Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Media Literacy.

It's an often-used justification for market transformations but is it actually true that people are increasingly media-literate?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Setting Out Your Stall.

One of my interests is identifying the omissions within the PR biographies of successful individuals. Not everything is at it seems or as is claimed and omissions of lucky breaks and familial connections often hide real insights.

I was reminded of this while reading John Grant's latest book in which he refers to the brand bandwagon phenomenon by which advertising agencies take credit for building a brand that was already building by itself.

This goes to the heart of the myth that marketing is synonomous with advertising. If you need further proof, I've watched a local two-person business grow slowly by selling their clothes from their own store. After eighteen years, there was still no marketing department and not one advertisement had been run in print, radio or TV. But the turnover had risen to the vicinity of £100 million.

There had been much truth in the founder's gleeful description of seeing her first delivery van (stylishly furnished in the company colours) on the road and thinking it looked like a giant mobile shopping bag. Your retail outlet, be it physical or virtual (and everything that supports it) is a great marketing tool.

Indeed the more of the value chain that your business can isolate and/or commandeer, the greater the possibilities because it is under your control and is directly measurable. You're not shouting at amorphous crowds through mass media. You're whispering, enticing and listening and thus approaching a prolonged conversation with live prospects and actual customers.

Now not all businesses will have their own retail outlet, but they should act as if they do. Setting out your stall is what marketing is all about.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I Blog, You Blog, They Don't.

A very white middle-class panel discuss their interaction with technology over at Guy Kawasaki's blog. It's deeply unrepresentative in my opinion, but fascinating nonetheless (and the veotag video system is great).

One of my takeaways was the way the panel undermined the way blogs are counted in many surveys? All of them actively used Facebook or MySpace and yet none claimed to have a blog.

UPDATE: As I responded to Ann Michael's comment - a diary has many connotations and it seems to me that MySpace etc are generally used as social calendars rather than confessional diaries. That mean they're not blogs by my definition or more importantly in the users' estimation and thus I think the quantity of blogs has been overestimated because of this and many inert blog.

Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be.

There is a developing trend for exploiting nostalgia for boomers' youth (and perhaps a belated recognition of their numerical importance) by relaunching food brands from the 1970s. I have two questions.

1) Is the nostalgia actually for the brands or for their advertising?

2) When marketing representatives of these brands speak of "reformulating them to meet current taste trends" are they throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

Just because some old brands refuse to die, it does not follow that their appeal can be pushed onto other customers. In fact, I'd argue that the very fact that these products continue to sell without any advertising support is strong evidence that brand values are imposed by the customers and not by the advertising.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Customer Care?

There is much media coverage devoted today to the BBC's decision to spend over £1 million on new channel idents for BBC1 some four years after the last lot - which also caused similar furore. In terms of their overall budget, it's tiny money but I've always wondered about the relevance of entertainment brands. In the age of the channel zapper, does the customer care what channel they're watching? What reassurance does that have give to their viewing experience?

Shared Experience.

A football coach recounted how the shared experience of socialisation in the dressing room had bonded the team in a way which the previous regime's policy of nights out had failed to do.

His explanation for this has resonance for any organisation's internal and external relations - "when you all drink together you act like friends, but you're really just telling lies to each other."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Least Mover Advantage.

Hugh's post on blogging as marketing contains much nuggety wisdom. I particularly agree that sovereignty is a factor that cannot be overstressed. Without it, passion is diluted and consensus tends to lead to compromises such as this.

However, within an otherwise utterly valid point about uniqueness of voice, he propagates one of my betes noires by referring to first mover advantage. This marketing myth emerged during the first online land grab and only holds if, as a first mover, you make no mistakes and all your presumptions about your market prove to be correct. Without a great product, conviction, continuity and sovereignty, first move is worthless. Least mover advantage is far more relevant.

Least movers don't compromise on quality, they stick to their convictions and they are always there for you. It is they who disrupt the first movers and outmanoeuvre the likes of Netscape, Friendster and Alltheweb. They're not inflexible of course, they move willingly for their customers but they decidedly don't move away from their passion because they realise that is why they have those customers.

Least movers don't have New Coke moments or price wars. They know, as Seth recently highlighted that the real first mover advantage is that which they exploit when a new prospect first encounters them and that, unlike at any time before, the network effects of the wired world mean that the first mover is very often a sitting duck.

