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My Favorite Things, 2010 by Lynn Schweikart
6 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, 1 day, 19 hours, 32 minutes

Time for new traditions.
6 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 18 hours, 44 minutes

For Boomers, Love is a Match Made Online. One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers
6 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 1 hour, 5 minutes

Boomers – spanning 20 years, are at various life stages with needs for products and services…
6 years, 4 months, 1 hour, 35 minutes

Boomers – not brand loyal and are more ready and willing to make a switch…
6 years, 4 months, 1 day, 14 hours, 7 minutes

Boomers – turning to nutrition to fight the effects of aging.
6 years, 4 months, 4 days, 3 minutes

Baby Boomers looking to fitness and sports to unlock a healthier lifestyle.
6 years, 4 months, 5 days, 16 hours, 24 minutes

“Boomeritis” the aches and pains of Baby Boomers.
6 years, 4 months, 6 days, 16 hours, 4 minutes

Boomers on a spiritual journey.
6 years, 4 months, 1 week, 15 hours, 53 minutes

Boomers: Losing Their Quest for the Fountain of Youth?
6 years, 4 months, 1 week, 1 day, 15 hours, 45 minutes

My Favorite Things, 2010 by Lynn Schweikart

I just finished reading George Colony’s blog entry, Top Ten for 2010, where the Forrester Research CEO offers his second annual “favorite things of the year” list. Almost immediately, I was inspired to sit down and take note of the things that made this year memorable for me. Here are my thoughts in no particular order. Hope you feel similarly inspired. I’d love to hear your list, too.

1. The National Storytelling Festival, Jonesborough, TN
This has been on my “bucket list” for a few years now. 19 world-renowned storytellers. Performances, almost non-stop from 10 a.m. to midnight, in five different tents, over the course of nearly three days. It was magical, exhilarating, exhausting. I’m still processing everything I learned about the power of stories to disseminate information and bring people together.

2. The Gen-Sights website launch
Helping businesses create their websites is one of the things I do for a living. So why was it such a challenge to get our Gen-Sights site up and running? I think the main reason is that it’s much easier to tell someone else’s story than your own. Anyway, I glad Tom, Laura, and I finally have a web presence that helps businesses understand what a valuable target audience Boomers can be, and how to reach out to—and connect with—this market. Take a look and let us know what you think.

3. Resonate by Nancy Duarte
I devoured this book from cover to cover over the course of two days. Now, I’m going back to absorb it more carefully. Basically, the premise is that the best presentations act as a transformative journey for the audience. Duarte provides a kind of roadmap of ways to use visual storytelling to create presentations that resonate with an audience and entice them to make the journey with you.

4. Peaceful Places: Boston
I was thrilled when Menasha Ridge Press selected me to write the Boston edition of their popular Peaceful Places series, to be published in the fall of 2011. Over the past few months, I’ve come to feel like a kind of explorer seeking out unique gardens, enchanting vistas, neighborhood strolls, and surprising sanctuaries. In the process, I’m feeling a deepening appreciation of and love for the city and region where I’ve lived for more than 35 years.

5. Time-Life Pop Memories of the ’60s
I have to confess, I’ve never bought anything from one of those television infomercials before. But when I saw the ad for this 10-CD collection of hits from the 60s, I was hooked. It’s like Top 40 radio, featuring160 of that decade’s biggest songs. I defy you to listen to this without smiling, dancing, and singing along. Pure happiness! Am I a Boomer or what?

6. The iPod Touch 4g
I’m one of those people who’s put off getting a new cell phone because I wanted to wait for the iPhone to finally be available with Verizon wireless. Then, my sister and brother-in-law gave me the new iPod Touch for my birthday. Now, with access to all the apps I’d ever want, I’m thinking, “Who needs the iPhone? Bring on the Droid!” Sorry, Apple, that’s what you get for being such a tease.

7. The Reinvention Summit
If there’s one thing this vicious, long, drawn-out recession has taught me, it’s that one has to be constantly reinventing oneself. Michael Margolis billed his Reinvention Summit as a virtual summit on the reinvention of storytelling. But it became so much more. We’re now a virtual tribe of storytellers, change makers, marketers, and creatives who are working together to explore the role that narrative can play in reinvention—both personal and professional. Take a look. You might want to join in the adventure. http://www.reinventionsummit.com/

8. Telluride By The Sea
A week or so after the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, six of the top movies shown there are transported to Portsmouth, NH’s historic Music Hall for a three-day extravaganza that’s a movie lover’s delight. No matter where you go in town, you find groups of people animatedly discussing the film they’ve just seen or speculating about the ones to come. It’s exciting to see how events like this can create a community.

9. Daniel Smith watercolor sticks
I got a set of these for Christmas. They look like crayons, but they have the same quality paint as watercolor tubes. You can draw with them like a pencil, use wet with a brush, even shave off some flakes to use in your palette. Now, instead of carting a big box of paints around with me, I have a small pouch of sticks. No mess, either. Don’t you love innovation? Wouldn’t it have been fun to be part of that new product brainstorming session?

10. Warblers, warblers, and more warblers!
I’d been so busy with work that there hadn’t been time to do much birding during the May migration season. One afternoon, something told me I had to drop everything and get out. I drove to Plum Island outside Newburyport, Massachusetts, with the goal of walking the boardwalk at Hellcat Swamp. Just before the parking lot, I saw two birders pointing at something darting around in the sassafras trees lining the road. I stopped and backed up. It was a blackburian warbler – one of my favorites. Then another bird caught my eye: a bay-breasted warbler. Suddenly the trees were alive with warblers: magnolia, northern parula, yellow, American redstart, Nashville, and chestnut-sided. I’d stumbled upon a mini-fallout. About an hour later, when I finally made it to my original destination, there was nothing to be seen. The message? Follow those urges, yet don’t be too focused on your original goal to miss out on the unexpected delights the universe offers along the way.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year. And may the universe offer up many delights for you to savor in 2011.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Favorite Things, Top Ten, Storytelling, resonate with audiences, Peaceful Places, Baby Boomer, iPhone, Droid, reinvention, birding, Telluride, Daniel Smith watercolor sticks

Time for new traditions.

presentsMaybe it's being a Baby Boomer in my early 50's, maybe it's menopause, or maybe it's just that time of year, but this holiday season seemed to be one of reflection, reminiscing, a bit of melancholy and a resolve to start new traditions. With most of the elders gone, especially my aunt who was the matriarch of the family, the extended family no longer gets together around the holidays and I missed that. The pile of Christmas presents under the tree filling the living room to capacity, the Polish food and traditional meals, the Santa sacs made with care and making sure that everyone in attendance got a gift no matter what, all fond memories. I missed seeing the new little ones that have joined the family or hearing about the ones on the way. I think it was strange for my 90-year-old Dad, too. Though in recent years he complained about us keeping him out too late on Christmas day, as I sat with him at an early dinner at his assisted living facility, I think he still had a small yearning to be together with all the family and didn't quite know what to do with himself for the rest of the day. Thankfully my sister and her family visited later.

But then, it was fun to see a new huge pile of presents at my sister-in-law's where my nieces now had their boyfriends joining in the family celebration. My husband and I had a little more quiet time together since we didn't have to travel as much during the course of the day. My side of the family will still get together later this week for another family dinner and exchanging gifts, making the holiday last another few days. And there's talk of an extended family reunion of sorts come spring time, as we all wrote similar passages in our Christmas cards about missing the old days. I think we all were feeling what's important around the holidays is the abundance of the love of family and friends that matters. newtree

And for me, I had always wanted to get a real tree that I can plant outdoors in the spring, so we did that this year. It will be a symbol of the Christmases past with its roots growing deep and the start of new growth and traditions to come.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, holiday traditions

For Boomers, Love is a Match Made Online. One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

heartAccording to Time Magazine, Baby Boomers have been diving into the online dating pool in bigger numbers than any other demographic. The 50-to-65 age group is Match.com’s fastest-growing demographic, up 89% in the last five years. At JDate.com, the website for Jewish singles, members in the 50-plus age group jumped 40% in just one year, from 2008 to 2009. This statistic provides a couple of fascinating insights into the Boomer psyche. First, it demonstrates the Boomers are anything but stuck in their ways, not only adapting to new technology, but also to the adventure of meeting new people and doing new things. Second, as over 70 percent of Match.com’s daters age 50-to-65 report being divorced, they’re obviously an optimistic bunch, as well.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers and Online Dating

Boomers – spanning 20 years, are at various life stages with needs for products and services…

65 Years...One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Though marketers are tempted to lump all Baby Boomers together in one demographic, it is critical to realize that spanning 20 years from leading edge to trailing edge Boomers, they are not all the same. Categorized as being born from 1946 - 1964, the 40-somethings don't really see themselves as relating to the Boomers turning 65 and vice versa as illustrated in a commentary to Matt Thornhill, Boomer Project founder/president. And even within one age demographic, like the larger segment of the audience in their mid - 50's, there can be Boomers with young children or teenagers right through having grandchildren. Not to mention those already taking care of their parents. The key is to focus on life stage no matter what the age and since they're not brand loyal (as described in our last post), there's plenty of opportunity for new marketers and new products or services to catch Boomers' attention. You just have to appeal to what's going on in their lives now and not focus on their age.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Marketing, Baby Boomers and brand loyalty, Boomer marketing

Boomers – not brand loyal and are more ready and willing to make a switch…

Nielsen Chart...One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Commonly thought to be set in their ways, Baby Boomers are more likely than Gen-x and Gen y to experiment with new products. Boomers are more likely to place importance on perceived benefits such as price, value and customer service, where younger generations are more likely to focus on style and prestige. Consumers in all groups say they will switch brands and pay more to get a product that better meets their needs.

