Published on: October 29, 2009
There was a story on MNB yesterday about a new report out from Forrester Research saying that while “almost everyone” under 35 uses online social networks, there is tremendous growth in the number of people between the ages of 35 and 54 availing themselves of this new technology, with use by this demographic up 60 percent in the past year.
As a result, two things are happening. One is that companies that are targeting this older demographic are beginning to devote time and money to figuring out how to use social networking to further their consumer connections. And the other is that some new social networking sites are being set up specifically to appeal to these people, with interfaces that are easier for them to navigate.
My comment: Aside from the fact that I am almost too old to be part of this “older” demographic of social networking users, which is by itself a sobering realization, this is an important development to which retailers and manufacturers need to pay attention. At some point, these sorts of vehicles will replace old-world promotional techniques such as paper coupons and FSIs, and the industry needs to position itself to ride the wave in a prudent fashion.
MNB user Mary Manning responded:I am in the same boat with you as far as being left out of many "studies" that stop at age 54. I've been out of that for a while now. My suggestion to all marketers is that they should be looking at this as a lifestyle rather than an age. The real change in my family's life style came when all the chicks flew the nest. I have friend that still have kids at home who are older baby boomers, which means older than 60. And I have friends who are under 54 who are empty nesters. Just a suggestion.
And a good one.
Another MNB user wrote:It is no longer a “Boomer World” (well it will always be a Boomer World in my eyes but…) the youngest Boomer is 45 to 48 (depending where you draw the generation line) The Gen x generation is 24 to 44…they are the parents now… they are mid-managers now…they are the shoppers now…they are coming into their peak earning and spending years…they are the movers and shakers (remember movers and shakers…that was us, the Boomers…when we could move and shake) They are not like us (Boomers) they have different values…and what the article may have scoffed at or downplayed is important to them…get used to them calling the shots!
On the general subject of social networking, one MNB user wrote:How lazy are we becoming?? Everything being fast and easy is not good for anyone. No wonder we have credit card issues, overdrawn bank accounts, and spending way beyond our means without discipline. This is not a good thing…this only promotes more of the same. The information highway is fast becoming the new on-line carnival barkers of old. “Step right up, get your thingamajig right here….step back son, you bother me”. Where is ShamWow Vince when you need him…?
I think this is a highly cynical view of the new world order. Sure, there are some less than savory exits on the information super highway, but generally speaking it is an extraordinary part of our technological evolution...and to view it in such jaundiced terms is counter-productive.
One can wish we’d go back to the days of horse-drawn carriages and buggy whips. But wishing won’t make it so.
On another subject, MNB user Andrew Casey wrote:I really enjoy MNB but just have to chuckle every time you predict the end of "... old-world promotional techniques such as paper coupons and FSIs ...". It is not that I doubt you will someday be correct; I suspect you will be. But if I had a nickel for each time I have heard that prediction (not just from you) over the years I would have more money than, well, a paper coupon company. I don't think I would recommend starting a new paper based program but I am thinking the existing players will be ok for a little while yet.
It’s like the great line from Casablanca
: “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon...and for the rest of your life.”
We had a story yesterday about Costco deciding to accept food stamps, which led to a bunch of email.
MNB user Gary Narberes wrote:I find this a little disturbing when you consider the fact that one must pay to shop at Costco in the first place...either $50 or $100. After gaining the "liberty" to shop there, consumers are surrounded by bulk packaging of everything. All items that are food stampable are sold in volume packaging...hardly affordable, in my humble opinion, to someone that is on government assistance. If they can afford to shop Costco, they don't need food stamps.
MNB user R. Dale Blotter wrote:As a Costco card carrying member, my immediate reaction is if I’m in bad enough financial shape to need food stamps then I have no business shopping at Costco anymore. This is a strange move in my opinion for them and would seem to conflict with their position in the market as an upscale wholesale club. I could see Sam’s doing this as an extension of Wal-Mart but not Costco. Hard to believe that they perceive a need for this among their member base.
