Embracing Change, Realizing Dreams by Kunal Sinha
CHINA IS OLD.
Chinese civilization originated in various city-states around the Yellow River in the
Neolithic era, around 9500 BC. A good 8000 years later, they had learned how to write,
but even that was 3500 years ago.
Fast forward to today. If you bundled all of the 60-plus witnesses to the Cultural
Revolution, once allowed to wear only Mao-suits generation, into one place, they would
be the world’s 9th most populous nation. 143 million1, give or take a few million who
don’t remember their age. That’s more than the entire population of Russia. Marketers
who’re thinking about how to sell in a belligerent Russia that blocks oil to its neighbors,
we tell you – forget BRIC. Think BICC++. Sure it sounds like a computer programming
language most common folks do not understand. Neither do China’s senior citizens. But
they were trading stocks over the internet until the markets collapsed, and they said,
why didn’t we trust our instinct instead of following what these young kids were doing?
Pardon the frivolity. But we think it is necessary to drive home a point.
‘Embracing Change, Realizing Dreams’ is as much a study into the psyche of a large
group of people who have witnessed tumult and lived through a dream, as much as an
appeal to our youth-obsessed, technology-possessed colleagues and clients: ignore
China’s active seniors at your own peril. The question we ask is:
Would you rather spend your marketing dollar or renminbi on a group of
people who change their preferences every few months, sometimes on every
shopping trip, or would you rather invest in building a relationship with
someone who is unlikely to change brand choices, ever?
So, this is about thinking in the long-term. We have to find the marketing opportunity in
the seniors market beyond herbal remedies for arthritic joints and health supplements.
We must go beyond thinking that says ‘old people are slow to respond to trends’. Quite
timely too. Because that number of 143 million, currently comprising 11% of the
population, is forecast to double by 20252. China will be older, much older. So will we.
We can then spend our grey years reminiscing if we did the right thing by re-orienting
our targets ‘way back in 2008’, or ruing over a missed opportunity.
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