Tag Archives: Consumer Electronic Show

What Do Seniors Want?

Seniors born in the 1950s and 1960s, known as “Baby Boomers,” created a tsunami of change in the world of marketing and communications. Now, the generation that coined the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” is turning 70.

50th High School Reunion Re-imagined

In fact, my 50th high school reunion was to have been held in 2020, but due to COVID19 this was rescheduled to October 2022. The committee organizing this event decided to re-imagine our Golden Reunion Celebration and are now calling it “The Class of 1970 Turns 70.”

Boomers actually began crossing the 70 year old threshold in 2016 and will be growing the 70+ demographic population until the year 2034. Over the next ten years, our numbers will eclipse 55 million with a growth rate twice that of people aged 18-49.

Boomers Are Spenders

Currently the 70+ Boomers contribute $1.1 trillion in annual spending on consumer goods and services. According to AARP, we spend on pharmaceuticals, health insurance, medical supplies, AV equipment, food at home, personal care products, apparel, entertainment, household furnishings, and travel.

Since I retired in 2017, my wife Sue and I immediately set out to see more of this world. We took a Caribbean Cruise, three cross-county road trips driving over 25,000 miles and were planning to travel abroad until the advent of COVID19 brought things to a screeching halt.

Boomers grew up in the postwar era with a sense of promise and possibility. We believed if we could dream it, we could do it.

The Senior Mindset

When I was in my early years of radio sales, I sold advertising to a contemporary of mine that was working in his family’s pharmacy. His primary focus was on developing new revenue streams for growing the business.

He was the first person I ever knew that went to Las Vegas every January to the Consumer Electronics Show; now known simply as CES. Each year he would bring new and innovative electronic products into the store.

But that’s not the point of the story.

In my 20s, when I saw these new devices – often with some pretty hefty price tags attached to them – I would say, that’s pretty amazing, but I’ve read that next year the new model will be even better.

My friend would reply, “That’s the way we think, but people who are much older than us don’t see things that way.” He explained that their view of life was, if they wanted it, they bought it now. And if something better came along, they would make another purchase. They didn’t have time to wait around for the next big thing to come along.

Retirement is a Transition from Saver to Spender

Now that I’ve become one of those people who are “much older,” I understand that perspective. Baby Boomers are now at that point in their lives where they see more of their lives in the rearview mirror than out the front windshield.

People who are 70+ are free to pursue their passions and set new life goals for this next chapter of their lives. Products and services that compliment these things will be the ones who benefit from our spending.

I’m no longer thinking of how much I need to save in my IRA or contribute to my annuities, I’m now at that point in life where it’s time to begin withdrawing from the retirement assets I’ve accrued over my working life.

Are your products or services seeing me, hearing me, understanding my wants/needs/desires?

Time Spent With Ad-Supported Media Falls

The FCC reported at the start of this new year, the number of commercial FMs, AMs, and even LPFMs all decreased in 2021. While it came as no surprise to see the number of AM radio stations sign-off, the decrease in the number of commercial FMs should have been a real wake-up call for the radio industry.

Interestingly, non-commercial FM radio stations increased in number in 2021. Could it be they are serving up content that people want to hear?

53.4% of people’s time spent with media in the United States is with consumer-funded media, according PQ Media.

I started off this year of blogging with “Why I Stream ALL of My Radio Listening,” and in reviewing the latest data I find that our household is riding the wave of consumer-funded media for both television viewing and radio listening.

Media Post says

“While total consumer time spent with media is projected to continue to expand in both the United States and worldwide through 2025, ad-supported media’s share will continue to erode due to secular, not cyclical shifts in consumer usage of media – something other analysts and economists have been pointing out.”

You Can Save Time or You Can Save Money, BUT You Can’t Save Both Simultaneously

There’s an inverse relationship between time and money; you can spend one to save the other. In our youth, we feel like we have all the time in the world and so we focus on ways to save money. Later in life, we see how precious our time has become and so we will spend money to save time.

Long commercial breaks about things of little interest to us waste our time, so it should come as no surprise that seniors are willing to pay money to eliminate them.

People will give you their time when you offer them entertainment. People will give you their money when you offer them hope.

– Roy HWilliams

Consumer-funded media does just that. It gives us the wheat and eliminates the chaff.

The average person in America today is expected to live to almost 79 years old, that’s 28,835 days. When you turn 70, that means you see the future as 3,285 days left.

What do you think means more to a senior, another dollar in the bank or more efficient use of their time?

When people are asked on their deathbed what they wished they had more of, no one says “more money.”

Willie Sutton said he robbed banks because that’s where the money was. Today, media money is in the hands of the Baby Boomers, aka seniors.

How are you serving them with your media property?

Updated 1/23/2022: An earlier version incorrectly said “Willie Horton,” not “Willie Sutton.”

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What is The Future of Radio?

Ten years ago, I was in Las Vegas presenting at the Broadcast Education Association’s annual international conference. My presentation was called “This Changes Everything.” It outlined things that would be changing in our world in the decade to come.

