I just finished reading Mauro Guillen’s book, “2030”, an analysis of trends in world demographics, economies, and technology. I know....sounds like a real nail-biter, doesn't it? For those of us that enjoy marketing, learning new things and not big novel readers, it's a pretty good read. The subtitle is “How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape The Future of Everything”. I read it as a marketing book even though it is definitely focused on global issues like an aging global population, middle-class growth in countries throughout Asia and Africa, and global wealth owned by more women….. full disclosure, I read most books through a marketing lense regardless of their intended themes. If you read it the same way, there are a couple of take-aways that I think will impact marketing in the coming years.
“Grey Is the New Black” (Chapter 2 “2030”): Obviously a play on "Orange is the New Black", the chapter starts with a quote from Morgan Stanley stating that millennials are “the most important age range for economic activity”. The author quickly shoots this down and makes the point that they do not control as much of the economy as most think. His research shows that the fastest-growing segment of population…and consumers… is those over the age of 50 and on their way to their 60's. This demographic will own approximately half of the net worth globally, with roughly 80% of that in the United States. So while Madison Avenue and the trendy advertising agencies around the country target their messages to millennials, this could be a trap. They could be missing the bulk of the consumer opportunity. As a marketer yourself, don’t get caught in this trap. Look at your customer base, plus the consumer market in which your best prospects come from and truly analyze the average age of this target. I agree with the author and you will probably find that more of your ideal customers are closer to 50 than 25.
“Second Sex No More?” (Chapter 3 “2030”): In this chapter, Mauro Guillen speculates that the influence of women will continue to grow. He is quickly to note that there is still a lot of progress to be made in the inequalities of women in the workplace and global society as a whole. But he sees signs of hope. His research points to the world’s wealth owned by women in 2000 was only 15%. It is projected to grow to 55% by 2030. He also notes that more women now earn undergraduate and graduate degrees, with more than 40% of married American mothers earning more than their husbands. There is evidence to support these points all around us and he goes on to make other numerous points. While some may debate these statistics, it is safe to say that we will continue to strive and make progress in this area. The coming years will lead to more women having economic influence. Their spending power will be evermore independent of a spouse’s or partner’s dollar.
So how should these two chapters impact our thoughts on marketing?
First of all, don’t get caught chasing the millennial dollars solely. I've heard business owners complain that a campaign fell flat but they were sure their strategy and messaging hit millennials. After a deeper review, their campaigns did just that but didn't have enough mass to drive the desired outcome. Those in the Gen-X and young Baby Boomer generations still have the largest percentages of spending power in your markets. Think about the messaging, tone and tactics you should use to hit this age bracket. Messaging should be intelligent (no gimmicks) and contemporary (keep in mind that the Foo Fighters and Metallica are 50+ so contemporary can still be cool). You may also hear that the “kids” have moved on from Facebook to other social platforms. This may be true but the 50+ target demo is still using it and is the largest growing demographic for FB. It can be an effective tool to engage with them. The generation of cord-cutters has led to the demise of traditional television. Also, true. But there is still an opportunity to use this medium, more cost efficiently than ever, to reach a 50+ audience. Television is not what it once was but can still be effective if used correctly.
Much like the point above, messaging, tone and tactics will be important to reach the female decision maker. Messaging and tone will be more focused on quality, customer experience, and benefits of products and services. They need to be s
traight forward, clever and respectful to a women’s point of view. Lauren McMenemy said in her 2019 post, "In order to succeed, Marketing to women must reflect real life" …. I think back to a few years ago (2014) when Carl Jr’s/Hardee’s ran a seductive ad campaign featuring a bikini-clad Paris Hilton washing a car to sell burgers. They were almost thumbing their noses at the general market by going after only pubescent-minded heterosexual males. A huge fail in today's and tomorrow's world.
If you would like to read more from Mauro Guillen’s book, here is a link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250268174 . I recommend it to anyone interested in business, global economies and what might be coming in the next few years.