My Photo

This blog is presented by Immersion Active, the only Internet marketing agency in the U.S. focused solely on the mature markets.

Subscribe

  • SUBSCRIBE
    Enter your Email


    Powered by FeedBlitz
  • Google Sponsored Ad

Full 28-minute Presentation by David

Search Ageless Marketing



Sample the Taste of Ageless Marketing

Must reads

Register for the only webinar series solely focused on marketing to boomers and seniors, brought to you by IMMN

Blog powered by Typepad

« Why Powerboat Marketing is Out | Main | On Mindless Certainty vs. Considered Wisdom »

October 20, 2004

Comments

Vicki Thomas

Hi David:
Congratulations on your revelations at the DDI conference. As a 59 year old active turned off shopper that has become invisible at the check out counter I look forward better trained and more sensitive sales people. I find it interesting that as you address this issue that there are less clerks on the floor to help. Less cash registers that can actually process billing and so much clutter in the stores that it is a turn-off, which is why so many women my age find great joy in shopping online which is quiet, faceless and efficient.
Your observations about WalMart lacking soul does not match the spin and human interest seen in their recent TV commercials and we are a nation that responds to spin.

VT

Mike

Which area of retail do you think is most deficient or has the greatest need in this respect?

David Wolfe

Vicki: I would readily admit that most of my experiences as a retail shopper are qualitatively lacking -- as was the case when I visited a Lowe's yesterday.

What I experienced at the DDI Forum is, as I see it, a sign of things to come, not emblematic of the norm today.

As for my comments not matching Wal-Mart's recent "spinning," I would say that -- as the word "spin" suggests -- Wal-Mart is not being authentic. It is going through PR motions without any "soul" behind its actions. In talking with Harvey Hartman yesterday, he said that his research indicates pervasive hollowness in consumers' feelings about Wal-Mart. They shop Wal-Mart out of a sense that saving money is good, but they do so with little or no emotional gratification.

Mike: Big box retailers certaintly has a long way to go to give customers good experiences aside from saving money. Secondly, I would say that retailers that focus their marketing on younger age groups are most deficient. And I would speculate that they would begin picking up older customers if they cured this deficiency.

For example, Charlie Cotton, VP of Retail Merchandizing for Quiksilver Americas indicated at the DDI Forum that he wants to broaden the age range of his customer base and realizes that the quality of the customer experience is key to doing that.

Yvonne DiVita

David, can we expect to see a fading away of fast food incompetencies? All the major players, McDonald's, Burger King, and Arbys, employ underpaid help that is eager NOT to help you, but to get you out of their faces. I generally avoid fast food but occasionally fall prey to its lure... and I always come away disappointed, annoyed, and confused -- how can they continue in business with such badly trained help? There is NO customer service at these establishments. I'm clueless about their ability to stay in business. Can you shed some light on that?

Dick Ross

David,
You are never too foo foo. Just foo foo enough.

John Michael Day

David,
After a recent speaking engagement in NW Arkansas(virtually in Wal Mart's HQ backyard) I came away with the feeling there are two dominant paradigms at work, depending upon one's place in the foodchain. One paradigm seemed to express that the mega-retailer is a supersized success story that is now quite naturally experiencing the litigious throes and assaults on the brand due to the sheer mass of employees and vendors in the equation. This viewpoint originated from vendors and community business leaders who enjoy a healthy relationship with Wal Mart. There were equally as many defensible comments made that were on par with your friend and notable researcher, Mr. Hartman. In their experiential universe, the common denominator was a mutual resentment for the control that Wal Mart exerts over anyone who wants to get product on their shelves. That being said; I personally believe that consumers will continue to fill their aisles despite PR flaps and foibles because it was never "that lovin feeling" that drew the convenience/price conscious shopper to them in the first place. That is of course, unless some very scary skeletons are exhumed to shock and revolt the public. Just one more observation respectfully submitted for your consideration.

David Wolfe

Yvonne: There will always be incompetencies in fast food outlets. However, I beleive that we will see improvements among the major players like McDonald's, Burger King, and Arbys. If this doesn't happen, lesser players with employees who have been trained and motivated to give customers better experiences will start "eating their lunch." That's the way things work in free markets. The fast food industry will learn sooner or later that menu, price and speed are no longer enough. The customer experience must be not just problem-free, but enjoyable as well.

John: Of course, Wal-Mart's size invites more litigation and allegations of moral if not legal transgressions than when it was a much smaller operation.

And notwithstanding the rising tide of criticism for its alleged "heartlessness," Wal-Mart will continue, as you sugggest, to have a strong hard core of loyal customers for whom saving money is quite enough justification for patronizing Wal-Mart.

However, I see Wal-Mart's continuing growth progressively slowing for two reasons. First, its core customer group consists of 25-44-year-olds, an age group that is now shrinking in size, and for years to come will not experience population growth.

Secondly, changes in the moral foundations of our cultural ethos will challenge Wal-Mart's narcissistic self-focus which has left it without concerned for the bigger picture in which it operates and for the well-being of others, from vendors to the community at-large.

More and more companies are beginning to see that they operate within a socioeconomic ecosystem whose well-being is integrally linked with their own well-being, thus to operate with the narcissistic inner-directed focus of traditional business enterprises is short-sighted and leads to policies and actions that can jeopardize the socioeconomic ecosystem on which a company ultimately depends.

John Michael Day

David,
I wholeheartedly concur with your comments that relate to the shrinking 25-44 cell and its effect on the giant. The gradual shifts in the moral underpinnings of money spending consumers is a strong argument as well, but it seems to me that this is a relative argument if the rest of the big box community continues to struggle with where to plant their "for the good of the people" stake. Your thoughts?

