Enders: the world as we (really) know it

There I was; Friday afternoon at Media360. I’d made it through the panel session on programmatic buying, the greased pig of the marketing world (just as you think you’ve grasped what it is and why everyone seems so excited about it, it’s slipped away to go snuffling for automated, real-time truffles). My mind was full after two days of wonderful content. The end was now in sight but would I make it? Did I have room for more?

Turns out I did, because the end was the excellent Claire Enders, and she chose to close the conference with a refreshing and revitalising reminder of reality.

She urged advertisers to remember that consumers have a ‘multi-layered existence’ composed of many different media and that despite the excitement about opportunities around mobile and online, ‘traditional’ media – the likes of TV, print and radio – were thriving and dominate people’s media consumption. Here’s the chart she showed:

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Enders made many astute and interesting points – such as how increased online activity is potentially bad news for advertisers because many of the places people spend much of their online time are not great environments for advertising. Morty blogged recently about the rarely mentioned fact that half of (non-TV) online video time is spent with adult material.

Obviously, when online environments are high quality and trusted, then great. But there is a limited amount of premium space and an infinite amount of the rest.

The point that struck home the most however was about targeting the demographic with the most money. Marketers are so often obsessed with youth when they should be more interested in wealth. Enders identified people over 45 years old (Generation X and the Baby Boomers) as ‘Generation Wealth’. These are the people who both have the most money and spend the most – women in particular.

Whenever I hear nice stats about my demographic, I’m always smug and delighted for myself, but terrified for my kids. Anyway…

Enders informed us that over 45s own 81% of the UK’s total assets, they have 70% of the disposable income and they are responsible for 61% of consumer expenditure. They also actively switch brands and services, rather than the clichéd view that they are settled with what they are used to.

This is a theme that Bob Hoffman, the brilliant Ad Contrarian blogger in the US, is very keen on. In fact he’s so keen on it that he’s recently set up an ad agency that specifically targets the over 50s as he believes they are a wildly neglected demographic given their spending power. In the UK, Robert Campbell has recently launched High50, a community for the over 50s, who it describes as ‘the most economically powerful, culturally significant, desired and desirable generation on earth’.

So, the message was clear: spend more effort on the demographic with the means. And those means brought us to the end.

(On the topic of spending, it would be negligent of me not to point you towards the econometric beauty of Payback 4, the new effectiveness study by Ebiquity which we launched yesterday. Lots of robust proof that investing in advertising works.)

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