October 09, 2014

They Promised Me A Centerfold

Here's a little piece from an article in the AARP Bulletin this month entitled  "Selling Us Short"


CaliforniaGirl500 said...

P.S. As you can see at the bottom of the article I wrote & linked, my idols are in their late 60s/early 70s. I still want to know what those women wear & how they put on make up!

UKCynic said...

So...hang on a sec, lets just work Fromm's logic through.

1. "Millenials are 2.5x more likely to be early adopters of technologies".

Okay, I'm willing to buy into that - early adopters do tend to be younger.

2. "Digital, mobile and social trends [are] created by millenials".

Again, broadly supported by wider evidence, no concerns here.

3. "Restaurants, retailers and travel categories [see older consumers as] wildly important".

Not a huge surprise, these are the
people by far with the highest income and spending potential. That shows good marketing sense.

4. "[Millenials] set trends at restaurant, retail and travel categories."

Who to the what when? These industries are letting their least valuable set of customers dictate the trends their business is going to follow? Something's going very screwy here.

5. paraphrase - "these trends are then adopted/enforced on older customers"

Yeah, that still doesn't explain why it wouldn't be better understand and target the trends your biggest customer group is actually interested in, y'know, right now.

6. "Want to be relevant to the older consumer?"

Targeting marketing activity at consumers you aren't interested in, in the hope that their preferences and trends will at some point later be adopted by your actual target customers, sounds like a recipe for irrelevance rather than relevance.

The only way this could work is if you were desperate to be at the leading edge of the latest trend in your target market (I have some sympathy for the fashion industry here), that the trends would follow from non-target consumers to target consumers (can I borrow your crystal ball?), and that you were convinced the future payoff of this future-trend prediction work would outweigh the short-term cost of not appealing to your target market.

Which, erm, almost by definition stops being your target market when you stop targeting it.

7. "You must understand the digital, social and mobile trends."

True, it is possible to rig this game in an unusual way. If the entire industry were to mis-spend its collective marketing budget targeting the wrong customers, forcing those trends on its actual target customers (whether they appreciate it or not), then the negative impacts cancel out. No-one gains any competitive advantage as a result, nor does the strategy worthless amongst its adopters.

But why would anyone recommend industries pursue such a bizarre strategy?

8. "You can't walk away from the influencer."

Ah, so they're being fed a large dose of bullshit from people they trust to advise on and influence those decisions. Well, I suppose it might be more fun (and easier) to create adverts targeting millenials if you have a lot of millenials working in your advertising agencies.

But who would seriously suggest adopting a strategy that only works if no-one points out the Emperor has no clothes?

9. "Jeff Fromm, President of [an analytical marketing consultancy focused on millenials], and [author of a book on the same subject, plus being a blogger who uses the word 'content' a lot, and advocating the idea that content marketing is the way forward now that social media marketing is, apparently, dead]"

Ah. That answers my previous question. Well, lucky no-one's rude enough to point at the Emperor, snigger about his appearance, and risk bringing the whole charade crashing down.

Oh, wait, there's an article by Bob Hoffman next to it...

Jeffrey Summers said...

Being in the restaurant & hotel business for 33 years, I can't name one trend started by Millennials. Oh, maybe he's talking about the trend of pushing the check over to dad so he can pay the bill?!

Mikko said...

You said 'ageism' instead of 'bullshit'. Censorship or self-censorship?

Cecil B. DeMille said...


So classic. So perfect. I'd frame it. You couldn't have made that millennial-peddling marketing-nozzle (borrowed term) look worse if you'd painted a penis on his forehead.

Mark Pilipczuk said...

While not quite 50, I'm definitely not a Millennial. I'm with you Bob--do I want to be youthful? Hell yes. Do I want to be young, i.e. broke? Hell no. Target me. I've got lots of money and am glad to spend it!

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Joeseph said...

It is incorrect, in my view, to ignore the power of targeting new technology products/services to millennials. History has shown that they serve as the fasted way to get to critical mass such that adoption by other demo segments will follow. (Facebook is the classic example). But there are no hard rules or other axioms - it's very much product/service dependent.

But to generalize that targeting of millennials is the key strategy for other services such as travel, retail, restaurants is entirely wrong. My sense is that both sides of this argument generalize a bit too much. The appropriate strategy needs to be situational.