A Nielsen/Hallmark study updated information on Boomer spending power and compared brand loyalty measures by product across Boomers and younger demographics. Boomer households represented more than 50% of sales in 98 of the 122 product categories analyzed, accounting for almost $200 billion in total sales in those categories.
Yet, despite the fact that the average Boomer share of those categories was 53%, some advertisers do not target Boomers with their media strategy, instead concentrating dollars on younger consumers with the intent of wooing loyal lifetime customers.

Are you targeting the Baby Boomer audience? Is your brand message resonating with them and drawing them in?

Source: Nielsen

(On January 1,2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Marketing, Baby Boomers and brand loyalty

Boomers – turning to nutrition to fight the effects of aging.

egg_cranberriesOne More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Food manufacturers are quickly discovering that Boomers are turning to nutrition to fight the effects of aging. According to Kantha Shelke, Ph. D., a Contributing Editor of FoodProcessing.com, “Boomers are using nutrition to take the sting out of age-related complaints including pain, memory loss, fatigue, indigestion and declining vision”. Shelke believes “nutrition has become the Baby Boomers’ antidote for most of the negative effects of aging."

Food manufacturers are embracing supplements that battle chronic diseases from heart disease to arthritis by including them in their food and beverage formulations. For example, SMART BALANCE has added omega-3’s (a key nutrient for heart health) into their buttery spreads, and there are a variety of vitamin-enhanced, omega-3 eggs. From the Blueberry Council and the Almond Board of California, to the Cranberry Marketing Committee, they are all jumping on the nutritional bandwagon by promoting the health benefits of their foods. With Boomers demanding these changes, companies are starting to respond. There's opportunity for more to jump on board.

Source: FoodProcessing

(On January 1,2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Health, Baby Boomers and health and nutrition

Baby Boomers looking to fitness and sports to unlock a healthier lifestyle.

nullOne More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Physical fitness has always been the mainstay of the Boomer lifestyle. The fitness craze as we know today started with Boomers 54 years ago with the establishment of the President’s Council of Physical Fitness & Sports. Established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 16, 1956, this council set the national tone for youth fitness that would filter through to every school in the nation. Boomers became the first generation of children to be the focus of physical fitness in our nation’s history.

Throughout their lives, Boomers have elevated adult recreational sports to a new level. From the growth of the snow ski industry in the 1960’s, to the rise of racket ball in the 1970’s, the aerobic craze of the 1980’s, the expansion of heath clubs in the 1990’s to extreme sports in the 2000’s, Boomers were there. They have left their footprint on each sport they’ve conquered and have a fine appreciation of physical fitness and the active lifestyle it allows them to pursue.

Lifestyle companies should turn to Boomers if they're looking to reinvigorate their businesses. Whether it’s a sporting center, health club, wellness center, or yoga studio, the opportunity for growth with Boomers is enormous. After all when Boomers embrace an activity they do it with gusto!

Source: Miami Herald

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers and health and wellness, Baby Boomers and sports, Boomers and fitness

“Boomeritis” the aches and pains of Baby Boomers.

One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

“Boomeritis” commonly known as the aches and pains of Boomers is a term coined by orthopedic surgeon Nicholas DiNubile, author of Frame Work: Your 7 Step Program for Health Muscles, Bones and Joints. According to Dr. DiNubile, “ In just over 100 years, we’ve doubled our life span, but evolution hasn’t caught up to that.” Despite Boomers taking better care of themselves, Boomers bodies are breaking down. Could it be the Boomer’s body warranty has run out? The opportunity is enormous for sports therapists and athletic trainers to develop appropriate and consistent exercise programs for the Boomer athlete, and for wellness centers that provide kinder, gentler forms of beneficial exercise.

Source: The Bismark Tribune

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Health, Baby Boomers and health and nutrition, Baby Boomers and health and wellness

Boomers on a spiritual journey.

nullOne More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Boomers attitudes towards organized religion and the role it plays in their lives has changed over the decades. Similar to their parents and even their grandparents, they are seeking out meaning in their lives as they age, but unlike those before them, it is in a more individualistic way. Today there seems to be a trend among Boomers as describing themselves as more spiritual and less religious. This is supported by an AARP study that found 85% of Boomers considering themselves as either “somewhat spiritual” to “very spiritual.”

Professor Wade Clark Roof, PhD, Department of Religious Studies, UC Santa Barbara, explores the subject of spiritually in this book Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion. In his book he charts the growth of five subcultures of Boomers: dogmatists, Born-again Christians, mainstream believers, metaphysical believers and seekers, and secularists. According to Professor Roof, Boomers have found multiple and complex ways to be spiritual without being religious.

Source: BNET – The CBS Interactive Business Network

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers and spirituality

Boomers: Losing Their Quest for the Fountain of Youth?

One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Were people age 50 to 64 a decade ago healthier than Boomers of the same age today? A recent analysis of disability data from the National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative survey of health issues for Americans, suggests that may be the case.

Researchers from the RAND Corporation and the University of Michigan found that significantly more Americans in the 50- to 64-age group were reporting disabilities related to mobility in 2007 than in 1997. For instance:

* More than 40 percent of people aged 50 to 64 reported that, due to a health problem, they had difficulty with at least one of nine physical functions; many reported issues with more than one.

* Over the study period, researchers noted a significant increase in the number of people reporting that a health problem made it difficult for them to stoop, stand for two hours, walk a quarter mile or climb 10 steps without resting.

* There also was a significant increase in the proportion of people who reported needing help with personal care activities of daily living such as getting in or out of bed or getting around inside their homes.

Particularly troubling was the increase in the number of reasons cited for the disabilities. From 1997-2005, neck and back problems, diabetes, and emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, or other problems were the most common causes. By 2005-2007, arthritis and rheumatism had been added to the list; with many respondents reporting that their disabilities had begun in their thirties or forties.
Whatever the reasons—obesity? Too little exercise? Too much tennis, golf, skiing, or marathon running? —it’s clear that as 78 million Baby Boomers head toward age 65 and beyond, this trend has the potential to overtax an already stressed health care system. At the same time, it presents real business opportunities for those focused on healthy lifestyle products and services.

Source: Renée Despres, Senior Editor, ehealthMD.com

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Health, Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers and health and nutrition, Baby Boomers Are Aging

Boomers are reshaping the travel industry.

One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

As they have with everything aspect of popular culture Baby Boomers are in the process of reshaping the travel industry. They want vacations that are enriching, authentic, that incorporate learning and above all, unique. Boomers have moved away from the travel agent and have embraced the net when researching a vacation. Social media is now playing a major role in their decision making process as a new form of “word of mouth.”

The travel industry needs to take a close look at the travel selections Boomers make and how they go about planning their trips if they plan on being competitive with group. Boomers are a huge demographic and like with every other aspect of their lives will be the trendsetters for the travel industries.

Source: Heather on Her Travels, AARP, Travel Insights 100

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and social networking, Baby Boomers and travel

Boomers are charitable people.

One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

When it comes to charitable giving, Boomers give on average $901 per year, $165 less than Matures and $105 more than Gen X. There is a huge opportunity for charities to solicit more out of boomers considering they give less than Matures and out number them 2 to 1, and are very passionate about making a difference in the world. The question is what is the best way to reach them? The answer might be integrating multiple channels with direct mail still a viable option.

Source: Joint study by Convio, Edge Research and Sea Change Strategies

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and chartitable giving, Boomer marketing

For Boomers, many of life’s little luxuries are basic necessities.

One of Our 65 Reasons Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Internet connections. Birthday gifts. Family vacations. Pets. What once might have been considered luxury items are now viewed as basic necessities by Boomers.

According to a recent survey by MainStay Investments of 1,049 consumers aged 45 to 65, 84 percent of those surveyed said having an Internet connection is a basic need, and 66 percent said shopping for birthdays and special occasions is. 51% percent said pet care is a basic need, and 50% said taking a family vacation once a year is a need, not a luxury,

How do Boomers plan to maintain this “luxurious” lifestyle in retirement? The Boomers surveyed told researchers they’re willing to work longer or alter the way they save. About three in four said they would rather spend less now so they can invest in a more comfortable retirement. And 47% said they would downsize their home in retirement to be able to afford their lifestyle expenses. Sounds like an opportunity not just for financial planners, but for luxury marketers as well.

