January 23, 2017

The Crazy Logic Of Media Strategy

The more I speak to groups and conferences, the more I am convinced that either marketers are blinded by thoughtless habits or that I have no logical thought process.

In particular I am talking about how marketers ignore people over 50.

I have stated the facts here before, but just for the record, let me repeat them before I get to my argument:

Americans over 50...
  • are responsible for over half of all consumer spending
  • dominate 94% of consumer packaged goods categories
  • outspend other adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis
  • buy about 50% of all new cars
  • control about 70% of the wealth in the U.S.
  • would be the 3rd largest economy in the world, if they were a country (larger than Japan, Germany and India)
  • will grow at almost 3 times the rate of adults under 50 between now and 2030
  • are the target for 10% of marketing activity
According to the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, one baby boomer is economically worth four millennials.

When I review these facts and ask advertising and marketing people why they direct so little media at these people I invariably get some version of this answer, "We want to be a youthful brand."

Let's have a look at the logic of this.

First let's look at the logic as it relates to creative strategy. The marketing cliché is that older people want to be like young people. The argument goes that by using younger people in commercials we are creating "aspirational" imagery which will be attractive to people over 50.

I don't agree with this point of view, but I'm not going to argue with it today. For the sake of argument, let's stipulate that 50-year-olds want to be like 20-year-olds. And let's stipulate that you will sell more cars to 50-year-olds by showing them images of 20-year-olds in car commercials.


But why in the fucking world would you direct those commercials at 20 year olds? If your objective is to sell more cars, and people over 50 are 4 times as valuable to you, why in the world would your media target be millennials?

You want to use young people in your commercials? Fine, use young people. But direct the spots at the people who actually buy the fucking cars.

Is this difficult to understand? Am I crazy?

No comments: