One of the great truisms of marketing is that a good deal of consumer behavior makes no sense.
While we often go out of our way to scour Google for the lowest prices and the best reviews, we also frequently behave in ways that defy common sense. When it comes to buying stuff, or any other human behavior for that matter, we are not logic machines.
Back when I worked on Toyota, there was a great example of this. The Toyota Corolla was built at a plant here in California that was a joint venture between Toyota and Chevrolet. In addition to the Corolla, the plant also built the Chevy Geo Prism, which was the exact same car as the Corolla.
The Prism was built on the same line, by the same people, in the same plant as the Corolla. The only difference was that at the end of the line someone would either put a Corolla badge or a Prism badge on the car. The Corolla cost $1,500 more than the Prism, yet it outsold it 3 to 1.
We in the ad business are always reminding our clients that consumer behavior is not always rational. We lecture them on the importance of emotion as a factor in buying decisions and brand preferences. We explain to them that an ad is not a court case in which the best argument wins.
And yet, while we are exquisitely sensitive to the illogical nature of consumer behavior, we are completely oblivious to illogical behavior in our own business decisions. Our business decisions are just as illogical and just as governed by emotions as consumer buying decisions.
Last week I spent a few days in San Diego attending conferences that, in part, were about marketing to people over 50.
As you may know, a large part of my consulting these days is explaining to the flat tires in mainstream marketing how much money they're pissing away by ignoring the people with all the cash.
At one conference, sponsored by the American Society on Aging, I was on the faculty (I was a presenter) and at the other, called the Boomer Summit I was a "reporter" (these days, I'm not sure if that's a promotion from "blogger" or a demotion.)
To give you an example of how astoundingly illogical the marketing and advertising industries are, I think this one fact will do it:
If people over 50 in the U.S. were a country, they would be the third largest economy in the world:They are bigger economically than Japan, or Germany, or Martin Sorrell. They buy 62% of all new cars and 55% of consumer package goods. And yet, they are the target for only 5% of US advertising.
3. Americans over 50
We in advertising and marketing have all kinds of fairy stories and stupid bullshit excuses for why we don't advertise to these people. In fact, the truth is we don't advertise to them for reasons that are completely illogical and fully emotional.
- We don't like being associated with old people
- We like to feel young and hip
- We can't build a career on success marketing to older people
- Consequently, we have invented all kinds of bullshit reasons why we ignore them
Pathetic Excuse For Laziness...
I am in the middle of a heavy travel schedule and will be posting intermittently over the next month.