It turns out that in the early days of television in the 1940’s, when ABC came on the air, it was struggling to find its niche and to stand out against the other two networks; NBC and CBS. ABC’s initial research showed that as a new network, their audience was younger – so they convinced Nielsen’s research people to start breaking down the TV audience by age, instead of just all TV watchers at the time. ABC even came up with a new slogan “Get them young before some other brand gets them.” So began this myth that the most important audience is the age category that starts at age 18. Over the years we have been able to do a far better job of monitoring who is watching what and know not only who is watching advertising and programming, but if they are loyal product buyers.
The answer is “some are and some aren’t” – and that is true from ages 7 to 107!
So now we are at an interesting crossroads, some call this “Ageless Marketing” – which seems an apt title. All dollars spent to attract a customer should be spent on what a customer wants and needs, matched to the product or service being sold – not to some mythical supposition that only one age group counts! Do not fall into the trap of “all”. All people do not care about anything specific – most people care about value and honesty and integrity. Some people of all age groups care about the environment, great design, customer service and other key selling messages. The time tested brands know what they are about (Mercedes is about quality, Hallmark is about love, Campbell’s soup is about comfort, Patagonia is about enjoying and preserving the environment) – you know instinctively what these brands are about. As you can see ABC has updated their logos multiple times over the years, and so it is also time for us to update our thinking. Marketers – ask yourself again – what does my product or service stand for? When you know that in your marketing gut, the rest will follow. It always does, always will.