Edelman – Where Have You Been for the Past 5 Years?

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by: Dick Stroud

There is an article in advertising Age called the:" The Misunderstood Generation". I can never work out if AdAge is on subscription or not. Anyway here is the gist of the thing.

Edelman has conducted a survey of 1,320 baby boomers and produced a report that has come to some astonishingly naïve and simplistic conclusions. Conclusions like: "marketers over generalize, misrepresent and sometimes ignore the generation (boomers) lumping them together and, in the process, alienating them.

"We really set out to blow up some myths," said the exec VP-general manager of Edelman’s Boomer Insights Generation Group. "The longer that marketers keep treating boomers as a huge mass as opposed to individuals, the longer it’s going to take them to enter the market."

Give me strength. This is 101 marketing. I cannot believe this has come as a shock to Edelman and its clients. Have these guys been in a coma for the last 5 years?

There are other banal statements like. "It would behoove marketers to consider that boomers are not a widespread demographic," said senior VP-strategic counsel at Edelman. "Baby boomers have always been considered the ‘me-generation,’ and that doesn’t change with age. We’re still just as self-centered and we want things very customized."

And so the article goes on.

Am I being over-critical? How can a company like Edleman think it is worthy of coming out with this simplistic stuff.

If any Edelman clients are reading this blog and want to jump from page 1 of Boomer Marketing to page 200 then give me a call.

The second interesting (and connected) news item is from Wharton Business School. The question that the learned professors attempt to answer is why, when it is obvious to everybody else, are so many marketers still playing at the periphery of digital advertising?

These are some of the reasons identified:

Some of the lag is due to advertisers’ long-term relationships with ad agencies, which focus on creative, brand-building messages, and with traditional media companies.

In many cases, institutionalized cultures, agency relationships and media relationships are still limiting them.

Part of the lag in moving advertising is generational (i.e. the older marketing decision makers still don’t "get it" about the Internet)

The status reasons of still giving staff focused on branding and creative work more status than those assigned to customer-centric, data-based work – who are still often viewed as analytical geeks.

I believe the reasons for the lack of responsiveness to change to digital are similar to those for ignoring oldies. Wharton says it very politely. I would phrase it more directly.

This is a massive generalisation, what the hell, but many marketers are conservative – risk averse – lacking in analytical skills – unimaginative and wedded to operating in their comfort zone – even when the facts point to this being dopy.

Original Post: http://www.20plus30.com/blog/2008/02/edelman-where-have-you-been-for-past-5.html