Published on: June 15, 2010A special Monday column by Michael Sansolo
Demographics and marketing tell us who the hot consumers are: they are young (under 30) and ethnic (likely Hispanic.) There’s good reason for this as both those groups are growing fast in number and marketing power.
The logical side of me says anyone would be silly to ignore those trends as those two groups likely hold the keys to future success. But let’s remember there are a ton of people who fit in neither group.
Recently, I hung out with close to 19,000 of them and got a reminder that the Baby Boomers haven’t gone anywhere yet and are ignored at great peril. The occasion was the Washington, DC, stop of the Carole King/James Taylor “Troubadour Reunion” concert tour. I have to believe that there has never been an event at the Verizon Center that packed in more people, but the real story is who those people are.
The concert was special to me for two reasons. First, I got proofed when I bought a beer, which is an experience I haven’t had in maybe 25 years. (I’m still smiling.) Secondly, I actually felt on the younger side of an audience that clearly contained a lot of people who now answer to the name Grandma or Grandpa.
But it was special in so many other ways. I can say without exaggeration that I haven’t listened to King or Taylor on an album, cassette, CD or MP3 in 20 years. Yet it only took a handful of notes for me to know the next song was Carolina on my Mind or Natural Woman. What’s more, I could almost instantly conjure up the lyrics from the recesses of my mind.
While the memories were thick, so were the concessions to age. Carole King was always a better song writer than singer, but what blew my wife away was the sight of the now 68 year-old King looking extremely fit as she danced around stage in sky high heels. The image projection system wasn’t always kind to her, but no one minded. The same went for Taylor who looks all of his 62 years.
It simply didn’t matter. What caught all of us - more than nostalgia - was the sight of two icons clearly doing what they love and doing it so well after all these years. It was the memories of all those amazing songs, including one hit written by King more than 50 years ago. It was gathering together and remembering when we were all kids listening to those tunes for the first time.
And every marketer should go see it. They should go see aging Baby Boomers reaching deep into their wallets for tickets and jumping on their feet to sing with and cheer each song. Hopefully it will remind them that Baby Boomers still make up a huge and lucrative market, one that doesn’t spend every moment of their day worrying about various medical ailments. It will remind them that Boomers don’t feel or act old.
Market to us with vigor and excitement and it’s possible, to quote Carole King, that we will love you tomorrow.
But you have to try.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His new book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available by clicking here .
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