Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Suspect Research on Boomers

It's embarrassing to return to blogging after a long absence and the first entry has to be a rant. But alas, that's the case.

Quite frankly, we can't decide if we should be angry or just appalled by some new "research" by FH Boom, PR-giant Fleishman-Hillard's boomer-focused initiative, and the National Marketing Institute.

The key findings, as shared in their press release, are that Boomers at age 70 will behave differently than they do now. Stop the presses! Not.

Besides being a blinding glimpse of the obvious, it is completely worthless data because there isn't a Boomer alive today (oldest Boomer is 62 in 2008) who can tell anybody anything with certainty about their attitudes and purchasing behavior 8+ years in the future. There's actually a line in the release that says the study "gives marketers new insights into the Boomer consumer at age 70." How can they provide "new" insights when no Boomer is age 70 yet? Baffling.

It's like asking 1,100 15-year-olds how they plan on raising their children. They don't know. They aren't at that stage of life yet. Anything they tell you could change five hundred times between now and when they have children. Plus, the world will change between now and then, impacting behavior and attitudes.

Our guess is that FH Boom did the study to try to make a business case to marketers that they need to stay on top of Boomers, who are a moving target. Plus, it makes for fun reading in the paper, so they'll get good press coverage on their stats.

But it is worthless data. What, pray tell, should or could anyone do with this insight today? Oh wait, we'll have to wait until 2016.


Anyone else have an opinion?

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.