The two biggest market opportunities on earth, which 98% of us suck at…?

Tom Peters was the keynote speaker at our recent Gazelles Scale-Up Summit in New Orleans. You do remember him don’t you? His book In Search of Excellence written with Robert H. Waterman is an international bestseller. First published in 1982, it is one of the best selling business books ever, selling 3 million copies in its first four years.

As well put by my Gazelles colleague Douglas Wick, “Tom is well known for his direct, rambling insights, punctuated by outbursts of emphatic annoyance, indignation, exasperation, outrage, and passion.” Tom overwhelmed us with thoughts, ideas, and powerful recommendations on what makes businesses work and succeed – all captured in his recent book The Excellence Dividend (see his 24 rules graphic at the end of this article). One of his key themes at our conference was The two biggest market opportunities on earth, which 98% of us suck at…?

And the answer is …

1. WOMEN.  Both as consumers and leaders.  There are a multitude of companies who are still failing to hire women and elevate them to leadership positions, and
2. SENIORS.  They have the money.  Many companies fail to aim marketing budgets to the large number of senior consumers around!


Citing McKinsey, articles and research, (See: Are Women Better Leaders than Men? (HBR)) Peters still finds it difficult to understand how companies with products and services predominately purchased by women, fail to have women in leadership positions.

Women buy everything. Women buy 85% of the goods and services. If your leadership isn’t representative of the market you’re selling to, you’re making a grave mistake.

According to Peters, “$28 TRILLION = 2X (China + India). The women’s market worldwide is $28T, more than twice as much as China and India combined. Women buy … EVERYTHING.
 Yet too few companies are acting accordingly. The “trick’ is not “marketing to women;” the “trick” is Wholesale Enterprise Strategic Re-alignment to take advantage of this staggering large market. Query: Is your top management team at least half female?”


Here is Tom’s clarity of thought. “Old people get short shrift in the marketplace. STUPID. Old people have the money—effectively ALL the money. AND, these days, years and years left to spend it; one guru says: “At 50, only half your adult life is over.” Given the baby boomer bulge, there are a ridiculously large number of old people around—over 100 million in the USA alone. Virtually none of marketing budgets are aimed at the oldies. REALLY REALLY STUPID.”

So in summary, the two biggest market opportunities on earth, which 98% of us suck at…? Women and Seniors!!

Food for thought
. Discuss this at your next Leadership Team meeting (you do have one, don’t you?)

Contact me to discuss how you and your company can leverage these markets.

The 24 Rules by Tom Peters

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