MNB user Philip Herr wrote:This is really political grandstanding when you decompose some of the demographics. While not 100% sure, I’d suggest that most Costcos are located relatively far away from where food stamp recipients live. Most likely they are in rural areas or inner cities, while Costco tends to suburban areas. Add to that the $50 to $75 membership fee and I’d think it becomes less of a bargain for people unfortunate to need food stamps. Costco’s big attraction (apart from the “treasure hunt”) is bulk packs. Again, not that attractive to someone with a small apartment or no car. So I guess some politician can feel sanctimonious having made Costco cave, but I can’t see them accepting many food stamps.
Now if only the politicians would think deeply about how they are hurting their constituents by preventing Walmart into inner cities.
And, on the subject of plastic bags, one MNB user wrote:Yes, I will not let you up on this one. These so-called reusable bags come from off shore companies and do not promote American made…..and in this time of trouble economics we should all be standing together….even you KC. I so not begrudge your right to use these bags, but at least spend the money to buy American made. I for one support the plastic bag….they do not litter themselves (we do it), 100 % recyclable, just drop it in the recycling bin, and you get a sterile fresh bag the next time in the store…And by the way, you are not helping the environment by using your alternative bags….the same amount of Natural Gas will be used whether you use plastic or not, which by the way, is insignificant to what is being used for heating etc…right now…today. As for landfills, plastic is probably one of the best things you can put into a landfill, but if recycled, then they do not have to be in landfills at all (the book Rubbish by William Rathje). Your alternative bag is not easily recyclable and usually ends up in the landfill. You might one to try using them in the garden as weed protectors when spreading mulch.
Come on KC, quit believing all the bull that is being pumped by the environmentalists that has no basis in fact (i.e. San Francisco litter reduction never happened). Clogging up our landfills, streams and rivers, etc….excuse me? This is nothing but a political football being used to attract attention for personal gain, by either an individual or group. The facts are the facts. Let’s keep Americans employed and reduce, reuse, recycle and regenerate these products and create more jobs…. Is that not the American way?
First of all, I believe in buying American...when the American products are superior. As for the litter issue, another MNB user wrote:Anyone who thinks plastic bags and bottles don’t create a litter problem need to read about the Pacific Garbage Patch. This is no urban legend. Just Google those three words.
I’m with you. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
And finally, on the subject of the World Series, MNB user Jeff Reinartz wrote:As much as I love baseball, I'm going to have a difficult time watching this World Series for one particular reason: About nine months ago the story broke about A-rod testing positive for steroids in 2003, when he won the American League home run title and MVP as a Texas Ranger. I just can't clear the image of him saying, "When did they say I tested positive? 2003?
Yeah, that's when I took them." His press conference smacked of a guy telling the world he was sorry for getting caught, not because he took steroids. I'd lay odds he was flushing the rest of them down the toilet the day after the story broke, and now he's on the verge of finally getting his ring.
Now we're all supposed to forgive and forget because he plays for the media's beloved Yankees.
As a Twins fan, that may smack of sour grapes, but as a baseball purist, those grapes are making my stomach turn.
MNB user William Saldivar wrote:I’m a die hard SF Giants fan so I can relate to Met fan this year, I remember the Oakland A’s vs. Dodger’s World Series…death by paper cuts.
I wrote yesterday...and many time previously...that National League baseball is superior to American League baseball because there is no designated hitter rule there.
One MNB user responded:I don't know if the designated hitter rule in and of itself justifies the National League as having inherently superior baseball. Given the American League's 13-7 record in the World Series over the last 20 years, and also their 11-0-1 record over the last 12 All Star games, I would say a strong case could be made for the Jr. Circuit as having inherently superior baseball.
And I'm sure you expected these responses, but I just couldn't resist. Go Yankees!!!
It is a matter of purity.
More on the World Series below...