Beyond digital and what many CMOs should be considering putting into their 2018 strategic plan

Baby boomer

Last year I wrote a piece called 3 Customer Groups That Are Being Overlooked In The Customer Experience Whirlwind. In it I ventured that there were a number of different groups of customers (The Rich Elders, The Private and The Quick) that weren’t getting a lot of attention.

One of those groups, The Rich Elders, came into focus again for me recently in a conversation with Bruce Fielding, founder of Sterling.Agency, an agency that focuses on helping brands engage with over 50’s.

In my article, I quoted research that showed that, particularly in western economies, this group of customers often hold the majority of the wealth and disposable income. However, in my conversation with Bruce he shared some other statistics that further highlighted the extent of the missed opportunity that is facing many brands:

  • The over 50s age group accounts for nearly 24million people in the UK, which represents 35% of the total population. That number, according to Neilsen is set to rise to 50% in the next five years.
  • Moreover, the over 50’s account for 47% of consumer expenditure, hold 80% of personal wealth, buy 60% of new cars and control 70% of all disposable income.
  • Yet, only 5% of all ad spend is targeted at the over 50’s.

Now, given these statistics, does it make sense that only 5% of all ad spend is targeted at the over 50’s?

Bruce Fielding, founder of Sterling Agency, doesn’t think so and thinks that something needs to change:

“The rationale is compelling. There are more people with more disposable income and more social influence over fifty than in any other demographic. They understand marketing, they’re loyal, they have the cash and they want to spend it. They just need to have explained what it is they’re buying. Something that the 30-somethings working in today’s agencies don’t seem to appreciate. Plus, a pathetic percentage of ad spend is targeted at them and that needs to change.”

So, with such a clear demographic being under-served what is going on within organizations?

Why is this group getting ignored?

A recent article in AdAge by Simon White, chief strategy officer of FCB West, offers a clue to what might be happening. He suggests that marketers in recent years have become too obsessed with digital marketing, short-termism, quarterly results and the pursuit of ROI.

That’s all very well but it is to the detriment and exclusion of The Rich Elders, many of whom are not very digitally savvy and are resolute in their desire to be able to engage with and conduct business face to face, over the phone or via other traditional channels and media.

However, many brands, like Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Motorola, have started to express concerns with this obsessive focus on digital marketing and short term ROI and the negative impact it has on their long term brand building and engagement efforts. In fact, one of those brands, P&G, has been spurred into action and, in the summer, announced that it had slashed it’s digital budget by $140 million.

In doing so, however, its sales went up.

So, what should marketing leaders do?

They need to remember that different customer groups have different channel preferences and some of them may not be digital.

That just because a digital channel offers a great ability to measure the ROI of a campaign does not mean that it is the right channel.

They also need to remember that the “3 Ms of Marketing” are the Market, the Message and the Medium (in that order!) and not the Medium, the Message and the Market, which is a trap that many fall into.

Overall, I believe it is time for marketing leaders to take some of those digital marketing budgets, take a longer term view and re-orient themselves and their brands towards demographics, like The Rich Elders, that are waiting to be talked to and engaged with.

Is that going to be something that you are putting in your 2018 strategic plan? It should be.

 

 

 

This post was originally published on Forbes.com here.

Thanks to pixabay for the image.

2 comments On Beyond digital and what many CMOs should be considering putting into their 2018 strategic plan

  • >Moreover, the over 50’s account for 47% of consumer expenditure, hold 80% of personal wealth, buy 60% of new cars and control 70% of all disposable income.

    Wow, these numbers are incredible. I would have never guessed numbers like this, although it’s kind of a “well duh, yeah” once you think about it.

    Do you think maybe older people aren’t targeted with advertising as much because younger people are easier to manipulate via ads? I just have trouble believing that if there’s so much money to be made advertising to older people, that marketers would have just left all that money sitting on the table for no good reason.

    • Hi John, that’s a great question and I think there are a whole series of factors at play here…..what’s new, what’s measurable, what’s hard, what’s easier, the impact of new technology etc etc. However, what doesn’t change is the fact…..they have the majority of the money and assets but are not getting much attention. Let’s see if any thing changes.

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