“Prediction is difficult…especially about the future.”

-Yogi Berra

Remembering 2011

2011 was the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, and already we were witnessing a world where mediated communication was social, global, ubiquitous and cheap. It was the beginning of the social media revolution.

Groupon, which came into existence only a couple of years earlier, grew its revenue to over $1.6 billion in 2011. And yet, the doomsayers were already forecasting its demise. As this chart shows, revenues for Groupon did drop below 2011, but not until 2020.

A contributing factor to this downward revenue trend for Groupon might be that it’s estimated that only about 1% of Groupon users ever became regular customers of the businesses whose coupons they used.

TWITTER

A decade ago, Twitter was the most popular social media platform with more Fortune 100 companies using Twitter than any other social media platform.

As we begin the third decade of the 21st century, we know that the previous decade will now be known most for the impact of Facebook, not Twitter, when it comes to social media dominance.

Media Adoption Rates

In 1920, the adoption rate for commercial AM radio was incredibly fast, only to be eclipsed by the introduction of TV. However, both of these two forms of communication would be dwarfed by the adoption rates of the internet followed by the use of mobile internet made possible by the smartphone.

These last two brought about revolutionary changes in how we communicate.

In fact, the famous Maslow “Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid, might be updated to look like this:

How the World is Connected to the Internet

At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, 85% of the world’s population connected to the internet via wireless mobile devices.

To put that into perspective, only 80% of the world was connected to an electrical grid in 2011.

Today, 92.6% or 4.32 billion people connect to the internet wirelessly.

Top Three Gadgets of All Time

A decade ago, The History Channel came out with a list of the “Top Gadgets of All Time” and they were:

  1. Smartphone
  2. Radio
  3. Television

Hat Tip to Mary Meeker

None of these things were a secret, but it was Mary Meeker that tied all of these changes together in her presentation “Internet Trends 2011.” Her presentations are worth your time to view. The most recent one being 2019, before COVID19 disrupted everything. You can view that presentation HERE

What we do know is COVID19 took all of the changes that were slowly taking place and accelerated them dramatically. Think “warp speed.”

The big three takeaways from 2011 were:

  1. Every media consumer is now a media producer
  2. Smartphones are changing the world of mediated communications
  3. Media is now social, global, ubiquitous and cheap

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

-General Eric Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

What Technology Might a Baby Born Today, Never Use?

Let me throw out some thought starters for you to consider. Please feel free to add to this list.

  • Wired home internet
  • Dedicated cameras
  • Landline telephones
  • Slow-booting computers
  • Dialup Internet
  • Hard Drives
  • Electric typewriters
  • Movie Theaters
  • Computer Mouse
  • Remote Controls
  • Desktop computers
  • Phone numbers
  • Prime Time TV
  • Fax machines
  • Optical disks
  • Record player
  • Cassette player
  • CD Player
  • VCR or DVR
  • Radio
  • ?????

“My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that – was what allowed you to make great products – but the products, NOT THE PROFITS, were the motivation.”

-Steve Jobs

So, What’s the Future of Radio?

In 2011, one hundred college students were surveyed about what they believed the future of radio was, here were their top three positive comments and their top three negative comments:

POSITIVE COMMENTS

  1. Radio will re-invent itself. It is always evolving.
  2. Radio has a bright future as long as there are cars. It’s the first choice for drivers.
  3. Satellite Radio will expand as subscriptions become cheaper.

NEGATIVE COMMENTS

  1. Devices are coming out that will allow iPods and MP3 players to be played in cars.
  2. Smartphones will gradually take over radio entertainment.
  3. The only time people listen to radio is in their cars. Even then, they have CDs & MP3s.

Radio’s Car Radio Paranoia

Then Fred Jacobs came out with a blog this week about the seemingly bleak future for AM/FM radio in cars. You can read that HERE

At the annual CES (Consumer Electronic Show) Fred’s been asking about the future of car radio every year, and noticed that more recently auto manufacturers are reluctant to give a direct answer if there might come a day when AM/FM car radios won’t be standard equipment.

For Elon Musk and Tesla, that day is already here.

How to Build Brands

Ernest Dichter is known as the father of motivational research. Over 50 years ago he did a large study on word-of-mouth persuasion that revealed the secrets of how to build brands. Dichter said there are four motivations for a person to communicate about a brand:

  1. Product-Involvement: the experience had to be so novel and pleasurable that it must be shared with others.
  2. Self-Involvement: people want to share the knowledge or opinions, as a way to gain attention, have inside information, or assert superiority.
  3. Other-Involvement: a person wants to reach out and help to express neighborliness, caring or friendship. They are often thought of a “brand evangelists.”
  4. Message-Involvement: the message is so humorous or informative that it deserves sharing.

“Win the hearts of the people, their minds will follow.”

-Roy H. Williams

So, if you are in the radio business, OR are a radio listener, the question you need to honestly ask yourself is:

How does your brand measure up?

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