I was in a meeting about 10 days ago when the subject of the iPad came up. That, of course, was no surprise as the introduction of an iAnything has massive sociological and economic meaning. But it was the nature of the conversation that surprised me. The people with whom I was talking were somehow convinced that the iPhenomenon was a thing of the Millennial generation.
"Ha!" I laughed. "New tech consumer products are heavily purchased by older males. They have the time to play with them, even if they don't work all that well, and they have the disposable cash to risk."
There the discussion ended, since none of us had more than anecdotal data to support our beliefs. There must have been a phone left off the hook in that room because a few days later an article appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle (5/3/10). SENIORS APPEAR TO BE DRAWN TO APPLE'S iPAD said the headline. This article, too, relied on largely anecdotal evidence, and it gave the three of us a good laugh. But it points out a more profound truth: most people, even intelligent and experienced marketers, are reluctant to attribute anything hip, current, modern or important to anyone much older than 40 (or 45 or especially 50).
The Prius, like all other hybrids, is a young persons' car. Right. It's green and very current. Yet, according to a recent JD Power report (reprinted in Entrepreneur, 62% of hybrid owners are actually over the age of 45! (Why 45? That's no normal media age break.)
It's not the data that is so remarkable. It's the reluctance of otherwise smart people being so resistant to simple, obvious truths. Especially when it comes to age. When will they ever learn?
Jerry Shereshewsky has formed a new marketing consultant firm, GrownUpMarketing, to help agencies and marketing companies strategically understand the 45+ market and the relevance to their particular brands. Jerry can be reached at email@example.com
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