Source: Catherine Carlock, MarketWatch

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Spending, Baby Boomers and retirement

Boomers: The New Social Networking Mavens

One of Our 65 Reasons Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

According to the good folks at the Pew Research Center, social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled—from 22% to 42% over the past year. In fact, almost half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one in four (26%) users age 65 and older now use social networking platforms to help manage their daily communications—sharing links, photos, videos, news, and status updates with a growing network of contacts.

The growth rate of younger users pales in comparison with that of Boomers and seniors.
Between April 2009 and May 2010, internet users ages 50-64 who said they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn grew 88% and those ages 65 and older grew 100% in their adoption of the sites. That compares with a growth rate of 13% for those ages 18-29.

So much for those who say Boomers won’t try new things!

Source: Pew Research Center

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers and internet, Baby Boomers and social networking, boomer trends

For Boomers, eating out is still in. One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

People 55 to 64 are the highest restaurant spenders, at $1,294 annually per capita, according to the National Restaurant Association, followed by those 45 to 54, who spend $1,175 a year on average.

If you’re a restaurant, what’s the best way to appeal to this hungry market? The National Restaurant Association’s Top Chef Survey identified the hottest restaurant trends of 2010 – most are sure to tempt Boomer appetites.

1. Locally grown produce
2. Locally sourced meats and seafood
3. Sustainability
4. Bite-size/mini desserts
5. Locally-produced wine and beer
6. Nutritionally balanced children’s dishes
7. Half-portions/smaller portion for a smaller price
8. Farm/estate-branded ingredients
9. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious
10. Sustainable seafood

Sources: National Restaurant Association
Boston Globe

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer Spending, Baby Boomers Eat Out, Baby Boomers Turning 65, Boomer Appetites, Food for Boomers, Healthy Boomers

Boomers: There’s No Place Like Home. One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

65 LogoAccording to a study by Opinion Research Corporation for AARP, nearly 80 percent of Baby Boomers say they would like to continue to live at home for so long as they can. However, that same study showed that might not necessarily be the same home they live in now. A majority reported they intend to stay in a one-level home, relocate to one, and/or downsize. Homebuilders, home remodelers and realtors, take note.

Source: Asheville Real Estate Journal

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: aging in place, Baby Boomers and real estate, Baby Boomers Are Aging, housing, Reasons to target Boomers

Caregiving means Boomers’ own needs come second.

65 logoOne of our 65 reasons why marketers still need to target Boomers.

Almost half of all Baby Boomers say tending to their own health and well-being comes second to caring for the health needs of loved ones, according to a new survey commissioned by Humana. While 81 percent of the baby boomers surveyed feel appreciated for the care they provide, the vast majority say they also feel stressed and exhausted. In fact, more than one in three of those surveyed say they often feel helpless.

As the number of Boomers providing care – and needing care themselves – increases, there will be big opportunities for businesses that provide information and services that help offer relief from the stresses associated with caregiving. These can range from medical to housekeeping to referral services, and can even include stress-reducing massage and exercise programs.

Source: Business Wire

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers and health and nutrition, caregiving

Boomer Women: looking for financial security & independence.

don't show women with One More of our 65 Reasons Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Though told at an early age that a husband would take care of them, very few Boomer women agree with that today. They don't want to depend on others as they age and want to plan for their own future. The biggest complaint is that most financial service firms are showing ads with women with "their man". 78% of Boomer women don't respond to that. They prefer images of families, with no clear image of hierarchy and want to be addressed as decision makers.
Source: MediaPost Publications, Engage:Boomers 11/1/10 by Stephen Reily of Vibrantnation.com

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomer women, Baby Boomers and financial services, Baby Boomers and retirement

Boomers: Rethinking retirement. One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

65 logoFor decades the customary age for retirement in the US was 65 but Boomers are extending that up to 5 years longer. Reasons vary from pension cuts, healthcare coverage to longer life expectancy. The bottom line is, Boomers are reinventing retirement.


(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers and retirement, retirement

Boomers: Changing the demographics of aging.

65 logoOne More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

Over the next 10 years, as Early Boomers move to age 65 and beyond, there will be a 50% increase in the number of people 65 to 74 years old—a growth rate for that cohort not seen in more than 50 years. In fact, those Early Boomers, currently numbering about 36 million, have already swelled the 55- to 64-age cohort more in the past decade than in the previous 30 years. The result? A demographic that’s the largest it’s ever been.

These very numbers insure that Boomers will change the very definition of aging, just as they have at every previous life stage. We see this presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers who have been used to a more business-as-usual approach to targeting the senior market. Boomers are not all alike – and they most certainly are not like any generation that has preceded them.

Source: Met Life

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers Are Aging, Boomers changing aging, Baby Boomers and aging

Boomers: Still opening their wallets. One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

paint canThe recession has touched everyone’s pocketbooks, but recent research from Mediamark Inc. shows some bright spots. Over the past two years, the share of spending by consumers age 50+ was up in the following categories:
– Credit Card Expenditures +15%
– Home Furnishings +12%
– Home Improvements +11%
– Foreign Vacations +10%
– Health & Beauty Aids +9%
Of course, this demographic leaves out some of the later-stage Boomers, those 45 to 50, and includes seniors 65+, but it does indicate that there are still business opportunities out there for businesses with the vision to target those of Boomer age and beyond.

Source: Media Post Publications

(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomer Spending, Baby Boomers

65 Reasons Why Baby Boomers Remain a Powerful Target For Marketers.

5 logoFrom their diaper days onward, Boomers have reinvented every stage of life they’ve passed through. And as the first wave of 78 million Boomers turns 65 in 2011, there’s no reason to believe they’ll stop now. In the process, this will transform the way people think about everything from retirement to health care to aging in general. To celebrate this milestone, over the next few weeks, Gen-Sights will offer 65 reasons why businesses of every kind would be wise to keep Boomers in mind when designing and marketing products.

posted by Lynn Schweikart, Tom Gorski, Laura Willis

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers, healthcare, First Boomers turning 65

Boomers: Driven to buy new cars One More Reason Why Marketers Still Need to Target Boomers

65_logo(On January 1, 2011, the first of the Baby Boom generation begins to turn 65. While marketers have traditionally viewed anyone over 49 as over the hill, there are compelling reasons why overlooking Boomers isn’t smart for business. During the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting 65 of those reasons.)

How well do car commercial casting specs reflect the real world of car buyers? Not very well, according to a recent analysis performed by researchers at AARP Media Sales.

Using data supplied by J. D. Power and Associates, AARP found that nearly 39 percent of new cars were sold to people between the ages of 50 and 64. Add in those over age 65, and the number rises to over 62 percent -- more than 3 out of every 5 cars sold in 2010. And we’re not talking geezer-styled gas guzzlers, either. 73 percent of all battery-assisted vehicles, or hybrids, were purchased by the over-50 crowd. In contrast, those 35 and under accounted for less than 13 percent of new car purchases. Some of this is demographic-driven, as that large cohort of Baby Boomers grows older; some due to the recession’s impact on younger pocketbooks. As further evidence of the purchasing power of both Boomers and those 65+, the study found that 33 percent of adults over 50 pay cash for their cars, compared to 13 percent of consumers under 50.

Does this offer opportunities for car manufacturers – and car dealers? Definitely. At Gen-Sights, we think that cars that are easier to enter and exit – and offer improved sightlines will benefit, as long as style hasn’t been sacrificed. We also think that dealers could set themselves apart by offering seminars or driving clinics on how to use the next-generation, computer-assisted technology that’s beginning to appear in their showrooms. One thing’s for certain: new cars purchases by older Americans are only going to increase, as more than 78 million Baby Boomers move to age 65 and beyond.

Source: Brand Week and AutoBlog

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers and car purchases

Boomers – Using Technology to Bridge the Gap Between Generations

circle of technologyHow does my 77-year-old father-in-law stay in touch with his eight grandchildren? The answer may strike you as a little surprising: through Facebook. Of course, it does help that he’s relatively computer literate—after all, he was an early adapter of that revolutionary Internet invention, AOL dial-up! However computer literacy doesn’t always translate to understanding the intricacies of social media. For that, it takes a knowledgeable son-in-law and a father-in-law eager to learn. The outcome? A grandfather who, with the simple click of a mouse, is now in touch daily with his grandchildren, ranging in age from 14 to 25.

Whoever would have guessed that Boomers like me, the sandwich generation, would come to serve as the catalyst uniting parents, in-laws, and children—through email and Facebook. After all, despite the fact that I was an ad guy at a cutting-edge Boston-based agency, in the early 1990’s when my first child was born, email was barely in my vocabulary. Facebook? Not even invented!