What's your next move?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Guilt-Free Marketing.

A big interview yesterday with the founders of Innocent Smoothies, one of my favourite companies, shows how they go from strength to strength.

The piece suggest that "further growth will be far tougher. Innocent’s quirky marketing style is ill-suited for the mass market, and will be incomprehensible on the Continent" while an advertising man describes their approach as "anti-marketing." I disagree on both counts. Mass markets here and abroad are made up of lots and lots of individual sentient humans and the combination of a great product with a self-deprecating story attuned to the worldview of those individual customers is exactly what marketing should be about.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It Never Rains.

As if advertising downturns were not bad enough news for the online world, it appears that click fraud is about to become an even bigger story. Lack of public confidence in your business is the worst marketing you can have - as we may be about to see. Meanwhile television seems to be stubbornly popular (as in more popular than ever before). It's funny how new paradigms are never what many people would have you believe.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Going To The Dogs.

Greyhound racing generally takes place in less than exotic stadia over here. Moreover, it faces a serious crisis in respect of recent media revelations about the euthanised fate of thousands of dogs once their racing days are over. I have very infrequently attended meetings and while I enjoyed them, I struggle to recognise any of the adjectives (such as pulsating) which assailed me from a recent TV advertisement.

Your promotion should accurately represent the average experience that a customer can expect because exaggeration only brings you customer dissatisfaction. If you're inclined to overstatement in your advertising, then you should be focussing on improving the offering rather than hoodwinking the public.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The 5 E's Of Marketing.

I'm currently monitoring an organisation that has responded to commercial pressures with a relatively expensive rebranding. I want to see if it recognises the marketing opportunity presented by an international study that has received national media coverage. The study reveals genuine and startling benefits associated with exactly the type of service this organisation provides.

Has the organisation made the phone calls that will provide local media outlets with the type of story that news editors lap up and simultaneously make their service synonomous with this conversation point? Not yet!

Does your marketing mindset associate expenditure with effort and efficiency or does it realise that the easy can be incredibly effective?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The End Of The Rainbow.

In light of the plummeting internet stock prices on the back of the Yahoo advertising warning, I was very taken by JP's reference to Peter Drucker's observation that on the internet maybe companies have to buy customers rather than sell products. I think it applies offline as well as online.

Despite declaring advertising to be a dying industry, some commentators have been willing to exempt new internet businesses from the slump that Yahoo is facing and I think they're entirely wrong. Sure, Google adwords are different from moribund brand advertising, but in an economic turndown minds will be focussed on issues such as the overbidding for adwords (which I think is rife because advertisers don't bother to run an ROI analysis) and the incestuous walled ecosystem of Web 2.0 companies providing advertising revenue for other Web 2.0 businesses.

At the end of the day, businesses need customers or they die. The auto industry is suffering from overproduction but I just wonder how many online businesses that have grown up in this last upturn of the economic cycle may also be found to have been "selling" products rather than acquiring genuine, profitable customers?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Authentic Authenticity.

Against what do you measure authenticity? Someone can seem passionate and real in comparison to the mediocrity of the mass-produced, but is that genuine? Food labelling that states organic or barn-raised means something authentic to the reader but, legally speaking, it could mean something different, less authentic and designed to conform a certain quality to a certain price point.

Does that matter? Is your business all about genuine authenticity or being good enough for your customers? Do they want to deal with a confident business that will deliver every time or one that is constantly asking whether it was good for them?

Monday, September 18, 2006

And So It Begins.

Peter Chernin COO of News Corp speaking at last week's Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment Conference in Pasadena attacks YouTube for leeching off MySpace. Universal Music threatens to sue YouTube over copyright infringement and YouTube announces a deal with Warner Music whereby a royalty-tracking system will detect when homemade videos are using copyrighted material and allow Warner Music to review the video and decide whether it wants to approve or reject it.

Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis rants "They are marketing and distributing your music for you. Don’t want them to? Fine. Plenty more where you came from."

No there isn't - in all markets the product is the most cruciial element of the marketing mix. Remove the copyright material from these sites and there's virtually nothing left in terms of popularity. It's YouTube that has cut off its nose by not facing up to the issue.

