Two different studies – same message?

By Steven Bauer

Last month, the Center for Media Research posted an article on their blog titled, “More Gray, More Affluent, More Internet Shopping” , which looked at the results of a survey conducted by The Media Audit. The survey was conducted in more than 80 metropolitan markets.

Some key takeaways from the study included:
· The number of adults over the age of 50 with annual incomes of $50,000 or more has increased from 17.0 million in 2004 to 22.3 million in the past five years.
· In the past 12 months, 65.6% of these people made at least one purchase online, up from 50.2% in 2004.
· 62.4% of the “graying and affluent” households have incomes greater than $75,000

If marketers are ignoring this market, they’re missing out big time on a potentially very profitable group.

In contrast, on May 6, Joe Marchese posted a blog on Online Spin titled, “Meet the ‘New’ in New Media Consumer”. In it, he responds to a paper that discussed the new crop of consumers and how they interact with brands today, “Consumer 2.0: Five Rules to Engaging a New Breed of Consumer.” The paper states the five rules include: authenticity trumps celebrity, niche is the new norm, bite size communication dominates, personal utility drives adoption, and consumers own brands.

Mr. Marchese states in his post, “Look at all five rules from the perspective of putting more power in the hands of individual people. People control the ability to influence peers as much as, if not more than, celebrities. People demand relevance from brands looking to enter highly niched communities. People want to consume and share conveniently sized messages. People adopt what is most personally useful to them. . . People will define your brand.”

His conclusion, which he describes as “not-so-brilliant, border-line obvious” – Treat your message like a product.

So, how do you proceed?

1. Read the postings mentioned above as well as the research paper.
2. Understand the intentionality behind the five rules. My favorite is, “Niche is the New Norm – Consumers 2.0 do not form a mass market. They relish in choices and look for products and services that speak to them personally.” (I mention this below as well.)
3. Practice the five rules for creating, managing and optimizing online campaigns.

Niche is the New Norm – mass marketing the same message to all groups of people is not going to work anymore for anyone, not just the Gen Y’ers. It is imperative to understand who the audience is, what they are interested in, why they should care, and how your brand is going to help them. People are looking for choices, and not just any choices – but choices that appeal to them at any age.

Maybe the simple message is to be aware and pay attention.


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