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.

Talk to Me. I’ll Be Your Biggest Fan.

#1 Fan

Contributed by Hannah Beasley

When I get something in the mail, I expect it to be relevant to me. Even if the piece is not personalized with my name, I expect the ad to be offering me something I need or at least something I may want. It needs to be relevant, unique, and timely. I’m in my 20s. If you send me an advertisement for a nursing home, clearly it’s not relevant, much less unique or timely, and I’m going to throw it away.

The same rule generally applies to every advertisement or offer I am exposed to. The average American is exposed to over 2000 advertising messages each day. Some people would argue that advertising has become the most powerful educational force in today’s society. Our brains are constantly living in a place of information overload, as we are now faced with offers on the Internet, on TV, and in the mailbox every day at an alarming rate. My generation has grown up with an unprecedented amount of exposure to advertising, and as a result, we have an uncanny ability to completely ignore messages right in front of our faces.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I ignore over 40,000 SKUs. If I go to Walmart Supercenter, it’s likely that I’ll ignore nearly 100,000 SKUs (and become extremely irritated with the long checkout lines). I cannot possibly process all of the offerings I encounter, so if my brain is trained to ignore 99% of all messages that I am exposed to each year, how do some marketers manage to get through to me? And yes, there are a few that get through.

First and foremost, the offering must be RELEVANT to me. As I mentioned before, if it’s not relevant, I’m throwing it away. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Because of my background, my work, and the fact that I’ve grown up in a media-crazed society, I know that advertisers CAN make their promotions relevant to me, and I expect them to. Facebook (although creepy) does a great job of using their knowledge of my profile as the basis for serving up RELEVANT offers. During the months when my relationship status was marked as “engaged” a few years ago, my Facebook page was constantly serving up ads to support the 40 billion dollar wedding industry. If I see wedding ads now, I completely ignore them. However, in that brief period of time while I was planning my wedding, I actually considered the advertisements (well, at least some of them). Facebook was tactfully using their knowledge of my demographics to serve up RELEVANT offerings (and charge more for these targeted ads). Serving up relevance means promoting your offer to the right person at the right time. If you’re not doing this, you’re wasting your time. The “spray & pray” method commonly used in direct mail campaigns of the past is over.

In addition to being relevant, the offering must be UNIQUE. The product itself doesn’t have to be entirely unique, but the advertisement must at least show me something truly compelling. It could just be the presentation and design that’s compelling, or it could be the inherent features of the product. Whatever the case, I know that my brain is designed to dismiss offerings that are identical to five other offers I have already seen.

Lastly, the offering must be TIMELY. I still cannot understand why so many web addresses are printed on billboards. When I see a billboard, I’m probably driving. Yes, I occasionally check a quick email or give a yes/no response to a text while driving, but I am never going to enter a web address on my mobile phone to access a website as prompted by a billboard… all while blasting down I-65. If you want someone to visit your website, make it simple for them by allowing them to scan a QR code, or by sending them an email with the web address link. If you expect your target market to spend a few minutes reviewing your offering, present it when you expect they have some leisure time. Make your prospecting calls on Friday afternoon when you know most people are starting to wrap up their work for the week. Avoid asking anyone for their time on a Monday. Try to meet with people in person and outside of the office to avoid distractions and to gain some ever-fleeting undivided attention. Once again, I’ll return to Facebook. The Social Media King is the perfect place to advertise, because site visitors are likely logged on to kill some spare time. Users are browsing and clicking through things they find interesting, and this is exactly what the advertisers want. It’s much easier to integrate your offering into what your prospect is already doing than it is to ask them to change their plans and pay attention to you.

So, what is the true measure of success? An exceptional advertisement will compel me to SHARE my experience with the offering with others. At Fetter, we talk a lot about not just having clients or “users” of our software – we’re on a mission to create Fans. Fans love you. They talk about you. They tell their friends about you. They influence others. They forgive you when you have hiccups. They know you’re the best partner. They know you add value and make their lives better.

If your offer is RELEVANT, UNIQUE, and TIMELY, your clients and prospects will remember it. And with any luck, you will have a stadium full of fans before you know it.

You Had Me At Hello: Creating Great First Impressions

Contributed by Dayna Neumann

How do you know you made a great first impression?

They remember your name.  They take your calls.  They buy from you.  They buy from you again.  They send a shout-out Tweet recommending you to their network.  The uncomfortable truth is, in business, we may not know the quality of our first impression in time to do anything meaningful about it.

So how do you guarantee the best possible first impression?  For me, it’s all about the experience.  No matter the channel – sales reps, customer service, websites, packaging, products, signage, business cards – you must be prepared to make the best possible first impression.

