Product:  Amazon Kindle

Person:  My Father

My father has always been an avid reader. His house is still full of books.

At age 83, he is finally retiring. He has more time to read and more time to travel. While he would never admit it, he’s one of those old dogs you can’t teach a new trick to. He has an email account, he knows what the internet is, and he knows how much his kids use it, but he sees no value in looking anything up online. After all, if he can’t find out something on his own, 9 times out of 10, he’ll call me, his youngest child.

Miraculously, my father has a Kindle. Well, it’s not exactly his – he borrows it from his girlfriend, but he uses it all the time, especially when they travel. Her adult children gave it to her. My father likes it because he can carry a lot of books with him at one time without having to physically haul them. He finds the screen very easy to use and if he wants a new book, he just asks his girlfriend to download it for him.

Obviously, Amazon cannot use social media to market the Kindle directly to a man like my father. An elderly book-lover who sees no personal value in the internet and is a might stubborn is simply not going to create a Facebook account just because he sees the iconic white F in a blue square. Nor would he likely have an Amazon account. If he wants to buy someone a gift, he’ll go to a store, buy one and then wrap it up in the newspaper.

A frugal guy like my dad is also not likely to spend $139 on a book reader when he can check out whatever he wants at his library or buy a book at his local bookstore. $139 is a lot of money to a man who wraps gifts in newspaper, after all, even if books are pretty heavy and the print is awfully small.

So how could Amazon use social media to reach my dad? There are a few peculiarities about my father that a marketer could take advantage of to promote the Amazon Kindle. Here’s a list:

  • Someone who loves to read, but doesn’t want to carry a lot of books with him that he has a hard time reading since the print is so small
  • A frugal person who doesn’t need anything, but whose children three times a year (Father’s Day, his birthday, and Christmas) are always a little stumped at what to give him
  • A man who shuns the internet, yet lives with someone who uses it without difficulty
  • A father whose children would do just about anything for him including logging him into his email account every time he calls.

Thus, Amazon should direct their social media strategy to me!

It’s the perfect gift an adult child could give her parent. It’s easy to use, the font size is adjustable, the screen has absolutely no glare, and it’s priced so 1 child or a group of children depending on their means could buy it. I should see advertisements on my Facebook page. On my account, 6 weeks prior to Father’s Day and Christmas I should be reminded daily, why I should give my dad a Kindle. Of course, Amazon should place ads on the AARP Facebook page, as well, not that I’ve ever visited it.

Where I use the internet, Amazon should be poking me with the idea of giving the Kindle as gift. When I search for “gift ideas for adult parents” the first sponsored link should be for the Amazon Kindle, not adult toys. The first ad on the Google sidebar should be for the Kindle, as well. When I go to the Kindle website, in addition to all the wonderful product attributes, I should hear about its less tangible values, such as a what a perfect gift it would be.


This post is a sample assignment:   Social Media for a Trusted Adult: Marketing the Favorite Object of a Trusted Adult using Social Media for the St. Catherine University INDI 2090 Promotional Communications / MKTG 2350 Integrated Marketing Communication class. Frankly, my students don’t like this assignment. It’s hard. As a marketer you have to get uncomfortable. you need to leave behind your favorite products, your comfort with the internet, your level of social media use and try to reach someone whose most likely very different from yourself. However, my students surprise themselves with this assignment and do great work. They figure who and what influences their person and strategically approach from that angle.

4 responses to “How could Amazon Kindle use Social Media to reach my 83 year old Dad?”

  1. […] so I heeded her warning.  It didn’t help that our instructor also noted at the end of her sample, that this is a tough assignment, and that her students don’t like it.  So, reluctantly I […]

  2. paul Avatar

    Hey great idea.. did you know you brother is now a.a.r.p. and so is bruce springstein

    1. Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr Avatar

      I think I’m the only non AARP member…

  3. 5 Unique Uses of Twitter in the Classroom (Reblog) « Teaching on the Edge Avatar

    […] feed directed at the target market that they are not familiar with. It would tie in well with this assignment. 5. Bringing clients to class. Students at DePaul University can go to Twitter for lecture notes […]

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