You don’t need to be 50 to know the truth

I always try to read a blog called The Ad Contrarian, by a guy who likes to call out the advertising industry as he sees it. A recent post there had me nodding in complete agreement, as its author Bob Hoffman wondered about the fact that in the USA, a majority of consumer spending (51%) is now done by people over 50, yet “these people are the target for 10% of marketing activity.”

This, he says, is because “There is almost no one over 50 left in the advertising business. They have been the target of demographic cleansing – and eliminated from agencies. The ugly truth is that the marketing and advertising industries hate older people.”

How critical this is when it comes to advertising in the engineering and scientific sectors, where the average age of the target buyer is almost certainly much nearer 50 than 30. Older buyers may be quite technically literate, but they’re far less likely to actually use the latest and greatest social media channel or unnecessary piece of technology. They’re far too smart for that. In short, they’re not teenagers. The next time a 30-year-old advertising sales rep tells you that you really need to be using QR codes, ask them for the evidence that time-served design engineers are holding their iPhones up to magazine pages to get more information.

Advertising is about connecting with the customer, and whatever your age, you don’t need to buy in advice from people younger than you to reach the industrial market.

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