That Sounds Expensive

Managing good first impressions does not require a Lebron James PR budget.  Orchestrating consistent, impressive first impressions starts with awareness.  Be aware of your communication channels and all the ways potential clients interact with your company.  If you start with awareness you may reveal areas for improvement and missed opportunities.

Help Me Help You

Do you make it easy for customers to socialize?  Do you give them a simple way to tell you what they like, what they don’t like and to share all of these feelings with their network?  If you answered no, you are missing a major opportunity to capture new market share.  Again, this doesn’t have to be a major investment.  Slap a QR (quick response) code on a portion of your next label run and have it point to your Twitter page.  Ask your customers to give you instant feedback on why they chose your product.  Test an incentive like a discount coupon or a product give away and see if people need a little extra encouragement to engage the campaign.  Capture the metrics, read the posts, react accordingly, repeat the parts that worked, get lots of new customers, make buckets of money.  Creating ways for your existing customers to help you attract new customers does not have to break your marketing budget and you will have entered a brave new world of first impressions.

Channel Surfing

Let’s consider another scenario where your product is the channel to create a first impression.  For many companies, a web-based application like a storefront is the first interaction someone has with your company.  For us, we have cloud, or hosted products that our customers make available to their employees to help them do their job – like initiating marketing campaigns or managing label inventories.  In these situations it is your product that establishes the first impression with an entire user community.  Again, you must be aware of the customer experience and continue to ask yourself if the experience is the best it can possibly be.  Do you allow your customers to socialize about the experience and the product?  Are you listening and reacting?  Are your channels working hard for you and each other?

You Had Me At Hello

So who is killing the product-based first impression and who is nailing the internet first impression?  37 Signals and Prezi are two companies doing both incredibly well.  I won’t cloud your judgment with my opinions here.  So go out to their sites, have your own first impression and report back in the comments on what your first impressions are of these two companies and their products.  Are they giving a firm handshake or a limp fish?

Because if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind

Contributed by Hannah Beasley

Simply stated, innovation drives progress. Even if the innovations aren’t your own.

Take a look at these top innovations and trends in packaging that we’ve spotted lately for an instant rejuvenation of your own imagination and your weekly dose of in-the-know.

Innovation: Products Reinvented

Fresh Packaging Ideas

1 – Mario Olives has taken a classic garnish and reinvented it as a snack food, brilliantly marketed as snack size – “Packed loose without the juice!” [Packaging World]

2 – Picture a product with packaging so compelling that consumers buy it simply for the packaging. Canned Air, available for sale on Etsy.com for just $4.99 is exactly that. [The Dieline]

The Look: Clean & SimpleClean Package Package Design

3 – Good Co. simply states the idea of Good Coffee & Good Company with a simple and elegant look. [Lovely Package]

4 – Vale Ale sets itself apart by entering the marketplace as a chic and contemporary Australian beer. [The Dieline]

Lead Innovator: PepsiCo

Pepsi Innovations

5 – Pepsi’s new 100% plant based bottle is breaking new grounds in the world of sustainable packaging, proving that a label and the package wearing it can both go green. [Greener Package]

6 – QR codes are sweeping the nation, and it’s no surprise that PepsiCo is a thought-leader by implementing QR codes to promote their loyalty programs and drive consumers toward more brand engagement.

Labels, packages, and the world of consumer packaged goods is constantly evolving. So which packaging innovations are shaking the way you do business?

Let’s take a closer look at QR codes and how you can use them effectively on your labels. QR codes are designed to bridge the gap from print to the web, allowing companies to measure and increase consumer engagement. Not sure exactly what this means for you? Here’s our best rundown:

When QR codes are scanned, they take consumers to links on the web – this means you can direct your consumers to additional content that won’t fit directly on the package, or you can send them to a page where they can take an action such as participating in a rewards program. You could also direct them to your social media presence, display a promotional page, or point to a contest entry form. The possibilities are really endless, but the most important thing is to make sure that the landing page is mobile friendly. Since you already know that the page is being visited on a mobile phone, pointing a consumer to your standard desktop-friendly-only webpage is bound to cause frustration and will be highly ineffective.

Still not sure how you can make QR codes work for your label? Find a partner who can help you get started, and use these ideas to begin thinking forward!

  • Add a QR code to your paint label that directs consumers to online videos with tips and tricks for painting
  • Include a QR code on your distilled spirits bottle and let ambassadors earn rewards for brand loyalty
  • Use a QR code on canned goods labels to direct grocery shoppers to online recipes and cooking tips

Be inspired. Be innovative.

Contributed by Hannah Beasley