And it’s not only computer-savvy seniors like my father-in-law who’ve come to embrace the Internet. I realized a couple of years ago that my mother was very interested in getting online with a computer of her own. After all, my kids frequently shared their favorite websites with her and read emails to her that they received from other family members. So on her 80th birthday we bought her an iMac and brought her into the 21st Century – quite a leap for a Silent Generation denizen who remembers listening to FDR’s fireside chats on a Philips radio. As with my father-in-law, we were able to introduce her to a whole new world with the stroke of a key and a click of a mouse.

Two years later, via email, my mother delights as her oldest grandson begins his college years. She is thrilled to death to receive his emails and respond back to him with her pearls of wisdom. And she’s not alone: computer usage among seniors is growing. Studies indicate that it can help reduce loneliness and isolation and improve mental acuity. In fact, seniors can continue to live on their own without having to feel separated from their families. Witness Carolyn Rosenblatt’s experience of acquainting her elderly mother-in-law with Skype in her article “Can technology save an aging widow?”

All this demonstrates that I’m not alone in seeing the opportunities for using technology to cross generational lines and bring families together. And it’s proof that companies that are developing these products should be marketing to Boomers, too. After all, Boomers have not only embraced the benefits of technology for ourselves, we’re using it to connect the generations on either side of us. And when it comes to the senior market, for the most part, we’re the gatekeepers.

What’s more, new product opportunities will only grow as Baby Boomers cross over into their mature years, demanding the comfort and benefits of technology, plus a desire to stay ahead of the curve. Just make sure any technological enhancements have a purpose. One thing to keep in mind: Boomers expect that bells and whistles will make life easier and/or better, not just be there for their own sake.

Posted by – Tom Gorski

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers, benefits of technology, Boomers and Technology, genrations, senior market, Seniors and Computers

Boomers: Hungering for Health and Wellness

As I get up and meet my girlfriend at the gym for a workout at 7:00am,the body doesn't always want to cooperate. Or when there are more aches and pains than there used to be, sometimes, I wonder if it's worth it. Then I shake off the doubts and feel good that my body is keeping up with my girlfriend, who is more than 10 years my junior. Of course, I feel even better on those days when she's trying to keep up with me. I'm thankful we have each other to stay motivated! I also hate to think about what kind of issues I might have if I wasn't.

Most statistics showing the rise in diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases, indicate these are exacerbated by diet and lifestyle. Being a Boomer, I'm hoping to be as healthy as I can for as long as possible and, hopefully live a good quality of life—maybe even for as long as the elders in my life—since my Dad's still around at age 90.

I went to a nutritionist a couple of years back after I turned 49, because I wanted to feel good about myself when I turned 50. I'm not perfect yet by any means, but it really helped me be more aware of the foods I was eating and how they made my body feel once I ate them, including what my mood was like and even how my brain functioned. The result? I've tried some new dishes that I probably wouldn't have tried on my own, and have come to love and even crave some incredibly healthy foods.

I found it amazing that when I cut way back on sugar, how naturally sweet fruits and vegetables taste! And how some of those sugary things I used to crave, now taste so cloyingly sweet, I don't really desire them very often any more. Best of all, now, when I really feel like having something that's a little decadent, I have it and truly enjoy it, with no guilt (well, mostly no guilt, I said I wasn't perfect!), and trust that I'll be craving a salad the next day. With fresh vegetables from our garden during the summer months, it's easier to stay motivated.

I've also noticed that, more and more, there seem to be definite correlations between nutrition and brain health. I probably have more concerns about my brain giving out than my body. Especially on the days when I feel as forgetful as my dad—though thankfully, he's still pretty with it. Some facilities, including my father's, the Compass on the Bay, are working with specialists from Boston University to incorporate changes to their food preparation to build in brain-healthy ingredients that have been shown to boost memory and cognitive abilities.

Last year, Compass invited family members to a seminar given by Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo who spoke about Memory Preservation Nutrition® and told us about anti-oxidants, whole grains, and other helpful foods that Boomers could actually be eating now to prevent memory issues, instead of waiting until we're in a facility. Talk about an incredible opportunity for the health and wellness industry!

Currently, I'm working with a client whose target audience is primarily female Boomers. The challenge she's finding is that some people just don't take the time to think about their health. Small wonder! With caring for our elders, along with our spouses and children—all the while handling demanding jobs—who has time? This is a real challenge, but I'm gratified that Boomers are starting to realize a shift is necessary.

Of course, too often, people want to make a change, but find there are too many confusing choices. Though if anyone else is like me, the quick-fix plans are having less appeal—“been there, done that”. Boomers are starting to be more skeptical about unrealistic promises and may be coming to the realization that it really does come down to the basics of eating healthier foods and working in exercise in whatever little pockets of time we can.

Food marketers would be wise to address the life-stage shifts happening with Boomers. We've talked before about the opportunity for food companies to contribute to overall wellness by adjusting ingredients such as salt and fat to make their products healthier choices.

With the Boomers at a critical stage in their lives, and being the largest segment of the population, I'd say it's definitely about time.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and health and nutrition, Boomers Health and Wellness, healthcare, Healthy Boomers

Boomers are Hip. Again!

jumpers_climbersWho says there are no second acts in American lives? Okay, F. Scott Fitzgerald did, but he didn’t know bupkiss about Boomers. In case you haven’t heard the news that’s been all over Twitter and the blogosphere in recent days, the venerable Nielsen Company has spoken: in their obsession with youth, i.e. consumers ages 18 to 34, “advertisers and consumer goods manufacturers have been overlooking a group that has tremendous buying power: the 78 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. today.” The prescient few who found their pronouncements on this very topic ridiculed or ignored—where have you gone, JWT Boom?—are justifiably saying, “we told you so.”

Why the sea change in opinion? Sure, Baby Boomers are a huge generation – always have been; still will be for quite a while. But I think a major reason is that at the same time that Boomers reached the age where a generation would previously have been considered old, the goal line was moved considerably. What I mean is that people who are 60-65 today just don’t behave the way people of that age did in the past, (nor do the current crop of 70- and 80-year olds, for that matter.)

The conventional wisdom? People over 60 spend little; are stuck in their ways, technologically challenged, and winding down. The facts? Boomers are open to new things and new brands. They are active; typically participating in ten or more activities on a regular basis. They are comfortable with technology because they’ve grown up with it. Heck, many of them are not even thinking about retirement – and those who are, are in the process of completely redefining it. Hence the term, encore careers.
If you’re still skeptical about the value of advertisers targeting the Boomer market, consider these Nielsen facts about Boomers
• Dominate 1,023 out of 1,083 consumer packaged goods categories
• Watch the most video: 9:34 hours per day
• Comprise 1/3 of all TV viewers, online users, social media users and Twitter users
• Time shift TV more than 18-24s (2:32 vs. 1:32)
• Are significantly more likely to own a DVD player
• More likely to have broadband Internet access at home

Not only are Boomers an excellent target for marketers’ existing products, they also provide an opportunity for new product designers who are able to respond to both the needs and desires of a population that’s still hip, after all these years. In a recent article on the blog Disruptive Demographics, Joseph Coughlin, Director of MIT’s Age Lab suggested that Boomer consumers are as captivated by fashion and fun as their younger cohorts, it’s just that Boomers demand function and value as well.

This has huge implications for businesses across a wide range of industries, from technology to housing, to healthcare. Personally, I think that any product that combines fun, fashion, function, and value would be of interest to all consumers. But then, I’m a Boomer.

– posted by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: A.C. Nielsen, Baby Boomers Are Aging, blogosphere, Boomer Generation, Boomer Market, Boomers and Technology, Boomers are Hip, fun fashion and function, healthcare, housing, new products for Boomers


bowl of cherries“Boomers are drifting into old age with poor eating habits and too little exercise…we do not have a healthy population moving into old age.”

That was the disconcerting message I got the other day while searching online for information on the relationship between aging Baby Boomers and health and nutrition. The source? Shannon Proudfoot, Can West News Service in the Montreal Gazette. I was anything but reassured that Boomers are going to have an easy ride into old age.

Life expectancy for Americans has been growing with each generation. However, there are fears that this could be reversed during the Boomer generation. Obesity, with its associated chronic diseases, is beginning to rear its ugly head. According to S. Jay Olshansky, professor of public health at the University of Illinois, Chicago, “obesity in general is on the verge of causing an unprecedented decline in life expectancy in developed countries”. He predicts that Americans in particular will experience unprecedented health risks and that life expectancy will be reduced in the next 10 to 15 years. Yikes!

Being a glass half full kind of guy, I immediately began to think of all the business opportunities that food manufacturers, restaurants, and supermarkets could generate from this negative forecast regarding the health of Boomers. To get a professional viewpoint on what was happening out there, I contacted Denise Kelly, RD, Director of Market Development-Healthcare, Lyons Magnus. If anyone would have a handle on this situation, it would be Denise.

