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GenSights - Making Boomer Magic

Sharing generational insights to help businesses make magic with Baby Boomers

Trying To Create Marketing Messages with Meaning? Learn What’s Meaningful.

30 Lessons for LivingIt’s one of the golden rules of marketing: in order to connect with your target audience, you need to tell a story that’s meaningful to them. That’s why businesses with big budgets invest a lot of those dollars in research. But what if your company doesn’t have that kind of money? Well, if you’re lucky enough to be a business that’s targeting the senior market, I recommend spending around $15 for 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans by Cornell sociologist and gerontologist Karl Pillemer.
Pillemer is the founder of the Cornell Legacy project. In 2004, he and his researchers began to systematically collect the responses of nearly 1500 Americans age 70 and older to a single question: “What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your life?”
Though the individuals are from a broad spectrum of economic, educational, and occupational backgrounds, their beautifully insightful answers on a wide range of topics strike a similar vein. All together, they provide a wise, practical, and deeply moving guide to creating a life that’s both satisfying and successful.
The advice offered ranges from “how to be happy on a day-to-day basis, the secrets to a successful marriage, tips on raising children, ways to have a fulfilling career, strategies for dealing with illness and loss, and how to grow old fearlessly and well”.  You’ll learn what’s given these “wise elders” joy over the course of a lifetime, as well as what they regret. In a word, you’ll learn what’s meaningful.
The insights you’ll gain as you develop a deeper understanding of what really matters to people in this stage of life can make you a better person. They’ll also help you be a better marketer; one who is able to ascertain the meaningful benefits your product or service provides to this market—and craft more powerful stories to explain those benefits.

Best of all, this is not only relevant to elders. The research I’ve read on Boomers indicates that this cohort holds many of the same attitudes about what’s really meaningful in life. According to a recent U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, those age 50+ have $2.4 trillion in annual income, which accounts for 42% of all after-tax income. Now, wouldn’t that be meaningful to your business?

– written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Connecting with your target audience, Senior Market, gerontologist, targeting the senior market, Lessons for Living

It’s Who They Are and What They Do. Not How Old They Are.

Can’t believe it’s the beginning of 2012. Last year at this time, everyone (including Gen-Sights) was getting all excited about the first Baby Boomers turning 65.

But if anything, this past year has once again reinforced for us that our culture’s fixation with age is very misplaced. As Boomer experts (and Boomers themselves) have been saying forever—or so it seems—let’s get past the obsession with demographics like 18-34, etc. and focus on what should really matter to marketers: who people are and what they do.

So resolve to change your thinking. What need does your product or service fulfill? How do people really use what you offer? How does it help them live better? What are the stories that satisfied users tell about your product or service? (Also, what are the stories that any dissatisfied customer might tell?) If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re never going to find your target audience’s “sweet spot” — let alone know how to genuinely connect with them.

In early December, when Talbots became the target of a takeover bid, The Boston Globe asked a cross section of fashion industry experts to suggest how the retailer should go about reinvigorating its brand. Interestingly, only one used that tired old cliché about targeting a younger audience with more “body conscious silhouettes”. The others urged the company to become more tuned into who their customers are and what they really want beyond the career clothes that Talbots is known for. In other words, search out their stories.

Communications consultant Thelar Pekar gave a lecture at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications entitled, "Why Story Matters”. Though her talk was targeted to young people just beginning their careers in business communications, what she had to say should resonate with marketers of any age – trying to connect with customers of any age:

“Businesses are starting to understand that in a complex market, dealing with complex topics and complex people, story elicitation results in greater and deeper insights. Whether you are working to communicate a message to customers or the needs of customers to your future bosses, consider applying story as a tool for conveying complex emotions and truth.”

Those “greater and deeper insights” that you can gain through sharing and listening to your customers’ stories can form the basis for communications that truly resonate and inspire. And if you do that, you may find out that you don’t need a younger audience to grow your business, you just need a better story.

Happy New Year!

– written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, customer stories, insights, grow your business