Demographics is one of the primary generators of tangible, measurable hard trends.
In Daniel Burrus's newest book, Flash Foresight, published in January 2011, he says solid business decisions are based on "hard trends" not "soft trends." The power of flash foresight (knowing how to identify hard trends) gives us the ability to see the future. Knowing how to identify soft trends gives us the ability to shape the future.
Hard trends are those things that you can predict with absolute certainty. One such trend is the aging population and how the senior demographic will explode over the coming years. The post-WWII baby boom is one of the clearest and most dramatic examples of a hard trend.
"This post-war population boom is a physical fact," says Burrus. "Those millions of people were born and they're going to stay born. What's more, they're going to consistently and progressively get older, creating a fully predictable set of consequences as they age."
"This hard trend has been clearly visible for over half a century – and yet, amazingly, this population bump has continued to catch us all by surprise at every stage of the boomers' lives," says Burrus. "Even though we think we know all about it, we keep missing it."
In 1945 one could have predicted that when all the soldiers came home from war, there would be a lot of babies born nine months later. But no one took notice and when the wave of births started happening in 1946, there weren't enough hospitals.
Knowing these babies would grow up, and having five years to prepare, we should have been prepared with kindergartens and schools, then high schools. But we weren't. And guess what? These boomers started to hit their late teens and we didn't have enough colleges. One would think we'd learn – but we didn't.
Now that these same baby boomers are nearing retirement, how prepared are we for what lies ahead? Do businesses realize that very shortly they may lose most of their workforce? In one major insurance company, it was discovered that, of their huge sales force, 60 per cent were within three years of retirement.
On the retail end of things, how prepared are businesses to meet the consumer demands of seniors? Because, inevitably, you will need to if you want to stay in business and benefit from a strong, growing market.
That our population is aging and a huge chunk of it is entering the senior years is a certainty. We can't stop our population from growing older, no matter how hard we try. At least, not until someone invents the technology to stop aging in its tracks. It is a hard trend.
But how we age, or how we respond as a business to the needs of these seniors is something we can control. These are called soft trends. A soft trend is one that you can do something about.
Many predict that our health care system will fail under the onslaught of seniors. But not necessarily. What if we took steps now to train more health professionals? What if we paid more attention to developing preventive health care so that fewer seniors would require professional attention? What if we devised better technology to keep track of records, reducing the amount of time health professionals waste searching for data, or entering it? What if we developed monitoring systems that could diagnose health conditions in the person's home before they become critically ill, and what if we developed medicine and treatments that could eradicate some of the diseases that currently flood our hospitals with patients?
Businesses need to realize that an aging consumer is a certainty. But if they plan now how to get out in front of this growth market and provide the products and services these seniors will need or want, they can leapfrog over competitors who follow instead of being proactive.
On January 1, 2011, the first baby boomers turned 65. It's time to pay attention.
Senior Living magazine began seven years ago in a marketplace that had relatively little to no understanding about the senior consumer. We started ahead of the senior curve, knowing that when it started to accelerate, we would have a solid, established magazine that would provide businesses with the marketing vehicle to reach the exploding senior demographic. And here we are, seven years later with two well established and still growing magazines distributed across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, an area that holds one of the densest populations of seniors in Canada.
We have a Senior Expo that has been held in Victoria for the past 6 years. We have several published books, one on senior housing that has sold over 3,000 copies already. We have probably the best senior housing database in the province. We have a website that in December 2010 alone had over 76,000 visitors. And the latest news is that we are beginning the production of a television series to complement our popular magazines.
We can help you market to seniors.
We have a sales team trained to help businesses market to seniors. We have been following senior buying trends for years and can help our advertisers understand what is happening in their industry. Most of all, we have developed a loyal readership. The majority of the locations where we distribute never have magazines left by the end of the month – and most say they read Senior Living cover to cover.
If you would like us to help you reach your senior customers, please give us a call 1-877-479-4705. Or email us at email@example.com
For more information on the book "Flash Foresight" by Daniel Burrus, visit his website at www.flashforesight.com