Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Behind a Major Generational Divide
Boomers and Millennials Are Wired Differently
If your mom tells you she's not wired to watch mobile video, don't be too surprised. A new study from Nielsen breaks down the differences between two hugely influential generations, the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, and finds that one major distinction is how they process information.
Younger brains are most stimulated by dynamic elements such as rich media, lighting or rotations, while an aging brain is more easily distracted. As the brain ages it slowly loses the ability to suppress distraction.
These differences are key to developing advertising that will appeal to both groups. While both generations are heavy users of technology, Millennials tend to own more new technology, like smartphones, laptops and game consoles, while Boomers stick with TV and remain partial to land lines.
Interestingly, the youngest of the Boomers are approaching their 50th birthday. Though advertisers continue to focus on adults 18-49, this aging generation still controls 70 percent of disposable income in the United States.
Beth Brady, global head of marketing effectiveness at Nielsen, talked to Media Life Magazine about the biggest differences between these generations, what to keep in mind when targeting them with advertising, and how Boomers are driving adoption of new technology.
What's the most interesting or most surprising thing you found out in this report? And what's the most important thing media buyers and planners can take from it?
The most interesting thing we found is that Boomers and Millennials are neurologically hardwired to process information differently.
This should be taken into account when choosing media platforms and formats for campaigns that seek to reach these specific groups.
For example, a Nielsen NeuroFocus study of online advertising found that Boomers' memory retention of static ads in an online environment was much stronger than Millennials, while both remembered dynamic ads at a similar rate.
In what surprising ways are Boomers and Millennials alike?
Boomers and Millennials are both proven to connect with messages, images and characters that they can personally identify with.
Additionally, both enjoy the use of humor in advertisements, but Boomers connect with clever, light-hearted humor, while Millennials are drawn to offbeat, often sarcastic humor.
Some advertisers might also be surprised to learn that Boomers are more connected than one might assume. Though 93 percent of Millennials use the Internet, Boomers aren't far behind, with 82 percent using the Internet.
What is the single biggest difference between the two generations, at least as far as advertisers are concerned?
The biggest difference between Boomers and Millennials is what resonates with them, so while the two generations do both identify with characters and situations similar to themselves and their experiences, it's important that both creative and planning agencies take time to understand what makes their audiences unique, and then attempt to connect with those things in an authentic way.
How quickly are Boomers adapting to new technology? How far behind Millennials do they tend to fall?
There is no doubt that younger generations are the first to adopt new technologies, but once they go mainstream, it's actually the Boomers' adoption that is driving the real growth.
Boomers' adoption of tablets doubled between 2011 and 2012, and they comprise 33 percent of all online and social media users.
How do neuro differences impact how Boomers and Millennials will respond to advertising?
From an advertising perspective, it's widely believed that tailoring your messaging is the fundamental way to reach your audience, but we've learned that even more subtle differences in the composition of advertisements can determine whether or not a message will be correctly processed by a younger or aging brain.
The aging brain responds well to repetition, and believes familiar messages to be true. Additionally, the Boomer brain has a harder time suppressing distractions, but also is better at sustaining its attention and therefore is able to absorb larger quantities of information when presented in a simple manner.
The Millennial brain is more visual and more likely to be engaged by dynamic elements such as lighting or motion. It also has a high multi-sensory processing capacity, which means it's more likely to be responsive to multi-sensory communications, such as interactive web sites.
How do advertisers target them differently?
Advertisers use a variety of methods to connect with their audiences; some are hit or miss while some are largely successful.
There is a myriad of things to consider when attempting to connect with Boomers and Millennials and with the dynamics of both generations changing, aging, developing and adopting new technology, advertising approaches in reaching these audiences should be equally dynamic.
While nuances exist among both groups that that may require a more tailored approach, some ads can transcend age and resonate across the board, proving that good advertising is both art and science.
(Source: Diego Vasquez, Media Life Magazine, 06/27/13)
||American Tastes Branch Out, and Food Makers Follow
If chicken producers could breed a bird with three legs, they would. These days, they can hardly keep up with the demand for thighs and other pieces of dark meat that had once been among the least desirable parts of a chicken.
