They Have the Most Expendable Income and They Spend

Marketing campaigns frequently glaze over and disregard targeting audiences 50+. This can be a big mistake. Senior citizens have expendable incomes and have no issues spending it. However, you must know how to speak their language.

According to research done by AARP  “the 50+ market will grow by 15 million over the next 10 years. That’s nearly 3X the growth of the 18-49 market. Boomers command 71% of the entire nation’s wealth. The 50+ market make 39% of all online purchases. Boomers account for 51% of entertainment spending and 57% of big-ticket purchases including new cars. Boomers are an incredible economic force.

Yet, they’re an under-targeted market by brands. In fact, only 10% of marketing dollars are targeted towards the 50+ audience. That’s forty percentage points of all marketing dollars left on the table to match consumer spending.”  The biggest hurdle for advertising is to address and dispel the misconceptions of mature consumers.

Myth 1: Seniors are more brand loyal than younger generations

While this may have been true 40 years ago, today’s seniors are just as likely as younger consumers to change brands according to a study by AARP. Brand preference must have an engagement factor included for today’s seniors. “For example, in the 55+ age group, 31% of auto owners were “fully engaged” Gallup’s definition of an emotionally engaged customer.

In contrast, only 23% and 16% of consumers in the 17-24- and 25-34-year-old age groups were fully engaged (respectively). Among those who shopped at mass merchandisers, 34% of those 55+ years of age were fully engaged. In clear contrast, only 9% of the 17-24- and 25-34-year-old shoppers were fully engaged with the stores where they shop — less than a third of the engagement levels noted among the older consumers.”

Myth 2: Price is the only thing seniors care about

Price is no longer the #1 driving force in purchase decisions. Boomers and seniors have experienced too many undelivered brand promises in their lifetimes, therefore; “Companies don’t need to make stronger brand promises or make them more often and in more media. Rather, companies must focus on delivering their brand promises.”

Myth 3: Seniors don’t shop online

Retirees have plenty of time to research choices online. “Greenfield pointed out that…              29 percent of the 3,000 seniors surveyed spent two to three hours a day online. The survey found that 93 percent of online seniors surveyed have shopped online, compared to 78 percent of the general Internet population. 89 percent of seniors fully completed their online purchases, compared to only 70 percent for the general Internet population. Last year’s senior survey showed that 92 percent of online seniors had shopped online, and 78 percent had completed their online purchases.”

Myth 4: Seniors all think alike

Contrary to popular belief, there are three distinct mature consumer groups. Each is in their own spending and lifestyle faction: those 50-56 who are still in their peak earning years; those 57-65 who are still work but are planning retirement; and those 66 and older who have entered their retirement years.

Myth 5: Your brand message applies to all your consumers

Marketers wishing to reach this market would be wise to create specific messages targeting this group.

  1. Life stage marketing. Many baby boomers are facing various life stage changes such as a sudden empty nest, looking at retirement communities and retirement. Including these defining moments in your message can help make a quick connect with this target audience.
  2. Remove the risk. While they may have lots of disposable income, mature consumers watch their pennies. Removing the risk of them losing their money by offering a money-back guarantee, lifetime warranty or free trials.  
  3. Know your customer. In the same way that every cellular phone isn’t an iPhone, every senior citizen isn’t elderly. Those 50 and over have varied desires and needs.

Marketing to mature consumers can help mid-market brands increase their sales and create a strong advertising plan for build loyalty with customers for a lifetime. To learn more about how to tailor your message and purchase media to reach mature consumers, contact A3 media at (610) 631-5500 or email

For years the advertising industry has been tasked with trying to eliminate ad fraud from the digital eco-system. And yet, rather than decrease, the problem seems to worsen. According to Dr. Augustine Fou, Anti-Ad Fraud Consultant and Researcher, reputable publishers account for only 10 percent of the money spent on digital advertising and generate only about one percent of impressions. The rest is being wasted on fraudulent publishers. If this is true, why hasn’t the advertising industry put a stop to ad fraud? Candidly stated, it’s easier said than done and there’s something in it for everyone.  

