I Hoped I Heard It Wrong

Posted on September 20, 2008. Filed under: Boomer Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

We were at the typical networking event. You know the one where people mill around a little, saying hello to their friends, sitting with the same people every week, having a little continental breakfast and generally not much more.

I’m sure you’ve been there. Wondering WHY you are there. God forbid you try to talk business with anyone; you are looked at like you’re a pariah. How dare you try to solicit business or set an appointment or get to know someone new at a networking group?

But then the moment of truth arrives, the 30-second commercial. You listen intently in an attempt to learn something new about someone’s business.

One after another they rise to pass along the exciting news about the new line they have taken on, the new offer or special they are running. We are looking for something, anything that we the assembled masses could take away with us and pass along to others.

At least I thought that was part of networking, you know, spreading the word about something new that you heard about so all can benefit.

We waited, and we waited and then we waited some more.

“My name is Bill, my company is Bill’s Plumbing, when your toilet backs up think of me”.

“My name is Sally. I own Sally’s Shoes. We give you a good understanding (cute eh?). Visit us so you can have a good understanding too”.

You see, we really were listening, waiting for that morsel, looking for an opportunity to talk to someone that has a clue. Maybe meet someone interesting who could be a  guest on the Boomer and the Babe Show.

Then it happened. As we neared the end of the 30-second commercials a perfectly lovely person rose to give the 30-second commercial for her business.

Hi, my name is Bertha. I work for Golden Garden Retirement Home. I’m looking for people 62 years old that are ready to retire and that might want to come and take a look at our facility. I’ll be glad to give you a tour and buy you lunch.

HOLY CRAP !!!!!! Did I just hear what I thought I heard? Sixty-two and retire to Golden Garden, is she serious?

Bertha continued. “At Golden Garden we have movies every Wednesday at 3 PM so our clients don’t have to stay up too late”. “We have a shuttle that can take you to the store or to your doctor appointment”. “We have any number of assorted group activities for our residents”. “We have entertainers that come in and give us little concerts, accordion players, singers, poetry readings, all as part of our resident package”.

I repeat. “HOLY CRAP !!!!! AT SIXTY-TWO ?”

At 61 I MIGHT consider showing my 85-year-young mother that place provided she doesn’t kick me in the can for suggesting it, but me when I am 62? Someone has a real disconnect here.

Bertha my dear, you need to listen to the Boomer and the Babe Show and so does your boss. What have we been saying for these many months about the Baby Boomers? We’re reinventing ourselves at a time when you’re saying we should move in to Golden Garden.

This raises an interesting point. We have said right along that no one knows Boomers better than Boomers. Bertha is no Boomer. But what is surprising is that Bertha is beyond Boomerdom.

She obviously is marketing either the way she knows best (because in her day retirement started at 62 to 65) or she is taking direction from someone that has no clue. Knowing Bertha it’s probably the latter. I am quite certain that there are no people living at Golden Garden that are 62 unless they have some special ambulatory concerns.

So, what’s the point of this rambling? I think it’s twofold.

1) When you are giving your 30-second commercial, make sure it catches someone’s attention for the right reason.

2) If you are trying to market to the boomers, make sure you understand the demographic. Don’t say something that will make you look uninformed.

Here is the key thought to remember about Boomers; at 50 they’re just getting started.

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