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Jan 12, 2009
Blog Post

SherpaBlog: Online Ads: Find Commonality Among Consumers

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Natalie Myers, Reporter

I wasn’t looking for advice about online advertising when I scheduled time to talk to Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO,, for a MarketingSherpa article I’m writing about marketing to grandparents.

But I should have expected getting some wisdom from someone with 39 years of experience in the industry who last year took the helm of an ad-supported resource site for grandparents.

Jerry’s previous title, ambassador plenipotentiary to Madison Avenue at Yahoo!, was another reason I took note of everything he had to say about online advertising. As an ambassador, Jerry’s job was to develop and oversee Yahoo!’s strategic relationships with the advertising agency community in general.

Here are some bits of wisdom he shared:

- Too often, marketers/advertisers want to market to a demographic instead of marketing to people in a certain life stage. This is a mistake. “To focus on any particular demographic means you’re cutting out a huge section,” he said.

- The solution to the said dilemma: Always try to discover what consumers in a particular life stage have in common.

For grandparents, for example, it’s their grandchildren. Grandparents might be different ages, with different interests, incomes, and activity levels, but the one thing they all have in common is grandchildren.

Tactic: Instead of focusing on grandparents in online ads, try showing pictures of grandchildren and centering messaging on how grandparents can interact with their grandkids or on what their grandchildren might want or need.

- Too often, marketers stereotype grandparents as old, gray, and inactive. The modern grandparent is quite the opposite. The average age at which a person becomes a grandparent in the U.S. is 48.

These grandparents spend a lot of cash on their grandchildren annually – $50 billion. Heed Jerry’s message.

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Comments about this Blog Entry

May 22, 2009 - KJ Rodgers of VBP OutSourcing says:
I was never taught to think about the life stages of a consumer. In school they said you must have a focused demographic; income, lifestyle, age, etc. But as a true professional in this field, he is right. Life stages have a far better reach than a demographic.

Jul 26, 2009 - David Hurley of says:
This is a refreshing insight into finding your target market. Like all great insights, it seems obvious only after you read or hear about it. It is an especially important message for online marketers as marketing segmentation becomes easier and easier to "achieve"... We need to step back and take another look at what we are doing. Thanks. DH

Jan 16, 2010 - Chris Owen of says:
I have two kids, 3 and 4 year old boys, and my wife's parents are just turning 50. Even knowing their age, I never thought of it as being the national average. Thanks for this post.

Mar 02, 2010 - Justin of says:
I agree with David- it is a nice breath of fresh air to get some new content on how to look for a target market. Makes me wonder if I need to start targetting people more my age rather than a little bit of everything :-p

Mar 25, 2010 - Mark Dorosz of Knowledge Screen says:
This is a super article - when we think of a demographic that we don't belong to (and how many web marketers are grand parents?) our tendency is to patronize our audience at the risk of alienating them. I think the insights of this article are relevant to any medium but especially pertiennt for marketers using Video as part of their marketing mix: I will make a point of calling my grand mother before I start my next campaign. Best Mark

Jun 01, 2010 - Tristate Fun of says:
I think social media will be the mainstream from advertising in the future. NY advertising

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