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From the New York Times this morning, a story about how there has been a "seismic shift in the way companies market to consumers who have lived past their 55th birthday. The large and rapidly expanding demographic has enormous spending power, yet it has historically been treated as a homogeneous group that spends its days either in the louche leisure of a Viagra ad or the frail dependence of a Life Alert spot.

"In contrast, longevity experts said, today’s most effective marketing campaigns focus on the specific needs a product or service addresses, and the lifestyle of the person buying it — ideally without explicitly mentioning age at all."

KC's View:

I think this is absolutely on-target … and if I'm not mistaken, I did a FaceTime video years ago about how annoyed I was when I'd get robocalls that started out, "Hello, seniors!"  (I'd usually respond with an epithet and hang up.  Nobody heard me, but I felt better.)

But the broader issue illustrated by the Times story is that marketers are better off if they address needs and interests and not age - the approach won't alienate anyone, and may seem more resonant and relevant to people.

That's very smart - and actually along the lines of something that Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran and I talk about today in our "MNB/In Conversation" segment above - how it is critical to get beyond the transaction and focus on creating meaningful relationships with customers.

It's funny … there is a piece in Engadget that focuses on a product for seniors:

"You can now use Alexa Together to help take care of aging family members. Amazon has launched the $20 per month ($199 per year) service, with a six-month free trial available for a 'limited time.' Care Hub users get a full free year from now until December 7th, 2022. Your loved one will need an Alexa-capable device, but after that it's relatively hands-off — they ideally get more independence while you get some peace of mind.

"The elderly relative can reach an emergency helpline if they ask Alexa to 'call for help,' but Together is mainly useful for notifications. You'll get alerts if your family member calls that line, or simply for their first Alexa interaction of the day. Use a fall detection sensor from ATS or Vayyar (more device support is coming) and you'll also get word if there's an incident.

"Amazon stressed that seniors would still have their privacy. They have to grant permission for you to remotely assist them by adding contacts, reminders and services."

Three things occur to me here.

One is that if the Times story is accurate, then Amazon may have to be careful about how it is marketed.

Second, this story takes on different meaning in view of the outage at Amazon Web Services that occurred yesterday.  I assume this system would run on AWS, and if their services went down, I can imagine it would create a lot of anxiety in families with seniors in the system.

And third … I just want to emphasize to any of my children who might be reading this, I absolutely do not need the Alexa Together system.  At least, not yet.  No matter what you think.