
  • They account for 1/3 of all TV viewers, online users, social media users and Twitter users
  • Even in technology categories, where marketers assume young people dominate, baby boomers  "are purchasing at rates just as high as other segments, and because they are often buying for their kids, many are double-dipping.
The astounding part: according to Nielsen, less than 5% of advertising is aimed at people over 50.

Apparently NBC is going to make a big presentation tomorrow to marketers and agencies about how stupid they are for ignoring people over 50. All I can say to NBC is, good luck.

For the past 10 years the lemmings in the marketing world have been trapped between the legends and rituals of the past, and the brave new world of the future. They are too busy jumping from one "thing that will change everything" to another to pay attention to the people who actually spend the world's money. They are too busy developing mobile apps for penniless 20-year olds to focus on the people who control this country economically.

According to NBC...
  • The 55-64 age group " the fastest-growing demo group in the country and now numbers 35 million people that account for close to $2 trillion in annual spending.”
  • Nielsen's demo groups...“were invented 50 years ago and are outdated.”
  • People 55-64 have..."a median household income of  $69,000, dwarfing that of those under 25 ($27,000) and 25-34 ($58,000)..."
Nielsen doesn't even report the TV viewership of people over 55.

NBC ceo Jeff Zucker said, "What we’d like to see is these companies and their agencies start targeting (the 55-64 group) as much as they do the 18-34 demo...”

Yeah. In your dreams.

Anyone who has spent one week in an ad agency knows that facts no longer matter, and the minute you start talking to clients about targeting people over 50 is the minute they start labeling you a "dinosaur."

I recently was at a meeting with a financial institution at which I tried to explain to them how ridiculous their strategy of targeting young people was. They looked at me like I had 3 heads.

The marketing industry is locked into a way-out-of-date time warp in which young people are the holy grail.

If anything, it's getting worse.

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