Disruptive Customer Service.

Disruptive technology in the insurance business has seen doorstep selling made obsolete by the call-centre and now the call-centre being replaced by the internet. Similarly on the complaints side. It costs £25 to deal with a client's letter in the UK, £15 if the back office is moved to India, £9 if the complaint is made to a call centre and 50p to reply to an email.

So costs are being pared and price competition is paramount. The result: no customer loyalty and Norwich Union is cutting 4000 jobs from its 36,000 UK staff in face of competition from online insurers that can sell 100,000 policies with a staff of only 100.

As an editorial I read on this subject said "Unless drivers abandon their taste for cheap cover and internet convenience, tens of thousands more jobs will disappear overseas and into the digital ether."

Perhaps, but what if an insurance company thought about eliminating complaints rather than costs? Might the consequently hassle-free experience generate word of mouth and be worthy of higher margins? Disruption doesn't have to be technology-led.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Marketing 2.0

Wikipedia the open-source encyclopaedia is changing. Citizendium will combine "public participation with gentle expert guidance" and I'm sure there will be protests about the pollution of the original ideal.

But, from my perspective, "public participation with gentle expert guidance" sounds like a terrific definition of marketing 2.0 where it is up to the experts (marketers) to guide the consumer as far as the consumer wants to be guided and no further.

Video Made The Bloggers Stars?

A lot of the current debate about videoblogging seems to focus on the technicalities of making the things rather than the issue of their consumption.

As I commented before, I'm not a great fan. I don't want to spend fifty minutes watching two smart guys chatting and take away three minutes of notes.

Unscripted chatter is generally not as informative as scripted blogs or podcasts and, at worst, it's lazy journalism or barely disguised PR puffery. The argument that four videobloggers have crashed into the top 100 is the vanguard of something big is I think jumping the gun. One belongs to a Chinese movie star whose text blog was already there, one's a geek TV show (the first mover in this category) and the other two are essentially stand-up comedy shows which (as entertaining as they are), I don't really see as blogs at all (let's not forget Ze Frank's is essentially a one year series).

Yes, there will be more. Yes, a picture can be worth a thousand words. But if your videoblog is like bad public access television then please, please think again because for all the technological advances you may idolise, there's still only 24 hours in my day.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Batteries On A Plane.

Charles recounts his tribulations on the Apple battery recall and highlights the importance of thinking through every aspect of the customer service experience each time you institute a transaction. Just because your previous "battery recall" went well, don't assume that all the interconnections will fit as they did the last time. Change happens.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Slap On The Wrist.

Research can be so easily undermined. Always say what you mean and mean what you say.

What might well be an interesting study that shows that sharing a bed with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power is subverted by the wrong choice of words.

"Professor Kloesch and colleagues at the University of Vienna studied eight unmarried, childless couples in their 20s. Each couple was asked to spend ten nights sleeping together and ten apart while the scientists assessed their rest patterns with questionnaires and wrist activity monitors."

Off Their Trollies.

My eyes were drawn to the end of my shopping trolley last night. You've guessed it. Another free space now emblazoned with advertising. This time for Hardy's wines.

Funnily enough, its positioning did not excite me, but rather served only to emphasise the length of the trolley and the fact that it corresponds to no-ones focal length! So, all I could read at the distance was the product name because the majority of the ad was in small type. Being cognisant of my readers' interest, however, I leaned forward and read some information about texting my meal-plans to them and receiving wine advice back. As if!

I had no meal plans per se. I certainly had no intention of prolonging my stay to wait for the vagaries of mobile communication to return my text with a "personalised' recommendation. I bought no wine.

UPDATE: This phenomenon has recently been named urban spam.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Self-Promotion Begins At Home?

I am a bad marketer!

I chanced upon a reaction to the presence of bloggers including Robert Scoble at an SAP convention. It included the assertion that they asked softball questions while journalists were more informed and critical. This is a significant issue, but not one that fits my self-imposed blogging remit, even if it does speak to the debatable question of whether newspapers will be killed by the blogosphere and the nature of the knowledge seeker's consumption experience.

So, rather than write a post myself and stir up some minor self-publicity, I dropped Robert an email seeking his reaction because his is an audience which should, in my opinion, consider this issue more than they seemingly do. The result - the original PR commenter gets a link from Robert and her Technorati ranking moves (in the space of one day) from 1.6 million with no blogs linking to her, to 560,000 with just 5 blogs linking. My ranking went down! Doh!