Peter Davidson

Where do you see the role of technology in all this. I think you may see some additional focus on humanity in businesses that focus on a more mature customer base. Those that focus on youth, like fast food and certain big box retail will continue to focus on speed and price. They will increase the use technology like computer systems and robotics. What do you think?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blogs with a Global Perspective On Marketing


  • Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends
    Anita's blog is a treasure trove of useful information, especially for small businesses who must depend on external sources to identify what is important to them.
  • Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba
    High priests of customer evangelism, the foundation of viral marketing, Ben and Jackie work creatively from the pulpit of the Church of the Customer to tech companies how to recruit consumers into their marketing efforts.
  • Brent Green's Boomers
    Brent’s blog amplifies marketing principles and practices in his book “Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers.” Commentary ranges from rants about the marketing clueless to exaltation of companies and organizations successfully introducing new Boomer marketing initiatives.
  • Evelyn Rodriguez - Crossroads Dispatches
    Evelyn offers a keen eye into the mind and soul of today's more mature consumer universe
  • Jean-Paul Treguer's Senioragency
    Jean-Paul brings a Continental perspective to the art of marketing to people in the second half of life. This entry links directly to the English edition. The French edition is at http://www.jean-paul-treguer.com/. In both editions, lots of down to earth insights and advice.
  • Katherine Stone - Decent Marketing
    Katherine's blog reflects her customer centric perspectives on experiential marketing
  • Michele Miller - WonderBlog
    Michele's blog focuses in part on feminine values in marketing -- critically important since women account for 80% of consumer purchases.
  • Paul Williams and John Moore - Brand Autopsy
    Paul Williams and John Moore bring an impressive array of experience to their blog, including Moore's experience withStarbuck's and Whole Foods.
  • Piers Fawkes and Simon King - PSFK
    Cool tracking of cool developments in the under-40 marketplaces in Europe, US and Asia.
  • Saisir l'état d'esprit des 40+
    Sylvain Desfosses's dedicated efforts to promote a better understanding of the general state of mind of 40+ segment and the strategic implications in marketing and management. In French (no English subtitles!).
  • Skip Linberg's Marketing Genius
    A multi-author blog covering a wide range of topics and philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings.
  • The Source of Leadership Blog
    David Traversi shares his unique insight into what makes a great leader by exploring personal energies that we all possess.
  • Tom Asacker - A Clear Eye
    Tom's wide-ranging blog is especially sensitive to the role of emotions in consumer behavior.
  • Tom Peters
    Tom's blog is - well, typical of Tom's thinking, almost beyond global in perspective with frequent outside-the-box ideas. You'll likely find it worthwhile to have Tom's blog in your must-read blog list.

Blogs on Branding

  • Stefan Liute - Stefan's Branding Blog
    Free ranging running commentary on branding in a nice conversational tone by a branding pro from Romania (grapefruit.ro) who understands the art of branding.
  • Jason Kerr - Brandlessness
    Jason sagely observes, "“Any sufficiently advanced brand is fully indistinguishable from the self” then sets out to fulfill the promise in that statement.
  • Errol Saldanha: Branding Branding
    Interesting site devoted to the perennial issue of how the terms "brand" and "branding" be defined.
  • David Young - BrandingBlog
    David's blog is replete with valuable insights into the semiotic alchemy of branding, an art more marketers should know more about.

Blogs on Specialty Areas of Marketing

  • CRM Lowdown
    CRM Lowdown - Craig Cullen blogs about every aspect of customer relationship management, from theory to implementation.
  • Eamon Maloney
    Spotlightideas is about creative-thinking in advertising account planning, communications and media.
  • Holly Buchanan's Marketing to Women Online
    Marketing to Women Online smashes stereotypes and focuses on understanding what women truly want in the online world and in the offline world
  • Lucy McDonald's R.E.A.L. Marketing Blog
    Lucy's unique blog provides a cornucopia of business and marketing tips for the counselor, therapist, psychotherapist, and alternative therapist.
  • MarcomBlog
    MarcomBlog is a collaborative effort between eight terrific public relations and marketing professionals and students in Auburn University's Department of Communication and Journalism to involve students in conversations with practitioners from around the world.
  • Mark Willaman's SeniorCareMarketer
    Mark discusses the 'business of aging' with a focus on Internet marketing. In particular, he writes about how companies who market products and services relating to the aging population can increase their online visibility, web site traffic and leads.
  • Marketing Headhunter
    Executive recruiter Harry Joiner speaks with top marketers throughout Corporate America every week which gives him keen insight into trends shaping multichannel marketing.
  • Resonance Partnership Blog
    Marianne Richmond offers insight into connecting marketing and customer experience within the paradoxes of a digital world… with an eye towards neuroscience and behavior theory.
  • Web Market Central
    Tom Pick of WebMarketCentral.com shares his advice, commentary, observations, and wisdom on all aspects of online marketing.
  • Yvonne DiVita's Lipsticking Blog
    Lip-sticking teaches small and medium-sized businesses how to market to women online. Speaking from the perspective of Jane – representative of the women's market – we offer qualified advice, insight, and research on women and the Internet.

Blogs on Sales Theory and Practice

  • S. Anthony Iannarino - The Sales Blog
    Anthony's common sense commentary is a treasure trove of insight into sales methods. tools, and theory enriched by an uncommon addiction to reading about everything. (Renaissance personalities make great salespeople and marketers.)