Back at the beginning of time I studied quantum physics. Who knows what would have happened if I had continued down that life path?
One of the first things you learn, other than a good grasp of mathematics, is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
An ultra simple statement of this idea is that the process of observation affects the values of particles.
Having studied this is a great assistance in understanding marketing to older people because at the core of the subject there is a similar paradox. Older people want products and marketing that relates to them at their age but they don't want products and marketing that relates to them because of their age. Read this a few times and you will get the message.
Now this apparently impossible statement has sent many marketers mad and has wasted organizations untold $billions.
Back in Feb 2011 I commented about a new academic / corporate venture in the US that was going to create products for oldies.
Like all of these ventures, and we have a lot of them in the UK, mostly funded by Government, they provide employment but never deliver products that make a dent, not even a scratch in the market. And nobody ever asks why - what are they doing that isn't working.
A couple of journalists from Bloomberg have taken this paradox head on and written an article that should be essential reading for any company looking to make "boomer products".
I have to say that this conclusion is not exactly new and something Kim and I have been saying for ages, however, when Bloomberg publishes its position then people should (hopefully) listen:
The company that does such a great job of making products for seniors takes great pains not to make products for seniors.
Hi guys out there in fmcg land, are you listening? Are you guys at Heineken listening as you try and brew up some boomer beer?
If you want to know what really works then - give us a call.
Image via Flickr