Well no, I'm not a bad marketer. I helped to stimulate a conversation in the right arena. Good marketing is about the subject not the marketer (as many advertising professionals would do well to remember). I also inadvertantly renewed my awareness of the importance of sneezers and the distorted nature of online ranking. So if you're bewailing your lowly status, don't. Rankings don't matter as much as the conversations. The former is the online equivalent of mass marketing noise, the latter the online equivalent of permission-based engagement and we all know which is ultimately the more valuable. Just focus on writing good stuff for yourself and your self-selecting audience and your impact will be felt.

Though, if that doesn't satisfy, you could consider attacking an A lister and I'll spread the word.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Provocative Comments.

Specifically something from Kathy's comments.

Being provocative is a no brainer to me. It's about challenging the status quo and pushing to the edges but one commenter raises the question of whether you should be provocative for the sake of it or choose your moment to be provocative. Neither are good in my book. The former is just antagonistic while the latter is a compromise.

I advocate thinking provocatively and saying what follows from that. Does it matter if you end up being thought of as "that asshole Bob"? I guess that depends on your skin's thickness, your self-assurance and most of all who it is who ascribes that title to you.

I'll sum it up by saying one man's asshole is another man's inspiration and hope you all know what I mean by that.

Forever Young.

Since my various posts about demographic groupings have generated much debate, I have continued to look for other examples. The latest one I've discovered is psychological neoteny that seeks to explain the prolonged immaturity of people.

It posits that formal education fosters a “child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge.” Although this may be well suited to certain aspects of the increased instability of the modern world, it also means that the modern trend of prolonging education beyond the ages of physical maturity leaves many minds “unfinished.”

“The psychological neoteny effect of formal education is an accidental by-product — the main role of education is to increase general, abstract intelligence and prepare for economic activity.”

There are contradictions amongst these theories, of course, but the one thing it all does is emphasise to me the idiocy of marketing to a certain chronological demographic. Lives are far more fluid than that these days with cultural, psychological and neurological factors all contributing to one's personal development or lack of it.

You can no longer market to age groups (if indeed you ever could) - your "targetting" should be towards behaviours and attitudes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Thrill Is Gone.

Bill Bryson latest book is a memoir of his 50's childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. In a recent interview, he revealed how times have changed by relating his father's excitement upon bringing home a popcorn popper and commented that "No-one is thrilled by the purchase of a small appliance these days." That is the marketing challenge in an age of supposed plenty.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lasting Impressions.

For many years, I Iived three blocks up the street from the WTC and stay there whenever I'm back in the city. During my first ever visit I spent, in the shadow of the towers, many hours on the East River beach. It's gone too, but not from my memory.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Socially Relevant Marketing.

I've expressed my reasons for mistrusting consumer research before. This most misunderstood and thus counterproductive aspect of modern marketing is revisited by David Wolfe.

"most conventional consumer research that is aimed at determining what consumers want and will do is seriously flawed because it presumes consumers will provide accurate answers to questions the researcher asks. However, outside of a “real life context,” people tend to use different brain sites and mental processes to answer hypothetical questions. That is why consumers so often act differently than research predicted."

It elicited the following comment:

"The day marketers let consumers control their own purchase behaviors is the day marketing as a discipline becomes irrelevant."

I think that is totally wrong because it assumes that marketers control purchase behaviours today. They may try to influence them, but they can never control them. Thus, if marketers focus on having a conversation with potential consumers they will achieve a greater level of influence than they do today because the consumer will be allowing them to have that informed influence. In fact, marketing will then become more important because it will be properly practised and more (not less) relevant than ever before.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Create Passionate Workers.

Watching some qualitative research sessions the other day, I noticed a strong reaction to one of the client's propsective messages. This group of middling managers expressed cynicism at the suggestion that they might work because they care and can make a difference to the world rather than merely be wage slaves. It was the latter which motivated them.

I've been fortunate to work in areas which either were selling something about which I had a generalised enthusiasm or in consulting roles that appeal to my penchant for problem-solving and improvement, but maybe I have over-estimated the proportion of people who have a zest for work that even approaches this.

