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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this FaceTime with the Content Guy.
I like to think of myself as not being terribly obsessed with my age. I'm 62, and I'm okay with that - it beats the alternative, and it wouldn't matter if I weren't content. Now, I recognize that I'm reasonably lucky - I have most of my hair (and have no intention of dying it), and remain reasonably ambulatory (while I can still jog four miles, I'm even slower than I used to be, and everything hurts just a little bit more). I'd like to drop some weight, but in general, like Popeye, I am who I am.
I was thinking about this the other day when I read Michael Sansolo's column about the importance of not engaging in generalizations about Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, or even Baby Boomers. We may belong to a specific generation, but there are a lot of differences among the members of each of those groups, and marketers make a serious mistake when they paint with too broad a brush.
To be honest, I was thinking about age and generalizations even before I read Michael's column. I was thinking about those subjects last weekend when I was in Atlanta. I was there with a friend, my 28-year-old son and one of his friends, to attend the Atlanta Braves-Washington Nationals game at Sun Trust Park - the new Atlanta stadium that was the only major league ballpark I hadn't been to. (I'll write more about the experience in Friday's "OffBeat.")
We were sitting in our seats along the third base line, baking in the hot afternoon sun. I was wearing a hat and sunscreen, but it was still pretty oppressive. Fairly early in the game, the very nice young woman who was the usher came down to where I was sitting and said, "Are you having a good time?"
I told her I was. And she said, "That's great. If it gets too hot for you and you'd like to move up to a seat in the shade, it's no problem. We have plenty of seats."
I thanked her and didn't think much about it. Until she walked down a couple of rows and said the same thing to another guy.
A guy who must've been a World War II veteran.
That's when I realized - she was making the offer to all the old folks.
I didn't say anything because she was just trying to be nice, but I was not happy.
My son said that I should just be happy that she didn't think I was a veteran of the War of 1812. (Funny guy, my son.)
It occurred to me that this is what can happen when people and businesses make generalizations - even when they're trying to do the right thing, they run the risk of offending the customer. It speaks volumes about why businesses need to know as much as possible about their customers, and be as targeted as possible in speaking to them. Specificity isn't just a virtue, it is a necessity.
I've gotten over it now. For the most part. But if the next time I'm in a supermarket someone comes up to me and offers to help me to the car with my groceries ... well, that may just be my breaking point.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning, and, as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: