Seven Paradigm Shifts in Thinking about the Business of Aging.
August 4, 2006
Diamond, Inc.


Cheers for the business managers on the frontline.

Seven challenges you face in the business of aging.

Chapter 1
Do not trust the market research
---From “digital analysis” to “analog intuition”.

Chapter 2
Do not try to sell your products
---From “products” to “experiences of products”.

Chapter 3
Use the word of mouth by your customers who appreciate your products
---From “consumers” to “storytellers”.

Chapter 4
Let your customers create your bestselling products
---From “users” to “planners”.

Chapter 5
Do not try to rope in your customers
---From “an enclosed circle” to “a refuge temple”.

Chapter 6
Expand your business models
---From “single independence” to “connected linkages”.

Chapter 7
Change your objective for your new business
---From “increasing our sales” to “increasing our adaptability”.

Closing Chapter
the Times of Smart Seniors.

Japan as the World’s Leader in the Business of Aging.

[Reviews by Media]

The author of this book, Hiroyuki Murata, is a well-known opinion leader on Baby Boomer Market. In his previous book, “Business of Aging”, he explained a whole new point of view to this market. Starting from his inspiring prologue he told us that there was no mass market called “the Boomers Market”. Now we are close to 2007, the year that the first Japanese Boomers will reach their retirement age. Murata will give us new perspectives and ideas again on this market, this time about seven major problems we face in doing business in this market.

He doesn’t tell us about how to make profits in this market. This is not a cheap, second-rate business guidebook. His writing is based on his profound philosophy of how this country should stand, and how business corporations should act. It was a touching experience for me to read his message in the epilogue called “Japan as the World’s Leader in Business of Aging”. He quoted a phrase by Kanzo Uchimura(*Christian thinker and author of Meiji Era) to tell us what we should do and what we should leave for the younger generations in the business of aging. I truly empathized with his message that we should be prepared to be the foundations for the future, when we engage in the business of aging.
--- Webook of the Day

The homogeneous Mass Marketing was effective during the times of rapid economic growth. Now the society has matured and there is no standard for the older consumers’ behaviors. In this book the author describes today’s older adults, whom he named as “smart seniors”. They are a new type of older adults of 21st century who use the Internet to gather information on products. Taking a form of a business book, this can be an interesting reading for everyone, including “smart seniors” themselves.
--- The Nikkei newspaper

According to Murata, the so-called 2007 Problem of an abrupt shortage of workforce will not happen. The general assumption in the market right now is that a huge cluster of people will retire altogether at once and that they move from the workforce to the consumer’s market. Murata insists that this is a wrong assumption that was influenced by the successful past experiences benefited from the rapid economic growth. Can you eliminate your own preconceptions, impressions and common views? Can you listen to direct voices from your customers sincerely? His points are nothing new but reasonable. He makes us realize that there is no easy way to capture a market even if it is a huge one, like the Boomers.
--- Nikkei Marketing Journal

The author insists that the Boomers Market is an aggregate of diverse micro markets with so many different demands, instead of a homogeneous mass market. In the closing chapter, he tells us how the corporations should target the “Smart Seniors” who enjoy their life after retirement intellectually and fashionably. Business managers should read this book to break a deadlock in the Boomers Market.
--- Fuji Sankei Business i

The author raises objection against the usual method of marketing that many companies have adopted in the business of aging. He proposes new ideas to break new ground in this market. First of all, he warns that the new standard of market research called “the Internet questionnaire” is not valid as far as the older adults are concerned. He finds more importance in the analogue information that you get directly from your customers, such as the customer information noted by the salespeople or the customer opinions written by the customers themselves. A real word of mouth by a customer who really liked your product is much stronger than a highly sophisticated advertisement by a professional copywriter. The older adults are looking for satisfaction. Once they find it in your product, they will be proud of it and talk about it to their friends. By spreading a word of mouth, eventually there will emerge a community of the fans of your product. He recommends this strategy to be successful in the business of aging.
--- Nikkei Business

In this book seven paradigm shifts are explained with plenty of detailed examples. These ideas can be applied not only to the business of aging, but to any business in general. The true worth of this book, however, is the instructions of our attitude to the business. The author ends this book with a following message: If one day the business of aging in Japan will attract much attention from the world, it must be the spirit of the business and not the products/services themselves that people will praise for. This is not one of those second-rate marketing textbooks that you find everywhere. It is a MUST for business managers.
--- Insurance Daily News

If you see the Boomers generation as one big cluster, you will be mistaken. The author emphasizes this point. The Boomers market of today’s matured economy has substantially changed since the times of rapid economic growth. The current market is an aggregate of various micro markets. He also corrects the misleading of the so-called 2007 Problem. If we remove our obstacles that we face at our business one by one, the business of aging will truly bring prosperity. The author believes that various problems of our aging society should be solved by business, instead of depending on our social securities.
--- Keizaikai Magazine

The author has an aspiration that Japan should attain a position to be respected by other countries in the business of aging. The Japanese Boomers generation, that has been playing an important role of the largest consumer market in the country, will reach the retirement age in 2007 and onwards. Many companies have been working hard to approach this aging market, but they are still struggling without much success. The author analyzes this situation and concludes that these companies have not overcome the seven challenges as follows: market research, market development, product sales, product development, customer support, profit improvement. He explains the reasons of their failures as the increasing diversification of the market and the lack of flexibility of these companies’ organization systems. Many Japanese companies have got behind. This book will be an excellent guide to learn a new business model of aging. We should utilize this book to overcome the seven challenges and bring new products/services that are suitable for today’s aging society.
--- Dentsuho

The author points out the general misbelief about 2007 Problem. He insists that the Boomers who reach 60 in 2007 will not retire altogether, giving three convincing reasons. After reading this book, I realized how we are bound by our fixed notion about the business of aging and how we’ve got some wrong ideas about it. This is a useful book not only for the managers of business of aging, but also for every business person who needs more flexibility in thinking.
--- Management & Economic Insight/Senken Keizai

“The Boomers are the Beatles generation.” “Older people have lots of money and free time.” Haven’t you labeled the Boomers market like this? We tend to talk about this generation as a big group of people. However, in today’s matured society it is wrong to see it as a “homogeneous mass market”. This book gives us many ideas to break through in this diversified market.
--- TopPoint

I expect the increase of “Smart Seniors” in Japan: the older adults who live their retired life intellectually and sophisticatedly. I hope that many Boomers will be smart seniors who can show us a role model for a satisfying retired life. The older generation is a good model for younger generations. The Boomers generation can give us younger generations hopes for the future, by their gallant way of living.---words by the author.
--- Recruit Works

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