OK, I’m over 60 but…. I also represent the mainstream purchasing power on the planet, so pay attention. And keep in touch, cause if I ever retire, I’m going to exponentially matter as a target by freeing up a whole bunch of extra shopping time to spend my fun tickets. There are a few things I want you to know about me when you, as a digital marketer, ponder the concept of e-commerce everywhere.

#1- I care now, and will always care where I am, and try to live in the moment. I will not tolerate my 30 something neighbor, who played with an Apple computer in her crib, whipping out her iPhone to Google a band she never heard of, because I’m humming a catchy tune from the ‘70s. I want to inhale the scent of wet leaves and pine. I want to listen for deer and the recently spotted bobcat family. And I want her full attention when I share the story about my life as a bi-coastal personality with some crunchy granola existence in Santa Cruz by night, and an East Coast career woman by day.  That was years ago. But ah, the memories.

Hints: Memories, sharing stories

#2 – I know good service when I see it, and it stands on three principles; know me, have a good attitude and slightly exceed my expectations. So I went into my local Radio Shack and asked for a headset for my phone. I told them I was doing a little research project to see how the experience unfolded and whether it pleased me in these three ways. Maybe that was my first mistake, actually telling them what I wanted. Did I mention the store was entirely empty? And there were two employees ready to serve me? It’s a long, sad story that began with them trying to sell me a new service plan and ended 98 minutes later with them handing me three rebate coupons I knew would never actually produce the promised rebates. I hate coupons, point and reward programs, discount days, specials that are never very special and anemic, silicon-enhanced sales people trying to spray me with perfume samples on the rare occasion I enter a real store. I just don’t have time to track and count or even redeem this stuff. I want it served up with a smile and immediate gratification isn’t soon enough.

Hint: Time-value of gratification

#3 – I like to create my own experiences, and given my age and wisdom, I’m better at it than anyone who has to rely entirely on predictive analytics and sentiment analysis. Enter the villain in this story – highly defined processes that leave organizations deaf to the weak signals that foreshadow big changes. It happened like this. I sat next to this gentleman on a recent United flight who was on his way to Carnegie Hall for his first and last debut with his barbershop quartet. It was their dream and their retirement party. He was pretty excited. We talked and he showed me old black and white photos of himself with celebrities throughout the years. These guys were pretty accomplished. So I asked the flight attendant if he could hand over the intercom so we could have a little entertainment. My new friend was more than anxious to hum a few bars from the opening number. On Southwest, we would have been caught up in a sing-a-long. On United it ended with me being classified as a security risk even after I explained what a memorable experience and much needed enhancement to United’s brand this would be – at no extra charge. He was heading for Carnegie Hall! He was not going to bomb.

Hint: user created experiences

#4 – A word on mobile. Like millions of people, I like my iPhone. I do not love it, however. I do not sleep with it next to the bed. I do not take it hiking up Mount Manadnock, although I probably should. Half the time it’s at the bottom of my purse, battery dead. I guess that’s not love. It escaped from my briefcase on a recent flight and hid under my seat. And because I do not believe the world needs to hear from me again after an hour in the air, I did not fire it up as soon as the wheels touched down in D.C. I left without it. Ten minutes later, walking the wrong way to my next gate and looking for my connecting flight, I decided to call home. No phone. Panic. Maybe it was love. I wanted a button I could push to locate it and make it come back to me. But I had to rely on the kindness of strangers, namely airport personnel, who knew my arrival gate from my boarding pass and found it hiding under my seat. I actually kissed it when she handed it back to me. Love? There are times I don’t want my life enhanced, connected and accessible by everyone, everywhere, anytime. And there are times I do. Like when I’m on the move. Get it? Mobile. I’m waiting for my kayak dealer to send me a message that says, <<Call us when you get back to shore from your next trip and let us know how you like that new gel seat.>> Or sending me a guide to Google Earth local waterways within 50 miles of my house that are unexplored, unsanctioned, tough launch sites, but well worth it.

Hint: Location-based services

First rule of e-commerce everywhere: It matters where I am, and who I am – and always will. Second Rule: I can find the off button.

See answers in the next post.


  1. 6 October 2012 at 2:00 am
    achuthan says:

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