According to Denise, “the biggest concerns for an aging population are obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and bone health. Simply by increasing activity and making some simple dietary changes, Boomers can get back on track, live healthier lives, and reduce the need for some medications.”

One of the biggest “Hot Buttons” for the food industry right now? According to Denise, it’s helping consumers battle hypertension by reducing the amount of sodium in prepared foods, while still providing a flavorful product. “Even though the recommended daily allowance for sodium is less than 2300mg/day, most people consume nearly 1½ to 2 times that amount, primarily by eating prepared foods or dining out,” Denise stated.

While manufacturers are beginning to respond, it’s not by marketing their products as “low in sodium”. Instead, they’re simply gradually reducing over time the amount of sodium in their products. According to the Wall Street Journal, (“Food Makers Quietly Cut Back on Salt,” 1/11/10) “ConAgra said that by 2015, it would lower the sodium level in about 80% of its products by an average of 20%. Sara Lee Corp. made a similar commitment. Campbell Soup, which has focused broadly on reducing sodium for at least a decade, says it has already reduced sodium in the top-selling products in all its categories by nearly 24% since 2001.” It’s a small start – there’s a real opportunity for the food industry to discover how to keep flavor up while bringing sodium content down.
Besides watching their sodium intake, Boomers at risk for obesity and diabetes need to monitor their serving size (portion control) to reduce caloric intake as well as choose their foods wisely. “A healthy diet would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and poultry with limiting red meats and replacing butter with healthy fats like olive oil or canola oil,” Denise said.
"The food industry has worked hard to remove or reduce refined grains in cereal and breads and add whole grain and fiber. Vegetables are disguised in delicious beverages to make consumption easier. Salad dressings are now made with olive oil."

After speaking to Denise, it’s heartening to know that manufacturers are beginning to take action and respond to these chronic health problems that are directly associated with poor eating habits and/or obesity. The opportunities appear to be limitless for food manufacturers, but they have the challenge of producing food products that meet all the necessary nutritional and caloric requirements while satisfying the Boomer palate. The key to success is educating the Boomer about good eating habits. Perhaps food manufacturers can incorporate an educational component into their marketing plans. If not, it will be the pharmaceutical companies that benefit. But I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

Posted by Tom Gorski

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers and health and nutrition, Baby Boomers Are Aging, Life expectancy for Americans

Some Like It Hot: Especially Boomers

hot potBack in the early 70’s, I once ordered a shrimp curry dish at a local Burmese restaurant. “Mild, medium, or spicy?” the waiter asked. “Spicy,” I replied. The second I tasted the first forkful, it was like being hit with pepper spray. My eyes teared up, my tongue and throat burned, and no amount of water, milk, or bread could cool things down. That memory came back to me the other day as I tucked into an order of beef with long-horn peppers at my favorite Boston Chinatown dive, the Gourmet Dumpling House. “I’ve come a long way,” I thought.

Then again, maybe not. According to the National Institute of Health, we start out life with approximately 9,000 taste buds. These start to decrease beginning at about age 40 to 50 in women and at 50 to 60 in men. Phil Lempert, the food market analyst who tracks consumer trends in supermarkets and restaurants and runs SupermarketGuru.com, confirms: "There's no question that as the baby boomers are aging, they're losing their taste buds, and as a result, they're drawn not only to more spicy foods, but to more flavorful foods of all kinds." Does that mean my love affair with chili peppers is due solely to diminished taste buds?

A look at the taste combinations showcased on this year’s Top 10 Flavor Pairings in the annual McCormick® Flavor Forecast™ offered another perspective.chop and season
1. Roasted ginger & rhubarb
2. Thai basil & watermelon
3. Caraway & bitter greens
4. Bay leaves & preserved lemon
5. Almond & ale
6. Turmeric & vine-ripened tomatoes
7. Pumpkin pie spice & coconut milk
8. Roasted cumin & chickpeas
9. Creole mustard & shellfish
10. Chives & fish sauce

Odd as some of those combinations may seem at first, I think the people at McCormick are on to something. I see these flavor pairings as replicating the tastes of some of my favorite ethnic foods – the cumin and chickpeas of North African tagines, Southeast Asian turmeric and vine-ripened tomato curries, Cajun-inspired Creole mustard and shellfish.

We Boomers were the first generation to have the opportunity to roam the globe, either in reality or through the pages of glossy food and travel magazines. In the process, a cohort raised on Wonder bread became enamored with pitas, tortillas, and naan – not to mention salsas and sauces loaded with flavor, intensity, and heat. And while I remember my parents and grandparents preferring blander foods as they aged, I don’t see Boomers going back. In fact, as Boomers continue to travel and indulge their sense of adventure by exploring new cuisines, we at Gen-Sights predict that their interest in bold, exotic flavors will only increase, no matter what happens to their taste buds. And because Boomers have big spending power, that means new opportunities for those in the food and restaurant industries. For instance, adding spices and other flavorings could be a way of reducing salt or sugar in packaged foods. Supermarkets could boost sales of prepared foods by serving up bolder flavors. Assisted living centers and nursing homes can differentiate themselves by appealing to Boomer palates accustomed to the bigger tastes of ethnic food—or at the very least, making sure there’s a big bottle of hot, hot, hot sauce on every table.

by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers & Aging, Boomer tastes, Baby Boomer Spending, Baby Boomers and Spicy Food, Food for Boomers

I’m Not Buying It, Period!

hanful of moneyThis is a line I’ve used time and time again with my two teenagers but this time it’s not my kids I’m speaking about, it’s the latest research from PricewaterhouseCoopers,
Retail & Consumer Insights. This piece of research first came to my attention via a tweet I received from Brent Green, “Another example of flawed research, proclaiming the demise of Boomer spending. Research based on self-report, biased.” Like Brent, I’m not buying it, period!

Boomer spending may not be leading the way out of the current recession, but I certainly wouldn’t advise my clients or anyone else to count this generation out. At 77 million strong, they will be entering their mature years as a different type of consumer than their “silent generation” parents. Boomers, always known for coloring outside of the lines, will apply this same approach to selecting products and services as they move beyond the standard retirement age of 65.

The spending power of Generations “X” and “Y” may be bigger, but Boomers are still an enormous market segment that shouldn’t be ignored. All indications are that marketers are beginning to realize that, and are starting to chase those dollars. Yes, it’s true; Boomers will be a bit more judicious when making purchases when retired but that doesn’t mean they won’t be buying. In fact, not only will Boomers be buying, they’ll be demanding the marketplace offer products and services to suit their needs and those needs will be many.

oxo watering canIn my opinion, there’s one company out there that has been consistently innovating useful products for all market segments and that’s OXO. Their mission statement says it all: “OXO is dedicated to providing innovative consumer products that make everyday living easier.”* This is a brand that I’ve embraced not only for my 82-year-old arthritic mother (I most recently purchased an OXO Good Grips® watering can for her) but also for myself. Their products are cool and trendy and don’t scream “I’m challenged”; they simply say “I’m easy to use”. I see this being the kind of company that will capture even more of the Boomers’ dollars as they move into their mature years. After all Boomers don’t want to admit to their physical limitations and nor will OXO with their products.

So yes, I will be buying as I move to the next stage of life; I just won’t be buying the research that implies Boomers spending power isn’t worth chasing. I’m glad to say I’m not alone with these sentiments, just today I read a commentary from Mark Bradbury supporting my opinion. My belief is that Boomers will forge ahead with new demands in all product and service categories and this can only mean new opportunities for marketers.

Posted by Tom Gorski

* OXO refers to OXO International Ltd. Good Grips is a registered trademark of OXO International Ltd. Watering can image and mission statement from http://www.oxo.com

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Boomer Spending, easy-to-use watering can, Innovative Boomer Products, Products for Boomers, Consumer Insights

Preparing for Caregiving, Now and in the Future

Aging Conference PanelDiane Sargent, Director of Corporate Relations at South Shore Elder Services(SSES) was looking for an alternative to the usual speaker when she was planning the program for the

SSES’ "Aging is Everyone's Future” conference and dinner which was held on May 11th. She decided to ask four professionals to share their caregiving stories in hopes that their different perspectives on this highly emotional topic would provide inspiration to the over 120 attendees and help them to realize they are not alone in their struggles.

I was so honored that she asked me to be one of them. I’d gotten involved with the SSES a few years back when I met Diane at networking events. She’d asked me for some marketing guidance for the organization, which I was happy to provide. I suggested SSES shift its brand focus from the seniors themselves to the caregivers, usually their Boomer children, and add more emotional impact to its messaging.

