After 40 years of catering to younger consumers, advertisers and media executives are coming to a different realization: Older people aren’t so bad, after all. Marketers like Kellogg’s, Skechers and 5-Hour Energy drink are broadening their focus to those 55 and up, who, until recently were largely ignored in most media plans.
Bill Carter & Tanzina Vega – The New York Times appearing on Page 1 of The Virginian-Pilot
The young analyst paused at the office door and took a deep breath. He knocked in what he hoped would be a courteous and respectful manner. He almost never spoke with senior managers, after all he had started as an intern only a year earlier, the ink still wet on his college diploma. He couldn’t recall whether he had ever spoken to the CEO before, but decided that this was important enough that he had to take the chance.
“The door’s open,” he heard, and the door handle slipped under his slightly sweaty palm. “And you are?” asked the boss.
“Edwards, sir. Charles Edwards. I’m an analyst in the Strategic Planning Department.”
“So why are you here?”
“Sir, I’ve come across some data that I believe are very significant.”
“Why didn’t you present these data to your manager in Strategic Planning?” frowned the CEO.
“Well sir, the senior people in my department were either laid off or forced to take early retirement. I’m the only one left in the department.”
“Well tough economic times call for tough actions,” replied the CEO. “So what is this critical information that makes you think you can just barge into the senior executive’s office?” Charles swallowed hard and tried to ignore the sound of his own pulse in his ears.
“Well, sir, you know how America has such a fascination with youth?”
“Tell me something I don’t know. Everyone knows that.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Charles. “Please bear with me sir. I’m trying to lay this out in a logical fashion.” The CEO merely scowled.
“And you know how the trend has been to eliminate older workers and replace them with younger workers at lower wages?”
“Yes,” replied the CEO testily.
“And you know how most marketing is aimed at the 18 – 49 year old demographic?”
“Get to the point!” demanded the CEO.
“I’m getting there, sir,” replied Charles. “And you know how Social Security is in trouble because there are going to be fewer workers paying into the Social Security fund and more retirees drawing from it?” The CEO did not reply as he began to piece together what the young man was saying.
“Well, all of those Baby Boomers we’ve been discounting as customers or workers now represent the group with the most market potential. It also looks like in the next few years we are going to need them in the work force for three reasons. First, there are not enough young workers to replace them. Second, we won’t be able to afford them all to retire and draw their Social Security and third, we need them to keep working so they can pay not only into Social Security but also all the other taxes.”
“Hmmph!” replied the CEO. “I see your point. So as the Strategic Planning Department, what do you recommend?”
“Well, sir, as soon as other companies begin to realize that they don’t have enough replacement workers, they’re going to try to get the Baby Boomers back. Sooner or later even the politicians will realize this too. They’ve begun to understand the impact on Social Security so they keep pushing the age to receive benefits back, but it’s not just Social Security. The decrease in income tax at the federal, state and local levels is even more important!” The CEO now looked fully engaged.
“The Federal Government is on the verge of figuring it out!” Charles continued. “If they can’t raise taxes so that people pay more, then the only option they have is for the people who are paying taxes to pay at their current rate for a longer period of time. The feds are going to make it more difficult for people to retire and move to a lower tax bracket!”
“So you’re telling me that we need the Baby Boomers as workers and the government needs them to pay into the federal coffers rather than take out. So what is our next step?”
“Well, sir,” Charles replied hesitatingly. “Most companies were pretty brutal when they cut Baby Boomers from the work force. In addition, they’ve been ignored by marketing. Our next step is obvious.”
“You don’t mean…?”
“Yes sir. We’re going to have start being nice to the Baby Boomers and lure them back as both customers and workers!”
Copyright 2011 SF Nowak – All Rights Reserved