IHA checked in with AIMsights marketing analysts Marsha Everton and Whitney Ryan to hear about their latest research on the needs and behaviors of Millennials and Boomers that they will discuss at the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics will include design innovation, smart home, digital commerce and global market trends.
The AIMsights Group focuses on analysis, insights and targeted marketing strategies to help companies “get smart” about all generations, with an emphasis on Millennials and Boomers. They provide extra insight on critical intergenerational dynamics. AIMsights partners with clients to transform their business through customer-focused intelligence and decision-making.
AIMsights products and services include custom research and analysis, consumer-centric strategic planning, AIMsights reports and Thought Partner advisory services. They combine the art of identifying consumer drivers, attitudes and emotions with the science of rigorous quantification of behaviors and segmentation in order to provide unique insights into business opportunity.
Marsha, what is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work?
We are fueled by our passion for understanding the intersection of human behavior with the rapidly changing technology environment. We get especially fired up about how the Millennial generation is changing every life stage – and how the Boomers often follow their lead! Every day offers new frameworks and perspectives on virtually every element of life, with changes in how we communicate, learn and conduct business.
We enjoy “connecting the dots” as we explore each company’s business model and the sometimes convoluted customer journey. We thrive on discovering customer insights that help our clients identify the highest value business opportunities for business transformation and profitable growth.
Can you name a pivotal event or project that impacted your career or company?
Our work has a direct line to the teachings of Sara Little Turnbull. She was our business godmother. In the early 80’s, Sara “adopted” Marsha Everton and Robin Albing as protégées. Sara patiently educated us about quintessential product design. She was an internationally recognized designer, innovator and educator who brought fresh insight and perspective through the lens of a cultural anthropologist — a radically new idea for the business community of that era – that remains relevant today.
Robin and I worked closely with Sara in creating the first product assortments for the then-new Corning Designs subsidiary. She taught us about the power of observation and how form can truly follow well-defined function. She was always exploring the “why” before the “how” and pioneered the use of cross-functional teams in the innovation process.
More than 25 years later, shaped and still inspired by Sara’s guidance, Marsha and Robin came together again to form The AIMsights Group. We continue to use Sara’s teachings to combine the power of observation with rigorous analytics to uncover new insights.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you work?
The biggest changes that we currently encounter are driven by the Longevity Revolution. Traditional adult milestones are reached later than in prior generations and traditional retirement age is now a time for reinvention and redefinition of life goals. We are finding that life stage may be a more important factor than generation in development of marketing strategies.
At AIMsights, we analyze and provide insights into this post-demographic, consumer-powered world and help our clients reach consumers when, where and how the consumer wants.
Any tips for how to de-stress and find personal time in the demanding 24/7 workplace?
Relentlessly prioritize – and include the priority of time for “just you,” family and friends.
Include time for the “joy of missing out” – with a break from being constantly connected and reactive.
Your presentations always attract audiences to the Innovation Theater. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
The Housewares Show is an annual touchstone for us. It’s the place where every dimension of the industry gathers and connects. We listen, share, explore and learn. We enjoy seeing friends and colleagues – and making new connections.
Meet the Parents—Millennials!
Monday, March 4 • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Innovation Theater • Lakeside Center E350
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
This year we are speaking about Millennials as parents – a key new life stage for this generation!
More than one million Millennials become new Moms each year and more than 50% of children have Millennials parents — all contributing to the more than $1 trillion dollars spent annually on raising children. These parents are in their early 30s, married, highly educated and earn more than the average U.S. household income. More than half of these parents own their own homes. They are powerful and different.
These constantly-connected Moms and Dads bring new dimensions to the consumer journey and brand relationships – and are guiding their Baby Boomer parents in their new roles as big-spending grandparents.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
Consumers are concerned about and demanding more and more information about exactly how something was made or grown. They want to be confident that the product is made from safe, responsibly sourced materials, with respectful labor practices.
Their homes are increasingly “curated” – and, of course, Instagram-perfect. Products must earn a space in their increasingly decluttered homes. Having a few “just right” items is more status-worthy than having lots of “stuff”. Each product must contribute to their personal quality of life.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
One of the most important trends that we continue to follow is the consumer’s search for experiences. They search for products that tell a story and/or help consumers create and tell their own stories.
In telling this story, consumers are looking for total transparency, deep-rooted authenticity, social purpose, contribution to a healthy life and healthy work/life balance – and a feeling of joy in using the product. Products must not only “look good”. They have to “feel good.”
Thank you, Marsha and Whitney, for sharing your interpretations on what young families seek and the generational distinctions that marketers should understand. We look forward to hearing more about these important developments in the lives of Millennials and Boomers.
Industry veteran Marsha Everton was the president and CEO of The Pfaltzgraff Co., then the leading casual dinnerware brand and company in the U. S. Her vision established Pfaltzgraff as an early leader in omni-channel retailing with one of the top 500 retail websites in the nation. She served as president of the National Tabletop and Giftware Association and on the boards of the International Housewares Association, National Retail Federation, The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. and Integrus Holdings before establishing her consulting and corporate governance practice.
Whitney Ryan, AIMsights Millennial Associate, is the voice of a new generation of consumers, with fresh perspectives on intergenerational dynamics. This is Whitney’s eighth year of developing the company’s research and co-presenting in the International Home + Housewares Show Innovation Theater. Whitney is the “digital native” on the AIMsights team, providing in-depth expertise on all things digital.
To learn more about their work, see www.aimsights.com.
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater to hear about the latest research and analysis of consumer lifestyle trends and omni-channel marketing challenges. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.