Natalie Myers

Online Ads: Find Commonality Among Consumers

January 19th, 2009

I wasn’t looking for advice about online advertising when I scheduled time to talk to Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO,, for a MarketingSherpa article I’m writing about marketing to grandparents.

That is what I should have expected from someone with 39 years of experience in the industry who last year took the helm of an ad-supported resource site for grandparents.

Jerry’s previous title, Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Madison Avenue at Yahoo!, was another reason I took note of everything he had to say about online advertising. As Ambassador Plenipotentiary, Jerry’s job was to develop and oversee Yahoo!’s strategic relationships with the advertising agency community in general.

Here are some bits of wisdom he shared:

-Too often marketers/advertisers want to market to a demographic instead of a life stage. This is a mistake. “To focus on any particular demographic means you’re cutting out a huge section,” he said.

-The solution to the said dilemma: always try to discover what consumers in a particular life stage have in common.

For grandparents, for example, it’s their grandchildren. Grandparents might be different ages, with different interests, incomes, and activity levels, but the one thing they all have is grandchildren.

Tactic: Instead of focusing on grandparents in online ads, try showing pictures of grandchildren and focusing messaging about how grandparents can interact with their grandchildren. Or focus on what their grandchildren might want or need.

-Too often marketers stereotype grandparents as old, gray, and inactive. The modern grandparent is quite the opposite. The average age a person becomes a grandparent in the U.S. is 48.

These grandparents spend a lot of cash, $50 billion, on their grandchildren annually.

Source: Grandparentopia.pdf

Natalie Myers

About Natalie Myers

Natalie Myers writes for MarketingSherpa’s Great Minds and Content Biz newsletters. She covers a broad array of topics for Great Minds, regularly interviewing thought leaders and experienced marketers about innovative or highly successful marketing strategies. For Content Biz she focuses specifically on online subscriptions models, including anything you pay for to read, listen to, watch, rent (as in Software as a Service models), etc.

She writes blog posts about topics relating to her beats, including useful information from interviews that doesn’t make it into an article.

Categories: Consumer Marketing, Online Advertising Tags: ,

  1. January 19th, 2009 at 13:01 | #1

    Whether it’s online or traditional marketing, the peculiar thing we find in dealing with our clients is that most of them do not know who their ideal customers are. It seems that the scattergun approach is running rampant as many marketers are resorting to the flavour-of-the-month approach whereby any new ad medium that they happen upon is worth a try—OK if your marketing budget is unlimited, but these days businesses must market smart.
    How do you find these qualified prospects? It’s simple really, just take a look at your current customer base and sort out the best ones—the ones that buy a lot of your product; pay quickly and never give you a headache. What do they all generally have in common? Consider age, sex, income, where they live/do business.
    Once you have the typical common characteristics of your best customers defined you’ll be able to recognize a new one that fits the description when they show up. But don’t stop there, ask some of your customers what publications they read, what TV shows they like, what kind of music they prefer, perhaps even what kind of leisure activities they enjoy, and yes, what social networking communities they may take part in. Look for some commonalities among the answers and you’ll be able to get an idea of the places where your marketing will work best because it’s reaching the right people.

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