As a norm, I usually don’t recommend a new book until after I read it through, however I make an exception here as I do eagerly anticipate one that I’ve had on pre-order for the last month or so. Next week will see the release of The Longevity Economy by Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT’s Age Lab. Much has been made of this market for a number of years, and though largely seen as a made in America story, it is truly global in nature.
Some have called it the Silver Economy, but I prefer Longevity Economy as it really reflects broader market segmentation opportunity for all ages, not just silver-headed Boomers. And therein lies the problem that Coughlin’s sub-title for the book suggests to help solve – Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market.
No doubt this is a book that businesses, as well as non-profits and other public services I might suggest, should benefit from as they try to right the ship in their marketing strategies. Yet I expect that this read may help consumers better understand how their lives are shaping in a longevity economy. There are many market disconnects, that as one of the promo lines for the book says, where Coughlin “pinpoints the gap between myth and reality”
Perhaps more timely now, this book will hopefully sit nicely as my companion piece to the wonderful book by Kim Walker and Dick Stroud – Marketing to the Ageing Consumer 2013.
In April 2012 I heard Dr. Coughlin speak at a Business of Aging Summit in Toronto at the MaRS Discovery District. He does engage an audience and his observations make you think. His open question in his MaRS talk, echoed the voice of Theodore Roszak in his book Longevity Revolution – “Now that we’re living much longer, what will we do with all our extra time?” As Roszak said – “it’s time we start finding a good social use for those extra years.”
With those questions in mind, and the fact that the demographic numbers of a current fifty-plus market have not yet really reached an “older age”; there is much to discover about how this not so homogeneous group of consumers/citizens will shape their promise of longevity. And therefore, plenty of reason why those who live, serve and sell in a longevity economy will need to grasp this most misunderstood market.