The panel presentation, which was moderated by Kate Granigan of Overlook C.A.R.E., was therapeutic for both audience and panelists. Lynda Chuckran of Welch Healthcare and Retirement Group realized that, even though it had been a few years since her mother passed away, she had not really told her story before that evening. She talked about being an only child and the challenges of caregiving when you have no siblings to help out. Even though she works in the industry, she found it difficult to juggle her job and caregiving, along with her role as a single mother to a young daughter. She told the audience how important it was to be an advocate for our elders, especially when they no longer do that for themselves, and how to tap into help and support in community.

Susan Peters of Mount Vernon Mortgage shared her story about trying to do it all herself—even going back and forth to her mother’s house in the middle of the night when her mom called her in a panic. She told how she finally called upon her siblings when she realized she was at the breaking point, and how thankful she was when they stepped up to the plate and took turns staying with her mom. Her message was simple: ask for the help you need.Aging Conference Panelists

Harrison Stebbins' story was a bit different. When his older brother suffered a debilitating accident at age 16, 14-year-old Harrison became a caregiver, along with his parents. He continues to strive to help his brother be a productive citizen; recently, they purchased Amazing Grace Private Home Care together. Harrison’s caregiving role will continue for some time to come and could potentially become more complicated because his parents are aging, not only are they unable to care for his brother as they used to, they are beginning to need care themselves.

As for my own story, it was about becoming gradually aware of changes in my Dad’s condition after my mom passed. Thankfully my sister and I live nearby and are able to share responsibility in Dad's care, but it still wasn't easy. Initially we struggled to find in-home services for Dad, this was a number of years ago, when there weren’t as many options as there are now. Then it was making the hard decision to seek out an assisted living facility; having to be honest with ourselves that neither my sister nor I had a living situation that would work for Dad, and that he needed to be in a more social environment.

It's amazing that there are events like this now where people can get so much information. There was nothing of this magnitude just 6-7 years ago, when I was beginning my caregiving journey. I’ve become so passionate about the elder care industry, and want to spread the word about all the products and services that are there to make caregiving a little easier.

That’s one of the reasons that Gen-Sights had a booth at the conference. It was our opportunity to launch our brand on our booth banner and handouts, and to meet the other vendors who were participating in the event. We talked a lot about the importance of getting the word out to Baby Boomers, who are both taking care of their parents and moving toward the age where they will be starting to think about their own care.

Gen-Sights BoothSince Boomers don't really like to think about their own aging, it's a little tricky to communicate in a way that resonates with them. That’s why Gen-Sights is helping companies target Boomers with branding and messaging that’s compelling and differentiating.

All in all, it was a very satisfying evening. It reinforced what I tell my Boomer friends who are caring for elders: don't be afraid to talk about it, don't be afraid to seek help, and if you don't know where to start, contact your local agencies like South Shore Elder Services or Council on Aging. They can point you in the right direction. Or seek out groups like the Senior Service Network or find publications like the South Shore Senior News. These are great resources for caregiving needs. And as we Boomers start to age, there’s sure to be more in the future.

(Pictured in middle photo L to R: Ed Flynn of SSES, Lynda Chukran, Kate Granigan, Laura Willis, Susan Peters, Harrison Stebbins)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Help for Baby Boomers Caring for Elders, Boomers as Caregivers, caregiving, caregiving resources, elder services, family support, future of caregiving

Boomers + Pets = A Full Nest

Tom with dogAs I prepare to send my first born off to college this fall, it occurred to me that my wife and I are now one child away from an empty nest. How will we Boomers ever cope? After 18 years centered around scout meetings, school recitals, horseback riding lessons, little league games, you get the picture, I can’t imagine life without my kids. But wait, I do have other kids…furry kids, the kind that never talk back, that always greet you with a lick, and love you unconditionally, my dogs.

For years I’ve not only been sharing pictures of my kids with friends but pictures of my dogs too. When I bump into friends at the market as I did the other day and ask them how their dog is, they show me a visual photo album on their i-Phone. The conversation begins to center around our dogs; how they’re getting on in age and what their favorite outings are. I think to myself, have we come so far that our pets have replaced our kids? On the contrary, they’ve only been elevated to a new position in the hierarchy of the family, courtesy of the Baby Boomer. Gone are the days when our parents relegated the family dog to a chain attached to a tree in the backyard. Poor Rover, he was lucky if he even received even a passing glance.

Today things have never been better for Rover. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2010, U.S. pet spending will reach a whopping estimated $47.7 billion, up from $45.5 in 2009. Pretty impressive figures considering we are still struggling with a recession. It’s my guess no one told the dogs and cats we’re in one. Considering that Americans spent $23 billion on pets in 1998, we’ve more than doubled our spending in just 12 years. What a huge opportunity for a company marketing pet products to empty nest Boomers who’ll insist, nothing is too good for their Rover.

DonDiegoTraditional boomer product lines such as Harley Davidson, Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks and Origins, to name a few, have expanded their product lines to include dogs. After seeing a Harley guy stopped at a red light, with his pet Chihuahua along for the ride in a Harley dog seat, I know Harley Davidson gets it. In my imagination, I see this burly biker gently massaging Paul Mitchell into his Chihuahua’s coat; then applying Origins conditioner to keep its coat silky smooth. After the at-home spa treatment, they sit down to enjoy an Omaha Steak together. Sounds far-fetched? Guess again.

Consumer product companies have a huge opportunity to embrace the pet market the way they expanded into the children’s market when Boomers were raising their children. It wouldn’t be off the wall to see a Williams-Sonoma or Crate and Barrel come out with a line of pet products, if they haven’t already. The opportunities are endless, and if a company hasn’t thought about the pet market yet, they should consider that $47.7 billion market and all that discretionary money Boomers have to spend. Spending on our dogs has never been a question in my house; they are just another line item in my monthly budget.

As I think about my life as an aging Boomer approaching that empty nest stage, I can only say I have two furry kids that will never leave their pampered nest. While we wait for all those future grandkids, we have our dogs to spoil and spend on. My nest will always be full.

by Tom Gorski

(See a related article in Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2010.)

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and Pets, dogs, Baby Boomers as empty-nesters

Shhh! Don’t say aging!

Hear No Evil,Speak No Evil, See No EvilBaby boomers don't really like to think about aging. Oops I said the word! Please forgive me, if you're a Boomer. According to the book Generations at Work*, the mindset of the Boomer is, “They'll never, never grow up, grow old, or die.” We're the generation that started “coolness” and still think we're pretty cool. Therefore when there's an ad for a cosmetic product, Boomer women don't like hearing "anti-aging" or "age-defying”. As I chatted with a Boomer friend, we were discussing how frequently the models used in those ads look like they're in their 20's or 30's at best. No way we can relate to them. Frankly, I think those products may, in fact, be targeted to the 30-somethings who are more "worried" about aging. A friend of mine in her mid 30's recently discovered her facial skin was sagging in a way she hadn't noticed before. She told me she’d be open to a nip-tuck down the road. Being 51 myself, I have to admit that I sometimes look in the mirror and do the little pull back on my cheeks to see how much younger I could look. And I try to eat healthy and exercise in hopes that I'll stay younger longer, but I really don't obsess about it. Marti Barletta author of PrimeTime Women™ says, "Boomer women are not "in denial" about how old they are or what they look like. They accept their age, actually relish it, and can't wait to see what the second half of life brings them."

That said, if someone is marketing to Boomer women, you need to get into the mindset that, while we may accept our age, we don’t want anyone, especially marketers calling us "old".

focalyst chartStatistics from a Focalyst study say that Boomers in general are offended by much of the advertising out there today. Since Boomers are the largest spending segment of our population, advertisers ignore this at their peril. We showed an ad for a denture cream at a Gen-Sights presentation back in January. Those boomers in the audience who hadn't seen it on TV were horrified. It was like a bunch of 20-somethings sat around thinking of a way to make fun of those "old folks" who need this product. Well, they succeeded. Not sure how much denture cream they're selling. Thankfully, I don't need the stuff yet, but probably wouldn't buy that brand if I could help it.

It can be challenging to create a successful cross-generational campaign. One exception is Mutual of Omaha’s "Aha Moment" campaign, featuring real people's stories, from all generations. Very moving and something we can all relate to. You can learn a lot about the Boomer mindset from this campaign. Job well done.

On a more serious note, I think that Boomers also don't like to think about their parents aging. I've had conversations with many friends and colleagues who have taken on the role of primary "concerned adult child" in their families. All too often, they see their parents begin to struggle a bit, maybe to the point where they need care, while the rest of their siblings are in complete denial. Perhaps it's because if they admit their parents are getting old and needy, they can’t deny that they are next in line. They think their parents will always be parents and able to take care of themselves. I know I thought that way until the role reversal happened in taking care of first my Mom and now my Dad.

