You talkin' to me?
A view from Sue Unerman

You talkin' to me?

"You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin'... you talkin' to me?"

So said Travis Bickle, anticipating a lack of respect from someone targeting him in the iconic 1976 movie Taxi Driver.

It turns out many mums feel the same way – certainly the mums surveyed in Mumsnet and Saatchi & Saatchi's research last month. At Mumstock, the marketing-to-mums conference, new research on what makes mums tick was unveiled. Mums were resolute in asserting that being a mum does not define them as a person. Indeed, Saatchi & Saatchi's director of strategy, the fabulous and erudite Richard Huntington, said we should consider redefining them as "women with children" – by doing so, we are forced to put the woman first.

Similar irritation with marketing stereotypes, this time among the over-50s, was revealed at MediaCom's conference with High50 last week. The glorious Mariella Frostrup opened by giving us her birthday (November 1962) and then her opinion on how she's targeted by some brands.

She said: "I can honestly say that, post-50, I’m more ‘me’ and doing more of what I want to than ever before. But these are some of the things I have not started doing since I’ve turned 50. I have not joined Saga – the travel and financial services organisation for the over-50s. Nor have I started going on cruise holidays. I have not started buying packets of seeds out of those classified ads. Or Cosyfeet slippers. Nor have I bought a Stannah stairlift.

"What I have noticed about being over 50 is that the media – people who want to sell me things – just don’t seem to have a handle on who I am, how to talk to me or what I’m like."

Given that, between them, mums and the 50-plus segment probably have most of the cultural and economic power in the UK, it does feel like there's lots of room for improvement. Or, as I like to think: get it right when the marketplace doesn't = competitive advantage.

We too unveiled a major piece of research: the fiftysomethings we spoke to were amazing, dynamic and outspoken. They had masses of disposable income and very few brands that they felt a strong affinity with. So there are opportunities if you get it right.

Sue Unerman is the chief strategy officer at MediaCom