"Consumer brands are missing the boat on millions of dollars in potential revenue thanks to ad buyers’ misperceptions about the 55-plus demographic, says the president of a consulting firm that aims to help companies do a better job of reaching affluent boomers."
Read the article. He's right and it's about time someone said all this, but I don't think he goes far enough.
Remember the movie Network, from 1976? Watch this clip to bring it all back. Netflix, are you listening? Just watching that clip -- wow, absolutely NOTHING has changed in 41 -- yeah, FORTY-ONE! -- years! Might be time to bring it back, yes?
I was an extra in the TV studio audience in the movie, yelling out, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it anymore!" (FYI, you can just barely see me and my BF at 0:09 in the lower left: the lights are shining off Michael's bald head, I'm just to his right.)
Well, I AM mad as hell, and have been for a long, long time. Here's my New Year's resolution a week early: no more being nicey-nice and mealy-mouthed -- and if I offend anyone, well, just maybe you need to be offended. Here's me yelling out loud and clear:
Man, these people are so missing the boat, and I'm surrounded by them everywhere I go. Arrogance and ignorance out the yin-yang. I'll tell you, though, if you really want to effect change and wake these people up, you need to stop being so polite about it.
I'm almost 66, get a pension, still alive and kicking, work full time self-employed plus run my own jewellery business and look after my mother, and I and everyone I know have (at least some) money to burn. But you know what? NOBODY seems to want it.
Along with doing transcription, I make jewellery these days, and I do a good trade in custom jewellery and alterations for kids and grownups into their 90s. Yeah, kids. Kids and teenagers LOVE my stuff (and their parents are so freakin' grateful). I'm a vendor and instructor at The Gem Expo in Toronto three times a year, and 20 and 30-somethings tell me all the time that not only do I have the coolest booth design at the show, I have the best stuff anywhere in Toronto. Yep, I do weird. People love weird.
Why do they buy from me? Because my jewellery FITS whether they're a size 0 or size 100 (novel concept, I know), it's flattering and the right proportion to aging, sagging necks and changing body types. How do I manage that? All my jewellery is alterable.
But mostly, I listen to what they want and need. What these marketers don't seem to get is listening to what people have to say is what will encourage them to buy. Don't give them a questionnaire asking impossible-to-answer questions confirming the company's own biases. I used to work for Angus Reid. I know stupid questionnaires when I see them.
I was in Toronto this summer. Went to the Bay/Sak's to see what they had. Zip, zero, nada, unless you planned to spend 24/7 in the Entertainment District and wear over-priced size 2 frilly nothings the entire time. The whole store was filled with this crap -- what? Six floors, seven floors? -- sitting UNSOLD -- and, even better, not a customer in sight.
Seriously? Disregard demographics -- and reality! -- at your peril, people.
Another thing these 20 and 30-something marketers (and newspapers, ahem) need to do is STOP designing websites that have teensy faint flyspecks for type. When I see that, I'm gone -- and I'm not alone. I buy a ton of stuff for my jewellery business online; as soon as I see those flyspecks, I'm gone. I started out life as a typographer and typesetter. My ads sell; "design" today repels.
When you have a salesperson visibly in-your-face rejecting you when you want to buy something just because you have grey hair, holy moley... it is mortifying and infuriating all balled up into one big hunk of rage, sorrow and shame -- yes, shame -- and you will Never. Ever. Shop. There. Again.
THIS is what marketing is all about today.
Get Jeff Weiss to contact me. I have 50 years of design, print/media, travel, language/culture experience across all sectors. While he definitely won't like what I have to say, I do speak very articulately for a whole lot of people.
Dunno if this Jeff Weiss guy will call -- I'll let you know -- but geez, Louise... I've been pissed off for 20 years. The grey hair story up above happened to me, and I was so freakin' furious and mortified because this little bitch -- YES -- little bitch said what she said in the tone of voice that she said in front of other customers.
Well, you better believe that everyone I know heard about it. I don't know if anyone I told stopped shopping there, but I will never EVER support a store or business that allows their staff to treat customers that way. EVER.
The arrogance that business owners/employees (and advertisers) exhibit to their customers in so many ways, shapes and forms is unconscionable. Where does alienating the customer (and their money, hello???) come from? Eaton's, Sears, the Bay, Target, Zellers... has no one learned anything??? Alienating and ignoring -- and shaming -- your customers does not work. Why do you think it will???
Thank you for reading, and I'd love to know if you've experienced the same things I have.
Meanwhile, if you're in southern Ontario, yes, the Woodstock Farmers Market is open this Saturday, December 30th, early*** until noon. Shopping for your New Year's party? We gotcha covered. Didn't get what you reeeeally wanted for Christmas? We've definitely gotcha covered. See you there!
***How early is early? I'm there around 5:00 a.m. and most vendors are up and running between 6:00 and 6:30.
Your post struck a chord with me. Last night I was reading this article https://www.racked.com/2017/12/20/16797310/fashion-innovation-plus-size-lacking and wondering why nothing has changed in 40 years. I'm a size 14/16 and find it infuriating that there are many clothing stores in Toronto that don't carry above size 10/12. This is the same ridiculous mentality as you are talking about, a complete lack of business sense not to mention the arrogance and just plain hatefulness of such an attitude. Why do the store you mention and others find that their larger sizes sell out first? Maybe they need to carry more of those sizes? You would think they might have figured that out by now but guess it doesn't fit into their view of who they are as a business. Same as the stores - J crew, etc. who have some larger sizes but only online, they don't actually want you in their stores. I'm with you, I won't give my money to those who treat me badly. Grrrr.
I can't believe it either -- and what do they do with all these unsold mini-sizes? It blows my mind that these companies stay in business -- except finally they're DO NOT. And the management and boards of directors still wonder why. It's just blows my mind. For sure they don't want you in their stores. I was in the big Winners on Fairview in Kitchener a few years ago. Not one single 1X, 2XX or 3XXX in sight. I asked a salesgirl where they were. She kind of sneered at me and told me all the large sizes were SENT up to -- I don't know what it's called -- Conestoga Mall? So, yeah, they got them delivered to their Fairview store, but they certainly weren't put on sale there. I haven't been back since. Do you hear that Winners??? [shouting] I haven't been back since!!!
You know what else pisses me off? Skinny arms on shirts and sweaters. So skinny I can't pull the garments on, but I'm swimming in the body of the garment. And those teensy tiny postage stamp "pockets". What's with those??? I know of no one who likes them or wants them, but manufacturers persist in putting them on. I could go on and on and on, but no one is listening.
Thank you so much for responding, Laura. I hope we can meet up one day when I'm in Toronto. Come to one of the Gem Expo shows -- they're held at the Hyatt on King, and the next one is over the final weekend of Spring Break in March.
Just read the link -- it's so disgusting.
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