Before I get into the meat of this week’s post, I first need to walk you through a bit of a preamble. Also, this week’s post is a continuance of last week’s post about Millennials vs. Baby Boomers, so if you missed it, you might want to read that first here before you read this week’s. Now please bear with me while I set-up the story for this week’s post.
I’ve been a card carrying member of AARP since I turned 50. When you hit this milestone birthday, don’t worry the folks at AARP will find you and solicit you to become a member.
When I became a member, AARP stood for the American Association of Retired Persons. But at age 50, I was a long way from actually retiring.
AARP was founded in 1958, so this organization could be classified a “Baby Boomer” just like me. And just like me, AARP has changed over the years. It officially changed its name from the American Association of Retired Persons to just AARP. AARP no longer requires members be retired but they must be at least 50 years of age.
In 2013, AARP launched its “Life Reimagined” program that sub-labeled the “RP” part of AARP to mean “Real Possibilities.” You see, AARP realizes that today people aren’t thinking about retiring when they hit 50 as much as they are thinking about tackling a second, or maybe a third career or endeavor.
At my university we started a wellness program in 2013. I was a charter member. Our university self-insures employees for healthcare and one of the ways to control costs is to incentivize employees to be as healthy as possible.
My university office is on the third floor of the Mass Media & Technology Hall building. We have three elevators in our building. I never use them. I prefer the stairs for two reasons: 1) they are much quicker than the elevator and 2) I use the stairs as a part of my wellness fitness program.
When a student says they’d like to meet with me for a moment in my office after class, I often find them a third of the way up the stairs when I reach the top floor (I take stairs two-steps at a time). They are also huffing and puffing. I just wait for them to catch up.
Now here’s the point of this week’s post…
Millennials Don’t Know What Age “Old” Is
Millennials are today’s media buyers. Millennials are today’s creative’s. Millennials are today’s planners. Heck, Millennials are probably the people running the place too. So if they have a warped concept of age, it is going to affect their advertising placement decisions.
Millennials now populate today’s media properties. They are the programmers, air talent, sales management, sales people and possibly the senior management.
I just met the director of Cox Digital Media in Las Vegas this past April and he is 28 years old.
Millennials Describe What Old Age Means to Them
Well AARP did some research into this question of what Millennials think “old” is. Then they asked them to show them what they thought “old” looks like. Then they introduced these same Millennials to some real “old” folks. Best of all, AARP recorded everything on video.
Watch the four-minute long video and then continue reading.
See the problem now?
If you are wondering why more radio stations aren’t programming to Baby Boomers, or if you are wondering why more media buyers aren’t buying the BIG MONEY demos, now you have a better understanding of the problem. They think you and I have one foot in grave, instead of one foot away from the summit of Mount Everest.
I live a short distance away from the only place Chevrolet makes the Corvette in the world. The average age of a Corvette buyer is 59. Boomers and people even older are the people who are buying Corvettes. They are NOT the Geritol-set.
We Are Part of the Problem
We call them Millennials, Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers etc, but another way to look at these generations is as tribes. Seth Godin has written extensively about this concept.
Seth says that sooner or later tribes begin to exclude newcomers. So each of these groups operates in their own little silo because it is easier than to keep breaking in newbies and because it could threaten the existing power structure.
The consolidation of media hasn’t helped either. RIFs (Reduction In Force) mainly dismissed the highest priced employees (Boomers) and left an organization of low cost employees (Millennials) all in the pursuit of increasing Shareholder Value.
Recent studies have shown that private companies out-perform public companies. The reason, they operate on the Peter Drucker principle that the only valid purpose of an enterprise is to create a customer. Privately owned radio companies also out-perform their publicly traded radio company counterparts. Same reason.
Turns out delighting customers is simple, clear and measurable, moreover it is the genuine path to successfully operating any business.
The first question of a leader always is: “Who do we intend to be?”
NOT “What are we going to do?
BUT “Who do we intend to be?”
In other words, says Max De Pree of Herman Miller “What are we here for?”
Napoleon put it this way “Leaders are dealers in hope.”
Tom Peters says “The leader is the person who inspires us, sends us on quests to places we had never imagined.”
Think Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and so many more just like them.
To paraphrase the title of Lee Iacocca’s 2008 book:
“Where have all of the radio leaders gone?”