The same tactics may apply as for creating passionate users but where users get their reward from whatever needs the product/service meets, what about the workers who are so crucial to creating the user experience? How do you create passionate workers?

Friday, September 08, 2006


Back in 2000, my old friend Remo Giuffre recommended a book called The Cluetrain Manifesto to me. While I was not as blown away as some people, I'm glad he did so because of the places to which and the people to whom that led me.

Today, he's based in Sydney and our communication is not as frequent as we'd like, but I keep vicarious track of him via his online retail business which very much reflects the tenets of the Cluetrain. As I have just read, this clearly does not apply to some of his suppliers.

Follow this link and scroll down to the Au Revoir Dyptique section to read as stark a contrast of old and new marketing as you are likely to see.

Insubordination In The Rankings.

This post on online feedback makes many sensible points. It's critical to listen to customer feedback in order to see what's not working, but I think it's more difficult to extrapolate positive messages (as Guy later suggests) from what are self-selecting samples. The glorious work of this subversive illustrates why.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Real Facebook Lesson.

There is a big "revolt" going on at the Facebook student social network because new features that were notably lauded by Web 2.0 champions are hated by a large number of users as, irony of ironies, they make the network more socially inclusive.

This has raised much debate about how ineptly the management have acted and allowed bloggers to pontificate on how to deal with communities. Admittedly the headline of the response was very ill-judged, but if you read the content of his message something quite different emerges.

The real lesson here is this. Despite having only known a digital age (as we are constantly reminded by sociologists), even students are largely technophobic. None of them had bothered to adjust or think about their privacy settings because that's technical and time-consuming and regular people just want to plug and play.

Now, for sure, there's an argument to be made that the default setting should have been extreme privacy which users could then liberalise. That seems perfectly sensible to me but, of course, that might just reveal that people don't want to be as connected as the hype suggests.

Managing Expectations.

I tend not to use this blog to relate personal stories but Ann Michael copied me in on the details of her tussles with Dell customer services just as I was being atypically exasperated by Apple. She, having commented on customer service on blogs in the past, had been granted a fast track to satisfaction and she wondered what message that sent to those customers like me who were restricted to the standard approach. Well, the experiences were certainly different.

When I logged into the London store site looking to gain access to the Genius Bar reservation page, I found instead an "innovation" in the form of the Apple concierge who is there to help me. All well and good. This seemed like a statement of dedicated customer service intent - but sadly, having registered my details, I was told that the concierge was too busy to deal with me and perhaps I should consider renewing my Applecare contract.

Result - customer expectations raised then dashed - just as in the case of Ryanair's recent promotion debacle which uncannily echoes that at Starbucks. But worse than that, my zealous prosletysing of Apple is now under review.

Had the experience been merely good enough, I might have grumbled a little bit, but ultimately been satisfied. However, if you manage your customers' expectations upwards and then fall short, you have a satisfaction problem and possibly a word of mouth one too. It is a fine line to tread, but I'm constantly amazed at how managers fail to understand that if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.

[Geek sidebar - any thoughts on why the lower memory slot on my two year old G4 1 khz powerbook has suddenly stopped working and what happened to the startup chime?]

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Networks' Dilemma.

Yesterday saw the launch of the first new US television network in ten years. Featuring cheap programming such as telenovelas and considerable internet tie-ins, myNetworkTV is being touted as the future of televison. It will be fascinating to watch its progress (even if its programming seems less than enthralling) because I am not certain that the dominance of traditional TV is as threatened as commentators would have us believe.

Last night, I heard that this new venture had booked $50 million in advertising compared to $600 million at another soon-to-launch network (which I assume to be CW). Some might say this just shows that the worldview of advertisers is entrenched in the old model and I would not argue with that. But, perhaps they're also unconvinced that tie-ins with mySpace will lead them to advertising-friendly viewers.

If the online revolution has created a new viewing paradigm, then it is reasonable to question whether the best response is to create a hybrid of the old and the new business models. To me that seems evolutionary rather than disruptive.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Something From The Comments.

Ze Frank on social networks, viral marketing, user-generated content and so much more.

First Impressions.