There is a government statistic that states Boomers will be taking care of their parents longer than their children. Because Boomers are often unaware of the many services that are available these days to help with eldercare, they are often struggling to care for their loved ones alone, or are thrown into a situation in an emergency when one has a catastrophic incident. When I attended a Senior Service Network meeting for the first time, and saw what’s available, I nearly cried to think about how much easier things could have been for my family, if only we’d known. Somehow, many of these services are missing the mark in reaching the Boomer children who need their help. This is no easy task, since Boomers don't really want to think about it. But there ARE ways to communicate with Boomers that resonate with them. Here are just a few suggestions.

• Provide good clear information on how you can help them
• Don’t use imagery or content that is rude, crude, and insulting
• Be the brand that is relevant, passionate, and committed
• Fulfill their needs and make their lives easier

There is still an us-them mentality when it comes to Boomers and "seniors", particularly for trailing-edge boomers (those 46 to 56). Since they and their parents are still on the younger side, aging is not something that has even remotely entered their minds. I myself shudder when I hear on the news that someone that had a car accident at the age of 60 is described as “an elderly driver”. I don't think so! The leading edge Boomers will be hitting 65 next year, but don't you dare call them "seniors".

*Generations at Work, Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, Bob Filipczak

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and Aging, age-defying, aging parents, anti-aging, don't call Boomers "seniors", advertising offensive to Boomers

Helping Marketers Tap into the P.O.W.E.R.™ of Storytelling

Apple ipadI was sitting on our deck reading the Sunday papers, when my sister cleared her voice to get my attention. As I looked up, she was holding the back page of the first section of the New York Times for me to see.

There was a beautiful full-page, full-color ad for the new Apple iPad. Even though I was sitting on the opposite side of the deck, one glance told the entire story. You got the sense of an adult, cuddling a child on her lap; together they were reading Winnie the Pooh on what appeared to be an actual-size iPad.

The real beauty was that the center of focus was the storybook on the iPad screen, complete with illustrations of Pooh. All you saw of the people were their hands and feet. If you’d ever read to a child, or been read to as a child yourself, you could picture yourself there. “Wow,” I thought to myself. “There’s an ad that truly demonstrates storytelling P.O.W.E.R.™!”

At Gen-Sights, we work with marketers who are interested in connecting with the Boomer market and tapping into that generation’s $2 trillion in buying power. (“Who wouldn’t want to target an audience with that much potential,” you might ask?). One thing we stress with clients is that if you want to really connect with Boomers, you better tell them a story—the authentic, powerful story of your brand.

See, while it’s true that almost everyone loves a good story, thanks to changes in the way the mind works as people age, Boomer brains have become particularly receptive to information presented in an emotional, narrative style. To help companies understand how to translate this into their marketing communications, we’ve developed some tips for creating stories with P.O.W.E.R.

P. for Perceptive: Become a perceptive marketer. Start by taking the time to truly understand the needs, wants, values, and concerns of your particular slice of the Boomer audience. TIP: Not all Boomers think alike! Then look at the ways your product or service might align what you uncover. The insights you gain through this process can then be used to create a story that will resonate on a deep level with your target audience.

For instance, one perceived barrier to an electronic reader like the iPad is how it might affect the reading experience. In the Apple ad, you not only see that the book’s page, including type and illustration, is authentically reproduced, but the child’s hand is reaching out to turn that page. It’s a real ah-ha moment that demonstrates one can still enjoy the pleasurable elements of the traditional reading experience.

O. for Ownable: Whether you’re marketing a product or a service, the story you create has to represent your brand truth. Everyone from the CEO to the customer service rep to the guy driving the delivery truck has to feel like they own that story and equally important, are living it. The most valuable information you can give your customers are stories that demonstrate your real passion for what you do and the way you really do it.

With this iPad ad, Apple is hinting at the ways it might transform reading, much the way the company’s previous “i-”devices changed computing, listening to music, and using the phone.

W. for Win: Obviously, when the consumer buys your product, your business will win. But your brand story has to contain a win for the customer as well. Will your product make life better? Easier? More fulfilling? The story has to tell of the win that the consumer will enjoy, courtesy of your product.

To continue with the iPad analogy, the ad shows how the device, with its big screen, creates opportunities for sharing, just like a real book.

E. for Emotional: Sure, the features and benefits of your product or service are important, but can you describe them in a way that touches your target in an emotional fashion? Forget the fact sheet; talk instead about the compelling idea behind your business.

Apple could have run an ad that explained how many books the iPad holds, but instead they showed only a picture of a mother and child reading together. That says it all.

little girl on ipadR. for Real: Forget fluff and hype. People today, especially Boomers, are hungering for real, authentic experiences that are relevant to their lives or the lives of the people they care about—and buy things for.

So does this mean the iPad is targeted to Boomers?
Well, I for one could imagine a Boomer loading one up with beloved children’s books as a gift to a grandchild. (Maybe that’s how the mother in the ad got her iPad!) Or maybe Boomers buy one for their parents, so Mom or Dad can read books, watch movies (again that big screen), and surf the web without dealing with the complexity of a computer. Of course, when it comes to themselves, Boomers are surprisingly technologically savvy, love new things, especially if there is demonstrable value, so we’ll see how all those apps turn out. But one thing is for sure, at least with their iPad print ads, Apple seems to be telling Boomers a story with P.O.W.E.R.

– posted by Lynn Schweikart

Photos captured from http://www.apple.com/ipad

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomer marketing, brand story, storytelling, Baby Boomers and Technology

Aging in Place……are you ready?

stairsathomeWe Boomers have always been a generation on the move. We went from childhood homes to college dorms; from first apartments, to starter homes, to family-size homes. Ultimately, some of us upgraded to even bigger homes. We’ve moved for jobs, to accommodate growing families, or changes in marital status; sometimes, we moved simply for a change of scenery. Compare this with our parents’ experience. Those members of “The Silent Generation” likely moved from their parents’ home to their first home as a married couple, put down roots and pretty much stayed there. I know this first hand: my 82-year-old mother, now a widow, has lived in the same house for 59 years—which isn’t too unusual among her circle of family and friends.

Recently, I attended a house party with 30 or so Boomer friends. To my surprise, the conversation strayed to a topic I never thought we Boomers would find ourselves discussing: retirement and downsizing. We talked about watching our parents struggle with living in homes that no longer suited them—whether it meant coping with stairs, dealing with getting into and out of bathtubs, or even having to get on ladders (or chairs!) to change light bulbs. When I mentioned “aging in place,” I found the term was not unfamiliar to my Boomer friends. We all agreed: unlike our parents, we want to plan ahead and “age in place” in a home that’s convenient and suitable to our needs. We especially don’t want the physical challenges of a home to make us feel old.

With the first wave of 78 million Boomers reaching 65 in 2011, helping Boomers adapt their existing homes or finding housing suitable for “aging in place” will become critical. Taking into consideration the uncertainty of retirement funds, Social Security, and healthcare costs, Boomers are realizing the importance of getting their “ducks in a row” now, in order to plan for an aging process that is seamless and carefree. With 89% of today’s seniors saying they want to “age in place” and live independently, you can bet it won’t be any different for Boomers, who have always prided themselves on their active, independent lifestyle.

That means there will be a plethora of opportunities for companies that market and sell lifestyle-enhancing home products, as cited in Marilynn Mobley’s Blog, BABY BOOMER INSIGHTS. The challenges will be for marketers to position these products in such a way that doesn’t insult the Boomer audience. We don’t mind change, after all we’ve moved enough over the years; we just don’t want the change to remind us we’re aging. Whether we downsize, upsize, remodel, adapt, retrofit or whatever you want to call it, we’re going to think of it as enhancing our lifestyle.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: aging in place, healthcare, independent lifestyle

Growing Up Without a Cell Phone

oldphone_tocell phoneI received a pass-around e-mail last week targeted to the over-30 crowd, with some of those "when I was a kid" comparisons. You know, the ones that go:
– Instead of the Internet, we had the library
– Instead of e-mail, we actually wrote letters
– Instead of MP3's or iTunes, we had record stores
– Instead of cell phones, we had to find a phone booth when we were away from home.
Since I could relate to all of these myself, it got me thinking about the myth that "Boomers are technologically challenged". I realized that while that may be how I seem to my nieces and nephew, they don't realize that I've actually grown up with technology. And though I've felt challenged a bit along the way, there were many times, including now, when I choose to embrace technology and it actually turns out to be quite fun and amazing.

There's so much that can be said about Boomers and technology, that this is probably the first of a series of posts on the subject. I would agree with the research that says Boomers prefer technology that's useful. And according to a recent article about the aging brain on NPR.org it's not only useful for the brain to learn new things (like blogging!); it actually helps new brain cells to grow throughout life. So jump in any time!

