Talkin' 'Bout My Generation...

This month's cover story makes me feel old. It's one thing to look in the mirror and see the wrinkles creeping across your face like cracks in an old plaster ceiling. It's another matter to discover that American business thought leaders are beginning to pay less and less attention to my generation — baby boomers — in favor of a younger, wealthier one — Generation X.

April 30, 2007

Michael R. Morris
Editor in Chief

This month's cover story makes me feel old. It's one thing to look in the mirror and see the wrinkles creeping across your face like cracks in an old plaster ceiling. It's another matter to discover that American business thought leaders are beginning to pay less and less attention to my generation — baby boomers — in favor of a younger, wealthier one — Generation X.

Baby boomers have been the center of attention in advertising and marketing for so long — and for good reason — that it may come as a shock to you that they are not only past their spending prime as a generation, they are very soon going to be passed in spending by a nation of upwardly mobile, iPod wearing, text messaging consumers.

Many forward-thinking companies have already begun to pay less attention to the baby boomers in order to get in on the ground floor with the Gen-Xers. This includes some leading-edge remodeling firms, perhaps some of whom are in your local market.

The sense of urgency, as I see it, to making a shift toward targeting Generation X sooner than later, is that they have been identified as very brand loyal comsumers, more so than previous generations. This means that if they do business with one of your competitors first, and are happy with the service they receive, they and all those they might refer you to will be lost to you forever as prospects.

If 100 percent of your customer base is baby boomers, let this serve as a wake-up call. The time to plant some seeds in this fertile new soil is now.

It won't even take a major shift in your business to get moving in the right direction. You can continue to target past clients (baby boomers) via your company newsletters and direct mail pieces while focusing newspaper and magazine ads, radio spots, and especially your Web site, toward a younger generation of new prospects.

This will allow you to continue to milk the boomer market through their final years of strong spending while ensuring you're not left behind when Generation X takes complete control of home improvement spending.

On a somewhat related note, we've added another feature to our ever-expanding Web site, www.ProRemodeler.com, to enhance our ability to deliver more timely information of use to you and your business. Senior Editor Jonathan Sweet and I debut our blogs (or Web logs) on a new Blog Zone, www.ProRemodeler.com/blogs.

If you're not aware of what blogs are, you're in for a real treat. On our Blog Zone, you'll find regular columns, or posts, from Jay and I on topics of interest to the professional remodeling community. More importantly, you'll be able to add to the conversation by responding to our posts with comments and insights of your own.

It's enough to make a Generation Xer proud. Or even an aging baby boomer like me.

630/288-8057, michael.morris@reedbusiness.com

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