Electronics retailer DSG Interational have seen the success of the Geek Squad and/or read my blog and will be introducing their own version in Europe in order to "combat the technological revolution by making it simple." All very laudable, but could thay have thought of a more uninspiring and limiting name than The Tech Guys?

It emphasises technology and masculinity, yet says nothing about simplification and service? And don't get me started about DNAge - an anti-aging cream from Nivea whose name immediately emphasises age rather than vitality! You have three seconds to get people's attention and if your name mis-directs your potential customers, you've got an uphill-battle.

Retail Reality.

Nike Town in central London is a fascinating piece of experiential retailing but not my favourite place when it comes to escorting visitors there. However, its current exhibition celebrating 27 years of Nike Air technology is a must-see for all who are interested in marketing.

Due to its sheer popularity and the logistical problems inherent in footwear purchasing, I find the store to be a terrible place to try to buy something. But when I attended this event (relaxed in the knowledge of having no need to come away with something physical), the total contrast between this and the pile em high, box-strewn sneaker stores where I actually purchase is blindingly apparent.

Now if they (or you) could create some outlets where the product isn't commoditised but the retail transaction is swiftly efficient, then we'd be really on to something.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Reality Check.

At a fabulous social event in the real world this weekend, I spoke of blogging with a number of old friends who were unaware of my participation. Some knew a little about blogging, some were ignorant yet interested, but none, as yet, were actively involved. They included high earners and quite a few geeks whose daily work revolved around IT systems but whose real life crucially did not. They have families and real social networks - they don't live their lives online.

Was this disheartening? Far from it. This is only the beginning - anyone getting into blogging today is still ahead of the game and should not moan about A listers etc. There are so many people yet to come to the party that, even as a neophyte, you can build exactly the voice you want for whatever purpose you want. Just make sure you live in the real world.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Remarkable Isn't Enough.

A couple of months ago, I illustrated my definition of "remarkable" with the story of terminal cancer sufferer Jane Tomlinson who was planning to cycle across the United States.

Well yesterday she successfully rode in to Battery Park, New York and seemingly very few Americans noticed or were aware. A generous country, proud of can-do attitudes and tales of human endeavour against the odds was oblivious or disinterested and less money was raised for charity than on her previous rides.

If you ever doubted in this cluttered world that, regardless of how stunning your offering may be, you still have to work very hard to get noticed then this is the proof. Costnerian economics do not apply, marketing is not unnecessary puffery and remarkable isn't enough.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

On Measuring Worldviews.

A sobering thought from Daniel Gilbert's excellent Stumbling On Happiness.

"It is extremely difficult to measure an individual's happiness and feel completely confident in the validity and reliability of that measurement. People may not know how they feel, or remember how they felt, and even if they do, scientists can never know exactly how their experience maps onto their description of their experience, and hence they cannot precisely know how to interpret people's claims. All of this suggests that the scientific study of subjective experience is bound to be tough going."

So measure what happens, not what people say will happen and keep on measuring.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Is 30 The New 50?

I name-checked David Wolfe recently because I've always thought his development psychology approach resonates with many of today's hot issues such as socially-responsible business (unsurprisingly the subject of his upcoming book). While I knew about the classic econometric impacts of the aging population many years ago, it's less than half the story.

The idea that self-actualisation is the predominant worldview characteristic is completely apparent as soon as you have it pointed out to you. It fires the passions of your friends, it fires religion and it must be what's firing the dumb pursuits of those weirdoes with whom you have no intention of interacting.

David Wolfe argues that, due to inevitable neural development, it comes to prominence in the fall season of your life which equates to 38 and over. But, I'm beginning to wonder if it's also a social contagion that might increasingly be affecting younger people who, as GDP per capita grows and living on credit mushrooms, are acquiring material possessions at an earlier age.

They move into new homes that are fully decorated, they fill them with appliances, and they snort at their parents' exhortations to live within their means and save for a rainy day. They also realise earlier that this doesn't bring them happiness and turn to catching dreams, knitting yogurt and regressing in various ways. How do I know this? Well I don't, but what I do know is that not all those aforementioned weirdoes are over 38.

More seriously, I think this trend suggests that marketing aimed at the population bulge has a far more significant chance of also chiming with younger demographics, whereas we know the ubiquitous youth marketing obsession distinctly turns off the older consumer. If correct, that might finally persuade more marketers to change their voice.