People who claim a graduate degree from Harvard are obviously gifted. They also tend to be quite successful in life. Two business associates of my firm come to mind.
Harvard MBA Robert Hacker launched one of the nation’s most successful direct marketing companies. Based in Seattle, Bob’s firm, Hacker Group, is synonymous with aggressive, response-oriented direct mail. After meeting Bob at a direct marketing industry conference about 15 years ago, I hired his team to develop direct mail programs when I was advertising director for Total Petroleum, the U.S. division of TOTAL in France.
Also with an MBA from Harvard, David Foster has been a long-term client of my company. He established a respected reputation in publishing, with his most recent accomplishment as Vice President of Consumer Marketing for AMI/Weider. At Weider, he was responsible for $58 million in annual revenue. David has engaged my firm to develop marketing programs for Nation’s Business, Natural Home, Men’s Fitness and Natural Health. He is now jumping into the “aging opportunity” as president and CEO of Maroland, LLC, a home healthcare services provider with aggressive expansion plans.
Now I’ve discovered another Harvard graduate in Moses Znaimer.
From the 1970s through the 1990s, Moses revolutionized media in Canada with a long and impressive list of accomplishments, including CityTV, Bravo! — Canada's NewsStyleArtsChannel, SPACE: The Imagination Station, CablePulse24, Star!, Fashion Television, Book Television, Canadian Learning Television, and even SexTV. His firm is also venturing outside Canada to establish media licenses in Argentina, Columbia, Spain, and Finland.
Moses was one of the media moguls who popularized youth marketing in the 1960s through the 1980s when Boomers were young and the dominant demographic group. Today the 65-year-old has joined a growing list of media masterminds aiming their big guns at the 50+ market.
He has adopted the term Zoomers, “Boomers with Zip,” to subsume his new enterprises, including several online resources, radio stations and a newly revamped consumer lifestyle magazine. Moses does not claim to have coined this neologism, and as I noted in the 3rd edition of Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers, Zoomers appeared in U.S. News & World Report in March 2001.
Moses and his team have been rapidly building a cross-functional media conglomerate focused on Canada’s most powerful demographic. ZoomerMedia Limited has a unifying mission to create a new vision of aging for Canada’s Boomers.
Holdings include the Canadian Association for Retired Persons, known by the interesting acronym of CARP (their smart new logo transforms a word with negative connotations into something nonchalant and fun); Zoomer magazine, a recently rebranded publication known formerly as CARP magazine; and a Zoomer online portal 50Plus.com. The firm’s traditional media properties include Canada’s two classical music radio stations; and AM740, a 50,000-watt channel called The Best of the Best – Zoomer Radio.
Why would this aging segment be attractive to a Canadian media conglomerate in an industry stubbornly stuck in youth marketing?
Well, according to David Cravit, Executive Vice President of ZoomerMedia, 3.3 million adults are between ages 44 and 49 in Canada; 11.2 million adults are 50 and older. Combined, Canadian 40+ adults are 14.5 million strong, representing 54% of all Canadians 12 years and older. Zoomers earn 51% of household income and control 60% to 80% of all consumers spending, depending on the product category.
And so Moses Znaimer and ZoomerMedia have made this opportunity abundantly obvious with their impressive initiatives to circle the market with numerous media properties. They are doing so with style and panache.
(A bit ahead of the gold rush, I conveyed this opportunistic message to Canadian business executives on December 1, 2004, as keynote speaker for a conference sponsored by OpenDialogue, Inc. and entitled “Marketing to Baby Boomers.” It was as clear to me then as it is today that the Boomer/Zoomer market in Canada must eventually ascend to the pinnacle of that nation's marketing priorities.)
And there are a few substantive reasons why this media company is poised to capitalize on the 50+ demographic, perhaps surpassing similar initiatives in other nations, including the U.S.
ZoomerMedia has cross-platform and cross-media integration, seasoned leadership in Moses Znaimer and his executive team, and a nation arriving at optimum demographic critical mass. Zoomer Canadians disperse across a great country while sharing ubiquitous cultural and societal norms. They have a strong sense of national identity, creating the opportunity for substantial social networking as well as shared media consumption. It's as if Moses Znaimer has leveraged the best qualities and resources of Jeff Taylor of Eons, Bill Novelli of AARP, and Larry Jones of TV Land — combined.
Suffice to assert my opinion here that ZoomerMedia has the right stuff to rebrand aging in Canada. And their success is our success.
Moses Znaimer is metaphorically parting a Red Sea in his own unique way, except this time the sea is filled with Lucky Loonies.