Suppressing the Truth                                                                                            

Eliminating ad fraud will also make fraudulent publisher inventory disappear. This in turn leads to a decline in available ad space to purchase. Less ad space to purchase on behalf of clients means a substantial profit loss for media buying agencies. It also would send the cost of digital media skyrocketing and its impressive CPM metrics would be lost. This would lead to more scrutiny on a ROI level.

To make matters more complex, buyers and marketers hire third party fraud detection groups to act as a watchdog for fraud. However, many of these fraud detectors are paid based on accredited impression levels, so it’s financially more rewarding for them to approve questionable placements. In some instances, they’ve been known to make claims that after further investigation, cannot be substantiated.

Marketers also despise delivering bad news to the client, which is another reason third parties help buffer the blow of digital fraud.  What agency would want to report an unsuccessful delivery rate of 90 percent to a client? Third parties are utilized to act as a legitimate source to soften the blow of disappointing results of campaign delivery.

Performance Facts Distortion

Marketers can’t change what the best of technology has to offer in fraud detection, and most rely on performance-based metrics to justify digital deliverables. This medium is moving faster than the speed of light and the security divisions aren’t keeping up with the fraudsters, but they’re gaining on them every day. Until then ad agencies can only deliver what the world can evaluate at this time, and many agencies quietly feel their hands are tied in winning the battle over fraud resolution. And, they certainly can’t tell their clients.

Unfortunately, most performance metrics that result from digital advertising are based on incorrect data. True conversions clicks and even impressions are easily falsified by bots. If performance-based metrics truly had an impact on a company’s bottom line, then any big change in digital advertising should be noticed.

However, so far, it hasn’t proven to be true. In 2018, for example, P&G withdrew more than $200 million from one advertising quarter of their digital advertising campaign. As a result, their profits improved, single handedly proving that after a certain threshold level of digital is utilized that additional digital advertising didn’t improve any of their business outcomes.

Will It Ever End?

While many attempts have been made to eliminate ad fraud, almost none have had a positive, lasting effect. Most recently, a cross-section of advertisers, and a hand full of media agencies including A3 media, and DSP and SSP platforms have formed a union to investigate whether blockchain holds any promise to end digital ad fraud.

The technology acts as an incorruptible digital ledger of transactions. When applied to digital advertising, blockchain verifies impressions and provides programmatic supply chain transparency through a neutral, decentralized shared register—capable of processing and verifying high volumes of data from multiple parties to reach consensus on the ads’ success.

While the technology is still in the early stages of testing, the results have been positive.

To learn more about fighting ad fraud in your digital advertising campaign, contact A3 media at (610) 631-5500 or email

How do we repair trust between clients and agencies?

Nurturing healthy relationships went to the wayside eons ago. Somewhere along the path of courtship between agencies and clients, the art of having an enlightened and mutually beneficial partnership vanished. Trust is on the endangered list these days between these two parties, and the slate needs to be wiped clean. Partnership rules and strategies need to be defined, from the first conversation.

According to a study cited in Adweek “Nearly all advertising and marketing executives (98%) say that the best work comes when clients trust their agencies, collaborate (94% agencies, 100% clients), and maintain long-standing relationships (84% agencies, 81% clients).”

The first date……. Agree to measure what is measurable……

Agency consultants are drilling the point home about defining tangible and measurable objectives in the very first meeting. There is a huge disconnect on how clients and agencies perceive one another.  “In fact, marketers and their agencies differ on many basic business goals. While nearly all agencies (90%) say they understand their client’s businesses, only 65% of clients agree.” It’s vital both parties clearly define what the client’s problems are, how advertising can assist, and what is measurable.

Agencies have never had so much pressure to measure ROI. Despite living in a world filled with data usually there is not an exact number showing how an ad put a consumer in a store for purchase, but sometimes there is. Software capabilities and data resources are constantly updated and are evolving, but they are not free. According to Forbes To survive into the future, agencies must become Agencies of Return. To do that, you have to be prepared to measure everything that you do and take an honest look at your own results.”  Having an initial conversation defining capabilities and tangible goals can truly help nurture healthy expectations. 

