Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Savvy marketers get nostalgic (you read it here first)

Twenty years ago today the first online shopping transaction was made. It doesn't seem a long time really, 20 years, and somehow online shopping seems to have become so mainstream I would have expected it to have been even longer ago.

But there's still a huge number of disenfranchised people who don't have access to the internet - particularly among the over 65s. My mother, 82, was one of them until a couple of weeks ago when she decided to take the bull by the horns, book computer lessons with Age UK and get the required broadband. She then bought a tablet and has been making good progress, although she's impatient with how much there is to learn. She thought it would be easier and more intuitive.

As a marketer, I'm always looking ahead to new trends and where we will be going. I predict there'll soon be a general return to nostalgia and may be even "old fashioned" ways of doing business. We're reaching saturation point with email. I've spent the last two weeks in an exercise I call "reclaiming my inbox" where I've been clicking on unsubscribe in all the emails and newsletters I receive. This could be a whole blog post in itself because most of them still email me weeks later, and a lot of them are emailing me in my former name, when I have been using my married name for four years, which begs the question how old is their database?

The Super Boomers already dominate in terms of their spending power and if most of them are anything like me, we're fed up with: a) being patronised by big brands and referred to as "silver surfers" just because we're over 50, when most of it were blogging years ago and using Facebook when it launched;  b) we yearn for simple and uncomplicated. Not in gadgets (we buy all the latest "stuff") but in life itself. There's too much choice. Booking a holiday takes hours now because you have to research every hotel on TripAdvisor. Even knowing what to eat for a healthy diet is hugely complicated. A magazine article recently pitted three experts against each other, and they all disagreed. So what hope is there for the average person? 

I was recently buying a few cards in Clinton's - in itself an outdated pastime when a lot of youngsters prefer to send e greetings - and I proffered the little card they stamp when you make a purchase. "Oh we've got something better now," said the assistant, and slapped down a flyer for me to read. Of course they want my email address and in return they will email me with offers. Apparently I will get a fourth card free when I buy three cards. I'm not sure how that will work because I didn't want to register. I quite enjoyed the harmless pursuit of having them stamp my little card and then give me a free card, no questions asked. So I'll carry on doing this, but in Marks and Spencer where they still run the same promotion with no email addresses needed.

Recently a couple of online retailers have started sending newsletters, nicely produced and luxurious, and it was a pleasure to sit and read them for a few minutes.

I seriously think there could be something in nostalgic marketing. Not only would the Supers love it, but also Gen X and Y because fashion is about nothing more than recycling the past. And the past is new to them.
I'd love to hear your views.


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