Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Purchasing Power is the Best Revenge

Today's Wall Street Journal featured an article by Amy Chozick entitled Television's Senior Moment. Chozick writes that TV producers are finally waking up to the need to provide programming for Baby Boomers because the Boomers continue to be an elephant-sized market for them, and a juicy demographic that advertisers want to reach. HelllOOOOOO! What took them so long? Chozick details the changing behaviors and changing assumptions that account for the shift.

Back in the day, people who reached sixty-five, retired and basically stopped buying a lot of stuff. They certainly didn't buy cutting-edge products like iPad and smart phones. Advertisers figured that people who purchased laxatives and hearing aids were not a target market for iPod Nanos. They focused on young people, because when you get your first apartment or house, you need lots of stuff.

Boomers, however, are not behaving like their grandparents. They are not going quietly into the night. Either due to necessity or choice, they are not approaching retirement in the, well, traditional retiring way. They are working longer, pursuing second careers or working hard at volunteering. Some are pursing avocations such as painting or writing that straddle the cusp of work and play.

Of, and did I mention purchasing power? Who has the assets? Boomers do, that's who. They ARE buying new technology. And they have not lost their activist in-your-face mentality. Boomers expect to see themselves in the sitcoms and the ads. They won't tolerate being pitched by twenty-somethings. Besides, what credibility does a twenty-something spokesperson have on Viagra?

Since the Boomers were the original TV generation, it is kinda sweet to see the networks wise up and come back on bended knee to the folks who loved them first and best. Now, I hope that other businesses catch the wave. Clothing designers. Motion picture producers. Hotel room designers.

Publishers need to get the message too. The book market is a Boomer market, and certain genres are deeply skewed to the Boomer generation. (Check out the demographics in the mystery market, for example. Boomer broads own this market, honey!) Boomers do not want to read about teenage vampire love.

I should disclose I have an axe to grind. Both of my novels, A POINTED DEATH and DEED SO are written for the Boomer demographic. Hey, to paraphrase Leslie Gore, it's my market and I'll serve it if I want to!

A final note about Chozick's piece -- she really made my day. She reported that Steven Tyler of American Idol is my age! I knew I loved that guy.
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