It takes time to know someone….

Understanding a business, no matter how big or small it is, takes time. Clients are more and more targeted on choosing agencies that have experience in their category. While this has some substance, a good team of smart agency leaders have the same learning curve on any piece of business. That may come as a surprise, but there are parts of the advertising process that don’t require category specific experience. Brands are bringing a lot of creative work in-house or they are parsing it out to freelancers or boutique agencies, “project by project, not relationship by relationship.”  A smart team of advertising professionals will achieve success if given ample time to learn a business.

Creative payment plans….

Shooting from the hip and expressively offering his opinion, Michael Farmer (CEO of Farmer & Company and 25-year veteran advertising consultant) states quite candidly about how agencies failed to keep pricing models current. Gone are the days of 15% commission and hourly rates, but in the process of shrinking fees agencies are also burdened with knowing not just how to create or place ads on TV, radio or print, butnow they are expected to be experts in traditional marketing, social, digital, programmatic, influencers, e-mail marketing, native advertising…. and pretty much anything else you can imagine.”  “who cares what an exterminator charges per hour? You need to know what he charges to get rid of rats! In the same way, brand leaders—especially CMOs—need a partner that can help them achieve very specific financial goals. An hourly rate tells them nothing about what the agency can or will accomplish.”

This war of the wages began in the 80’s with the rise of popularity of the holding companies buying up Madison Ave. They sliced commissions down to 6% and put a lot of small shops out of business. Now however new pricing models have gained traction, and clients are on board with tying agency fees in with an ROI factor. The playing field is leveled if Agency of Record is replaced with “Agency of Return”. As Michael Farmer stated “I’ve had marketing executives look me in the eye and say, “when you can analytically prove that the money I spend with you is providing a return, then I have an unlimited budget.”

Dating the prom queen….

Madison Avenue has most certainly put the cherry on top of trust issues these days. “I’m convinced it won’t change the way these large holding-company agency executives operate. And that is a huge disappointment to me.” Farmer says. “Executives at these large agencies somehow continue to eke out profits through these sweatshop conditions, and they get huge bonuses for doing so. They’re all just praying they retire before the whole system blows up.”

Despite being cleared of all federal investigations this past November, the holding companies did put a temporary scarlet letter on the ad industry. However ugly this chapter of the book is, trust can be established from the first introduction, and like all successful relationships, communication is the key. Instead of going to bed mad, client’s and agencies need to stick together, ask the hard questions and seek out the best resolutions together.

Knowing how to craft them is the hard work

For regional and mid-market companies, radio advertising can be instrumental in helping your company gain a competitive advantage, especially over national brands. Radio advertising is an economical & effective way to reach an audience but creating a great radio ad isn’t always easy. Advertisers need a clear understanding of what motivates and influences decisions for their target audience. In our twenty-five years, A3 media has done buying and ad development for nearly 250 companies and we’ve learned a few things that work well for radio.


One thing our team repeatedly sees happen is the heavy impact a minor change can make on radio spot.  Small changes can have a resounding affect. Like a well-rehearsed orchestra, the copy, music and sound effects must all play their parts properly. Don’t pitch them, talk to them. An ad, whether it’s radio or another media form needs to follow the same guidelines. Talk to them, be honest and let them know why your product is good for them.  

Precise articulation is what great radio ads are made of. Using direct language and messaging instead of clichés or generalities is what makes a great spot stand out from an average one. Don’t over promise. You need to speak locally and to the point. Without being blatant, make the listener believe you are a neighbor.

The KISS technique

At most, a radio spot is sixty seconds. That is a small window to grab a distracted listener’s attention. Driving a message that is simple and clear will stop listeners from becoming overwhelmed with too much information. Brevity is your friend. If you can tell your story in thirty seconds instead of sixty, it’s even better. One good point, made poignantly, will prove successful. If you have multiple messages create multiple spots. Radio spots are relatively inexpensive to produce and airing a variety of spots prevents burn out. Don’t crowd to much information into one spot. You’ll clutter the consumer’s thought process.

