The target market for most advertising has been consumers under 30 – "Catch them while they're young." Most of the people who create advertising for the major advertising companies are under age 30. Meanwhile, the majority of the U.S. population who control most of the spending dollars are over age 50.
This disconnect has resulted in a lower return on advertising investment, because the majority of American consumers feel alienated. Advertisements aren't about their concerns and values.
This is the basic premise of David Wolfe and Robert Snyder in Ageless Advertising.
J. Walter Thompson, a major advertising company, and Market Strategies, Inc. conducted a study, called Value Portraits®, to profile the increasingly senior marketplace and help their employees better understand how to speak to its changing concerns. This book includes the results of that study, in addition to other research relating to personality and aging.
One of the things they discovered was the "Baby Boomers" have matured. (Surprise!) When describing the Boomer generation, most marketers and demographers were assuming the values of the generation would remain unchanged from when they were teenagers. They would still be a highly materialistic "me" generation. Instead, the study has shown that our concerns are more built into our DNA and biology than we thought. The values and concerns of the Baby Boomers are actually close to those of their parents and grandparents at their age.
The study also showed that Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs is largely connected with age. As children and young adults, we are mostly concerned with basic needs – establishing ourselves and our families. We are also more concerned with "keeping up with the Joneses" in our economic status and status symbols.
As we age, we become more concerned with developing ourselves spiritually and within ourselves, or Self Actualization.
Although many have thought that the Boomers would fight aging kicking and screaming, we are actually finding that most of them are accepting aging gracefully.
As the advertising companies and marketing companies have worked with the findings of the study and emphasized the values of an aging population, they were surprised to find that these messages also appealed to younger consumers. By emphasizing values, advertising could become "ageless."
Although Ageless Marketing was published in 2003, its lessons remain valuable for business owners and marketers in better understanding how the marketplace is changing and the messages that will appeal to American consumers.
Buy it on Amazon: Ageless Marketing: Strategies for Reaching the Hearts and Minds of the New Customer Majority.
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