Time to Read the Tea Leaves

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It’s that time of year where you cannot open a newspaper without reading predictions for 2010 and rationalisations of 2009. I thought that enough had been written about 2009 but it might be interesting to speculate about the coming 12 months – from the perspective of the things that will be important when marketing to older people.

So what issues will keep the 50-plus marketer awake at night in eager anticipation or dread? My top five – not in any particular order are:

Technology 1. The combination of smart new mobile hardware and operating systems, 3G, GPS, motion detection, zillions of data feeds, speech and character recognition all tied up in a bow using apps development toolkits makes for the most exciting thing since we typed our first http://www. 2010 will be the start of era of 50-plus apps that will create fantastic new marketing opportunities.

Technology 2. Web video is still on a rapid upward trajectory. In 2009 it went from being something of a novelty to a media format that all web sites had to consider using. 2010 will see the use of Web video as an effective format to communicate with older consumers, really come of age (excuse the pun).

Technology 3. Social networking is here to stay but is becoming something of a bore. Back at the beginning of recorded time e-mail was exciting and something worth talking about – not any more, other than to moan about the time it consumes. I reckon that generic social networking sites are going the same way. The higher income 50-plus pretty much mirror the usage patterns of the Web. Sure they will retain their Linkedin and Facebook accounts but so what?

Advertising. For years I have been saying that: “this is the year when advertising becomes more age-neutral.” Why break the habit of a lifetime and say it again. Honestly, I do detect that the message is slowly getting through that advertising creative has to expand outside its Yoof-centric ghetto, if for no other reason than the barrage of news that shows the levels of youth unemployment – boomerang kids, dependence on “bank mum and dad” etc etc. Yoof is having a tough time and has lost its lure for advertisers. This brings us to the number one issue.
The really biggie.

The Recession. The perilous state of the economy in the UK, much of Europe and the US is scary. 2010 is going to be a turning point – unfortunately I am not convinced that it is turning in the right direction. At best it will be dreadful. At worst – you don’t want to know. If you want the gory details then have a read of Robert Peston’s 31st December blog. Peston is the BBC’s head economics journalist.

One thing for sure is that for marketers, willing to think outside the box and have the guts to take chances, there will be lots of opportunities for relieving the 50-plus of their hard earned cash.

Happy New Year.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adam_jones/4109870533/

Original Post: http://www.20plus30.com/blog/2009/12/time-to-read-tea-leaves.html