"Demographics are changing," Bill Lovette, chief executive of Pilgrim's Pride, a division of JBS S.A., told a group at the recent Chicken Media Summit in North Carolina. "There is a growing population that prefers dark meat."
While the effect of changing demographics has been seen in voting patterns and employment trends, the growing influence on America's palate of the influx of immigrants from Latin America and Asia has been more subtle, even as grocery shelves increasingly display products containing ingredients like lemon grass and sriracha peppers.
For years, multinational food companies have been experimenting with ingredients, often being unable to find appeal broad enough to start or sustain a new brand. But as the buying power of Latino and Asian consumers expands, fruit flavors, hotter spices, different textures and grains and even packaging innovations are becoming essential for big food manufacturers trying to appeal to diverse appetites, according to company executives.
From 2010 to 2012, sales of ethnic foods rose 4.5 percent, to $8.7 billion. The Mintel Group, a market research firm, estimates that between 2012 and 2017 sales of ethnic foods in grocery stores will grow more than 20 percent. Mintel predicts Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods will increase the most in that time in terms of dollar sales.
So a soup as mainstream as Campbell's tomato now comes in a version spiked with coconut and lemon grass, and quinoa replaces noodles in a new chicken soup. Frito-Lay has turned up the heat in Doritos with its Flamas variety, which combines red chilies and lime, while McDonald's asks "Zing! Can you handle it?" when advertising its new bacon habanero ranch quarter-pounder.
Consider the soaring popularity of Jarritos, the Mexican fruit-flavored soda in brilliant hues rarely found in nature, at a time when carbonated soda sales are declining overall.
"We knew we were strong among Hispanics," said David Flynn, marketing director of Novamex, which makes and sells Jarritos outside Mexico. "But we were surprised to find that among non-Hispanics, people really loved certain things about the brand -- the fruit flavors, the glass bottle, the natural sugar."
Jarritos has entered the mainstream in California and will be in conventional groceries elsewhere over the next couple of years, Mr. Flynn said.
A staple in Hispanic kitchens with similar results is Abuelita, a chocolate product made by Nestlé for cooking and making hot drinks. Based on its success, Nestlé later this summer will introduce a new dulce de leche cheesecake kit that uses its La Lechera sweetened condensed milk.
"The acculturation of those communities into the mainstream has made American consumers generally more open to new tastes and textures," said Carlos Velasco, president of the international brands division of Nestlé USA. "The good challenge for companies like Nestlé is getting an understanding of those trends and then translating them for this market, because you cannot always use the exact recipes and language that is used in other markets."
Food and beverage companies are investing heavily in transforming product lines to capture many of the same things. Two years ago, for example, the Campbell Soup Company purchased Bolthouse Farms, a farming company that produces fruits and vegetables, in part to have greater access to the foods that are more attractive to the new American palate; for instance, salad dressings like Miso Ginger Vinaigrette.
New packaging from Campbell's also reflects demographic shifts. Go Soup, a new line, is ready to eat in a pouch, an innovation aimed at young people who also will like the flavorings -- soy, coconut milk and green chilies in a creamy chicken soup. The company also opted for pouches to package its new Skillet Sauces and Slow Cooker sauces, which come in flavors like Sweet Korean BBQ and Toasted Sesame.
Chuck Vila, vice president for customer and consumer insights at Campbell's, said that it was not just the rise of new ethnic groups but also how ethnicity was affecting the buying decisions of Millennials, those from 18 to 30-something who are being courted by food and restaurant companies. About 40 percent of the people in that age group identify themselves as something other than white, Mr. Vila said.
"Spaghetti and meatballs might have been adventurous for their parents, but they've grown up with everything from Mexican food to sushi, often right out of the same food court," he said.
A couple of years ago, Mondelez introduced the United States to belVita, a whole-grain biscuit for breakfast. It was a gamble. American biscuits are soft, flaky and usually soaked in butter, but belVita is flat, crispy and more like a cracker or snack bar. But demographics convinced Mondelez that the product would succeed here.
