Friday, May 16, 2008

Revaluing

I’m reading “Hot Button Marketing” by Barry Feig. One chapter, in particular, struck me as being pertinent. It’s about a group of people he names “Revaluers”. I’ve taken his basic idea and recast it in the light of my own experience and relationships.

Revaluers are the 50-somethings who are entering into yet another phase of their lives after having had the idealism of youth, a desire to “make a difference”, a career and sometimes a family. Now they’re taking stock – revaluing.

Retirement is on the not-so-distant horizon, but they’re not ready for it. They have too much health, energy and a desire still to get something out of life. At the same time, they are more aware than ever of their frailty and mortality as they see themselves or their peers succumbing to ill-health and death. Children are growing up and leaving home, marriages are failing and parents are passing on. They never really thought about all this and didn’t particularly plan for it. Neither are they sure they’re ready for it. The question that’s beginning to form - much as they don’t want it to – is “Is that it?”.

All their lives they’ve had to make hard decisions based on what they were told they should do, often finding context and meaning in organisations, structures and relationships. Now they’re reaching – or have reached - the stage that they can begin to revalue their lives and invest freely without having family to support or others to answer to. They are no longer young, but not yet old. They are in transition. They are revaluing with a mixture of regret and anticipation.

Their big questions are, what are they going to invest in, and what are they transitioning to. No-one prepared them for this and they’re not sure they know how to go about processing the decisions necessary. It’s a scary thing to have to discover it for themselves, with no-one to tell them what they should do and where they should go.

Not that they want to be told anyway. Not any more.

Any future plans need to be based around their value-system (that many have paid a high price for), a high level of trust, and a more consultative, collaborative approach. They won’t respond well to the ‘hard-sell’ – they’re a bit weary (as well as wary) of it. They don’t want to be talked at; they want to be talked to.

50-somethings are one of the largest groups moving through society at the moment. And it seems nobody quite knows what to do with them – although the marketers are moving in. They may not be sold to but they can still be seduced.

I have no conclusions about this. I just think we need to talk about it. Over and over again, these three words keep coming back to me:

Connection; conversation; collaboration.

Comments:
Post 50s... yes I am one and I am re-evaluating including giving fresh values to the past. I think this is a very rich time for us. We have the privilege of many things coming to a time of transition together. Can throw us into outer space... lost or to go some places we have not gone before.

Life is certainly rich. Glad of the little summary of the chapter - resonates with me.
 
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