Zoomers and Boomers: Are you listening?

Contributed by Dayna Neumann

Zoomers and Boomers make up the largest, most affluent and influential market in U.S. history.   According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Zoomers and Boomers, the population born between 1946 and 1964, totals 77 million in the U.S. alone.  Today, 35 million people in the U.S. are over the age of 65 and by 2035 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65.  We all know this group is a big deal, but check out their buying power.

The economic impact of Zoomers and Boomers:

  • Control over 80% of personal financial assets in the United States
  • Control more than 50% of discretionary spending power
  • Responsible for more than half of all consumer spending in the United States
  • Buy 77% of all prescription drugs sold in the United States
  • Buy 61% of all over the counter medication sold in the United States
  • Purchase 80% of all leisure travel

What is your strategy for reaching this profound demographic?  We suggest exploring options beyond the same old tired channels of phone, television, newspapers and magazines.

According to a Neilson study, 7.9 million Seniors visited Facebook in 2009 – catapulting the social networking site to the third most popular online destination for this demographic.  For perspective, in 2008, Facebook was forty-fifth among sites visited by Seniors.  This stratospheric rise of Facebook use among Seniors is a clear indicator of an engaged demographic embracing social media.  So what are marketers doing differently to communicate with this vast $20 Trillion market?

In our business, we have seen our health insurance clients embracing multi-channel marketing techniques to reach their Senior members and prospects.  A few new favorites include:

  • Personalized URLs (PURLs)
  • Micro sites
  • Email campaigns
  • QR Codes

When these digital efforts are coupled with more traditional channels like print, campaigns are highly effective in reaching a health aware audience like the Zoomers and Boomers.  What we don’t know is how well our clients are listening to their social media outlets to influence these campaign decisions.  If they are listening intently and using digital media to react quickly and change up messaging, chances are they are realizing the benefits of improved customer acquisition and retention.

Beyond the meteoric rise in Social networking awareness, other technology-enabled communications are seeing similar changes in Senior adoption.  Fast Company reported in their June 2011 issue that email usage by Seniors was up 28% from 2009 to 2010.  On the other end of the demographic spectrum, teens abandoned the medium to the tune of a 59% drop in email usage during the same time period.  Marketers, brand managers, product developers, listen up – Seniors want electronic communication and they have the time and buying power to impact your bottom line.

Do you have a strategy that incorporates multi-channel communication to Seniors and emerging Seniors?  Are you able to quickly and easily change messaging based on social media trends and market conditions?

Dayna Neumann is Vice President of Marketing + Strategy at FetterGroup.  She helps customers increase revenues and attract more members by developing innovative software tools and multi-channel marketing campaigns.  Creating fans is Dayna’s mission.


Curves Ahead: Managing Speed to Market

Contributed by Terry Gill

As a kid, I was fascinated with cars.  I can remember sitting in the back seat of my fathers Chevy studying each passing car, memorizing its name, shape and sound.  I’d then test myself on long rides to guess the make and model of on-coming traffic.

Like most boys, I was interested in how fast each car could go and looked to the speedometer as an indicator for performance.  It was years before my Dad explained that top speed was just one aspect of a cars total performance.  Going fast in a straight line is great as long as you never encountered a curve.

This is a great metaphor for how we consider the speed to market advantages digital print advertises.  It’s not a straight line – curves are inevitable.

A critical part of the overall speed equation is the output device or print engine, but it’s not the only thing to consider.   The content management framework is ultimately the best indicator of overall speed.

If you can’t effectively manage the creation, editing and archiving of your marketing assets, how fast it gets printed is the least of your concerns.  There is little doubt that the sheer complexity of this part of the solution is tougher to solve for than a fast print engine.

Of the several pre-packaged content management solutions on the market, many of them feature robust digital asset management features and some provide trafficking and proofing options.  Unfortunately, few contemplate the need to tie all of these functions together.  Like curves in the road, changes inevitably affect the path of any document.  The real power lies of any content management system lies in providing the user the ability to customize the workflow for their business needs.  This kind of flexibility allows companies to remain competitive and adaptive.

In SKU or document intensive marketing environments, advanced search and editing is the most critical feature set to consider.   After all, I can’t print it until I can find and update every version that contains a particular word phrase or graphic.

If you’re seriously considering a digital workflow for its potential speed to market advantages, be sure to think through the entire solution, curves and all.  Let’s face it – if the markets that are most ideally suited to leverage the advantages of digital print were all straight lines things would be much simpler, and ultimately, less profitable.

How have you prepared for the curves ahead?