"We look a lot at census data and other internal and external information to understand how demographic shifts might affect our products," said Amelia Strobel, senior director of the consumer insights group at Mondelez. "Currently, the country is overwhelmingly white, but when you look at younger ages of residents, where the long-term growth in the U.S. will come from for manufacturers like us, you're looking at 56 percent under 12 who are not white."
BelVita has proved a major success, named the top new cracker and snack bar of 2012 by Nielsen. The company recommends pairing the crackers with yogurt, another item exploding in popularity because of the population shifts.
Demographics also are driving "grazing" by consumers, increasing the number of times that they eat throughout the day while decreasing the amount eaten.
"The lines are blurring between meals and snacks," said Pam Forbus, vice president for insights at Frito-Lay, the snacks division of PepsiCo. "People are looking for the kinds of foods they'd have at a tailgate party but eating them as a meal."
Frito-Lay has engineered Ruffles potato chips with a deeper ridge that can shoulder hearty dips with meat flavors and chunkier consistencies. It also is incorporating richer flavors like beer-battered onion ring and beef and cheese into the chips themselves.
The company held a contest, "Do Us a Flavor," to help identify new flavorings for its Lays potato chips, and some 3.8 million consumers submitted suggestions. Frito-Lay manufactured three finalists -- Chicken & Waffles, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Sriracha -- and submitted them to a vote.
All three flavors were intensely sought after, with bags being sold on eBay to the highest bidder. "Do Us a Flavor" itself was an import, having previously been conducted in Britain, India and South Africa, turning up flavors like Caesar Salad, Chilli & Chocolate and Cajun Squirrel.
"The diversity of the final flavors, never mind all the other ones we heard about, is like nothing we ever would have contemplated before," said Christine Kalvenes, vice president for innovation.
In the United States, Cheesy Garlic Bread finally triumphed.
"Ten years ago, that would have been a very niche product," Ms. Kalvenes said.
(Source: The New York Times, 07/09/13)
||Maybe Marketers Should Re-Think How They Describe Seniors
Terms used to describe seniors are increasingly outdated and offensive, according to a survey conducted by SeniorMarketing.com.
The survey gauged the responses of 1,114 people to the language used when describing individuals 50 and older. The linguistic map needs an update, according to the study, as certain words and phrases have fallen out of fashion, or worse, become patently offensive.
Most respondents (71%) were comfortable with the term "Baby Boomer," but opinions were evenly split over the term "senior," with only 49% approving. Furthermore, when addressing ageism, or discrimination based upon age, the survey found that half of respondents said they had been victims of ageist stereotypes, while 72% said that they knew someone who had.
Overall, considering the current generation of retirees is expected to live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life, language that communicates health and activity will likely get better traction.
"Our survey results clearly show how certain words, acceptable a generation ago, have rapidly become taboo," says Kevin Williams, president of SeniorMarketing.com, in a release. "'Nursing home,' for example, calls up all kinds of unpleasant ideas; 94% of respondents said that 'nursing home' had the worst association in their mind out of all choices presented."
Perhaps most surprisingly, 44.2% agreed that the terms "senior living" and "retirement community" are outdated. However, "retirement community" only had a 13% negative association versus "retirement home," which had a 48% negative association.
If "nursing home" calls up such powerfully negative emotions, then certainly there are words that produce a more favorable response. Williams notes that "community" has appealing overtones, whereas "facility" is somewhat dehumanizing.
"Knowing the preferred terms when talking about particular groups of people is important from both a human and marketing perspective," Williams said. "The wrong word or phrase can alienate your target audience overnight. The world of politics is rife with these avoidable blunders; businesspeople would do well to learn from such mistakes and set a better example."
(Source: Marketing Daily, 07/04/13)
Daily Sales Tip: Give 'Em a Choice
When you only offer one solution to a customer, the only possible response is to say yes or no. Whenever possible, offer two or more alternatives and ask the customer to choose the one that is best for them. A good way to phrase this is to say something like "...based on what you told me about your needs, I think that these two products/services would work well for you. Which would you prefer?"
There are several advantages to offering alternatives to a customer. It doesn't come across as pushy, lets the customer pick the product/service/option that works best for them, and shows the customer that you are trying to provide something that truly meets their needs.
Source: Bill McCormick, president of Sales Training And Results, Inc. (STAR)