If mobile marketers are to believe Deloitte Touche’s annual Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report, North American mobile phone companies could very well be missing the boat by ignoring the exploding baby boomer marketÂ and instead focusingÂ on trendy marketing campaigns and cutting edge gadgets directed at those still in their teens and twenties.
Although it certainly doesn’t warrant a report to tell us what we already know – that mainstream multimedia campaigns are replete with cellphone ads specifically tergeting the youth market wildly enamored of text messaging, mobile web surfing, social networking, and a host of other activities that continue to spike revnue for mobile service providers and manufacturers – it’s remarkably transparent how lopsided the advertising campaigns are in luring and retaining customers.
On the other hand, the “boomer generation” – equipped with highly coveted disposable income – is almost universally ignored by moible marketers.
“Because of the industry’s obsession with marketing to the young,” says Deloitte Touche, “it is missing a huge opportunity for growth. The over-45s already hold a far greater share of the wealth of the world’s most developed nations than the under-45s. Yet despite this the telecommunications industry can appear too focused on serving the youth market. In 2008 this oversight is likely to continue even though it may be damaging to the sector’s bottom line.”
To be fair, when was the last time you saw any mobile marketing ad or a Blackberry commercial that featured a middle aged man or woman?Â Of course,Â the matter may not necessarily be as simple as it would seem, according to Lawrence Surtees, vice-president of telecommunications research at IDC Canada. “The youth market is low-hanging fruit. They are early adopters of technology, are easily identifiable and easily targeted in marketing campaigns.”
Marc Choma, spokesman for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association in Ottawa, the mobile phone industry’s trade group, does not disagree. But he says that, “despite the highly visible youth campaigns, seniors are already a major force in the industry. Subscribers aged 55-plus have been our fastest growing sector for some years now. We have been adding 1.5 million new subscribers a year, and in 2006, 48 per cent were aged 55 or older. That compares with just 25 per cent in 2000.”
In the final analysis, for mobile marketing to better cross demographic boundaries in the future, most experts concur that the youth-vs-senior emphasis will have to be replaced by a greater discussion of how both hardware and mobile advertising can appeal to both sectors in ways that are less mutually exclusive.