Create visuals with sound

Radio’s biggest challenge is relying solely on sound to drive a message home. Other media platforms can deliver brand messaging through visuals, but radio does not have that luxury. Relying on one sensory can however, be advantageous with the right kind of ad. The ability to tap into a listener’s imagination can be a powerful storytelling tool. Use a commercial as if you were writing a book. Let the sound and the message allow the consumer to use their imagination.

Narrow your audience

The best radio ads flow from an authentic connection between consumers and products. A common mistake is diluting a brand’s message in attempt to cover a broad audience. Advertisers often cast the widest net possible to avoid offending or excluding audience segments. The result is all too often bland ad copy that speaks to no one. Authenticity raises the bar of integrity and makes a brand credible. Don’t try to be all things to all people, you’ll end up being nothing to everyone. Zero in on a narrow population pool and produce creative that resonates and is relatable to that audience.

The offer

Radio spots that have a call to action can be challenging. DR advertising must inspire engagement from listeners and are typically campaigns enacted across TV or video platforms. Writing a promo code, website or phone number down while listening to the radio can inhibit a campaigns’ success. On the upside, if done properly, tracking the deliverables and results are much easier in these campaigns. It can be advantageous to see what moved your listeners to act and allows campaign optimization on the fly.

Strategy tips

  • Make the ad convincing. Give it a “wow” factor.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Creative messaging should answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” How will a product or service impact people’s lives in a way that will make life better, happier, or easier? Good strategies solve a problem quickly, safely, more effectively than the competition.
  • Jingles still work well for radio.

Whether you are interested in generating leads, increasing sales or just a bump in web site traffic, radio advertising when blended properly into your media mix, is a smart choice for regional, mid-market brands.

B2B marketing is more personal than you might think!

Most people believe B2B advertising lacks personal emotion. Nothing is further from the truth. Consumer behaviors are consistent. Peoples’ lifestyle, habits and viewpoints remain consistent and aren’t necessarily influenced much differently between a B2B or B2C campaign. With the lack of patience and ever-changing digital landscape, B2B advertising needs to be as fast, concise and as effective as any other campaign. So, what is the secret of creating balance between an ad that enacts emotions and logic when it comes to B2B marketing?

Six Emotions in B2B Buying

According to Geoffrey James, author of “Business Without the Bullsh*t”, purchasing decisions in B2B marketing come down to six primary emotions: greed, fear, altruism, envy, pride and shame.

  • Greed. To tap into the emotion of greed, show the buyer what they’ll win, improve or save by purchasing your service or product.  
  • Fear. Explain the benefits and advantages of your product or service to their business, employees or customers. 
  • Altruism. Do not drone on about yourself or your company, they don’t care. It’s all about them and how you can assist your perspective clients resolve their most pressing issues.
  • Envy. Provide customer testimonials that clearly demonstrate how you are successfully helping other businesses, employees or customers.
  • Pride. Share testimonials from industry leaders who agree that your audience needs and wants this product or service.
  • Shame. Tell them how a delay in decision-making will negatively affect their bottom line and make them uncomfortable, but in a subtle non-threatening way.

Rational vs. Emotional Needs

In a study that examined the impact of personal emotions on B2B purchases, it was found that 71% of decision-makers will make a purchase if an impact is made in their personal lives or within their personal value set. Personal influence on a business owner has twice the impact on purchasing decisions than a logical decision towards their business.

It is vital that marketers create ads that play on a purchaser’s personal value set as well as their rational goals.

In today’s world, information is available at everyone’s fingertips. There is limitless access to research available on companies and products. The drawback to this access and overload of data, is that products and messages can become watered down and lost in the abyss of facts, stats and data.

Your advertising objectives must allow consumers to feel confident that your solution will truly benefit their business. The best way to do this is by effectively customizing and streamlining your message with the right mix of personal value and business benefit.

The union between reason and emotion in advertising requires a subjective ability. You must be able to draw conclusions about what’s in a customer’s head and why and design a sales strategy to address these issues. This is no easy task, and while it’s a challenge, the rewards are worth it. Brands that master this skill are sure to succeed when it comes to marketing.