But both of these couples may have similarities in the products they want and need. The key is [for the marketer] to find the one or two motivating factors so that they can draft the right copy approach and offer to get both of those couples to buy [the same vitamin or skin-care product].
TM: What's the biggest hurdle to effectively selling to baby boomers?
Bickert: Direct marketers have been derelict in understanding their customers.
They've become enamored of sophisticated modeling techniques, but [these tools don't] give you any insight into the message you need to send to communicate effectively with these individuals: You also need some mechanism for providing understanding.
Database segmentation tools such as Cohorts certainly help, but marketers also need to do original research. The problem with modeling is you analyze the respondents to the last mailing you did, and then come up with a series of scores—with the high scores telling you those people have a high propensity to buy. But it tells you nothing about their buying behaviors.