Even though Boomers think they’ll never grow old, there are things that inevitably will happen to us physically as we age, whether we like it or not.
As my sister and I’ve accompanied our aging parents and relatives through a variety of transitions, there have been so many times we’ve found ourselves searching for technological solutions to a variety of issues. For instance, since we ARE in the age of cell phones, which seem to be getting smaller and more complicated, we’ve wondered why there can’t be a cell phone with simpler functions and larger numbers. (I know my husband already has to use his glasses to see who's calling, though my arms are still long enough to read without them.) Sure, there’s the Jitterbug, which works for elders. But as I suspect that many of us Boomers will still want the bells and whistles we’ve grown accustomed to, there's lots of room for more innovation in this area alone.
ronni bennet
At Gen-Sights, we came across a video awhile back that Ronni Bennet (Her Blog: http://www.timegoesby.net/) posted on YouTube. She talks about technological gadgets, computers, and the web and some of the physical challenges they pose for the aging population. She offers some insight into the kinds of issues that we Boomers are sure to face as we continue to age. In my last post, I mentioned the MIT Age Lab, where researchers are looking for new ideas and creative technologies that offer practical solutions for "the quality of life of tomorrow". More companies really should be looking at their products this way and not just focusing on the teen-to-20-something set as they develop new technologies. There's huge opportunity with the largest segment of the population, the Boomers. The key is to make it useful, in order to make life better.

I also have to mention a cool company called MyWay Village that I’ve been very impressed with. They’ve developed a product called Connected Living, which enables seniors to keep in touch with family members and friends through a safe online community. By providing ambassadors to train the seniors, they’ve seen amazing results in how easily seniors take to the technology. In fact, the company has had so much success, they're now developing a special program for the memory impaired. What a great way to make it easy for Boomers to stay in touch with their elder parents or loved ones, and for children to connect with their grandparents. Again, something that’s not just useful, but life-enhancing.

Though we may have grown up without a cell phone, we certainly have them now and we'll continue to look for technologies to make our lives easier as we age. As I'm celebrating another birthday, I have to admit that yes, we'll age, whether we like it or not, and I want some great technology to go along for the ride.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Boomers and Technology, boomer blogs, Boomers are technologically challenged

Wait! Don’t Shoot After All!

"Just shoot me!" In recent weeks, I've heard more than one person say this when, following a discussion of our parents coping with physical ailments like my 89-year-old dad with Parkinson's, we begin to contemplate our own aging. While Baby Boomers have grown up thinking they will be forever young, the fact is that some day, like it or not, most of us are going to find ourselves in our parents’ shoes.

This first hit me a couple of years ago. In the course of searching for the most appropriate living arrangements for our Dad after our Mom passed, my sister and I visited several facilities before narrowing down the choices for him to make. We couldn't help picturing ourselves in each facility, imagining if we would like it there. While all were wonderful places, with beautiful interior design and a staff committed to doing what they could to make it "feel like home", I couldn’t help but think that there had to be a better way.

Boomers have had an impact on the world at every stage of our lives, so it seems natural to assume that our later retirement years will be no different. I feel confident that there will be new types of living alternatives for us as we age. In fact, some interesting options are already starting to emerge. I've chatted with more than a few women who think the ideal arrangement would be to get a house with a number of friends and bring services in. Others are talking about the possibility of opening up their existing home to roommates.

In a recent blog entry on Disruptive Demographics, MIT Age Lab’s Director Joseph Coughlin writes that this aging-in-place mentality opens the door to opportunity for a wide range of businesses, including remodeling, modification, and maintenance companies, as well as home convenience and in-home care providers. There is even the potential for new and innovative financial services products. In addition, some of the concierge services popping up could turn into community cooperatives, which is already happening in some areas.

At the very least, existing facilities should consider updating their current offerings by adding a wider range of services. These could include everything from health and wellness programs like yoga, to alternative healing modalities, to accommodating the technologies that Boomers have grown accustomed to. I know of a few facilities that are starting to do this and I give them credit for their forward thinking, though I believe it will shift a lot more.

I can't help but laugh to myself a little when I'm sitting with my dad, listening to a performer at his facility singing the songs of his youth, and thinking that if I end up in a place like that, they're going to have to be playing rock music like Aerosmith! God willing, when I make it to Dad's age (he'll be 90 this month), there will be many options to choose from to suit my lifestyle and bring enough pleasure to my life, so you won't have to "just shoot me".

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Aging, Baby Boomers and aging, assisted living facilities

Boomers On The Move

Move over Florida. Make room, Carolinas. The Boomers are coming. According to a 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Pulte/Del Webb (to be fully released in March 2010), Boomers are about to redefine retirement living, just as they have in every previous lifestage. Unlike their parents, Boomers are less attracted by the palm trees and golf courses of Florida, and more interested in the smaller urban areas of the Carolinas. While Florida and Arizona are in the top ten, other surprising retirement destinations include Tennessee and Virginia.

Here are some insights that we found particularly interesting concerning what amenities Boomers are looking for in their retirement communities: onsite healthcare and transportation; home maintenance and repair, outdoor activity areas, e.g., jogging paths and bicycle trails. And, as we’ve learned from other studies, it wouldn’t hurt to have a college or university nearby.

By redefining retirement living, boomers will open the door for many products and services that will serve to complement their lifestyle choices. Communities that are attracting large numbers of boomers will have opportunities to capitalize on their presence and benefit from their spending power. As we see it, this generation is looking for more than just a round of golf and lunch at the clubhouse; they’re looking for a full and satisfying lifestyle.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, redefining retirement, Baby Boomers and retirement communities

Nostalgia Rules!

Imagine, a Super Bowl where the game was way better than the ads. We watched the game with a bunch of Boomers, and for the most part all agreed: lots of ads were seemingly targeted to (and probably created by) 28-year old guys. You’d think they would be a real niche audience, given that Nielson estimates 106.5 million people tuned into this year’s game.

Boomers respond to nostalgia, which is probably why our Boomer viewer sample loved the Flo TV ad that recapped the entire history of television in 30 seconds. We were also big fans of the Google Paris ad, which came in second to Doritos’ House Rules in the Nielson Ad Buzz poll. While we were all glad to see the Budweiser Clydesdales, the spot seemed a little derivative, like we’d seen it all before with a different animal. The Letterman/Leno/Winfrey ad was a real hoot – our first reaction was “Is this real?” (15-second spots go by a little fast for Boomer brains!)

There were some dubious coincidences: what’s with all the people preening about in their underwear? The research we’ve done at Gen-Sights shows that Boomers are not only turned off by the ads they find crude, but turn off to the sponsor, as well — while we suspect the marketing people at Dockers and Career Builders.com weren’t really trying to target Boomers anyway, they probably should, given that Boomers do wear pants and don’t seem inclined to completely abandon the workforce anytime soon.

And how funny was it that the over-hyped Focus on Family ad, which ended with the mother of University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow being tackled on-camera, was preceded by a Snickers spot where the very same thing happened to comedienne Betty White? (Both spots rated a thumbs down from us, though the Snickers ad scored the most votes in this year's Adbowl, an online voting contest.)

You have to admit, the half time show featuring The Who was a true trip down memory lane for Boomers. And who, except those from the Hoosier state, wasn’t happy to see the long-beleaguered Saints (Ain’ts no more!) finally go marching in?

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and advertising, Baby Boomers and nostalgia, Super Bowl Ads, Nielsen Buzz

Turning Boomer Trends into Business Opportunities

To reverse the metaphor, with the forest of Boomer trends out there, how do you find the tree of opportunity for your business? At Gen-Sights, we’ve starting using a technique called “blending” the trends.

According to Joseph Coughlin, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, "blending is the ability to envision competing realities and see alternative futures that will drive product and service innovation.”

In a recent entry on his blog Disruptive Demographics, Coughlin demonstrates this how this works. He takes four trends that communications giant RIM, maker of Blackberry, sees as affecting the future of the smart phone:

1. Aging world: the median age on the planet in 2000 was 26, by mid-century it will be 36 and the number of people over 60 will triple -- to nearly two billion people; 

2. Connectivity: smart phones, other devices and wireless providers will blur activity, place, and push trends we already see in social media and interaction;
3. Empowered consumers: Consumers will continue to adopt tools that help them monitor and manage their relationship with companies, e.g., social media that advises on everything from restaurant choices, to financial services, to 'hey, where's my package?' 

4. 'Values' purchasing (e.g., green consumers): Values purchasing is not just for kids. Where there is a rise in 'color causes' (my phrase) -- buying green, supporting pink, and helping red -- aging baby boomers are increasingly interested in their social impact and legacy. That is, 'what am I contributing and what will I leave behind?

He then blends the trends, posing questions like:
What happens when older consumers are connected, empowered, and make purchase decisions on values beyond cost and quality?

What might wireless-enabled health or caregiving services in the pocket of an aging boomer look like?

Will ubiquitous computing power, social media, and value purchasing create virtual collaborative networks of service providers for sandwiched boomers today and frail boomers tomorrow?

To us, it’s very exciting to consider the possibilities you can generate when thinking about the Boomer audience this way. How will living arrangements, “green” technology, the travel industry, entertainment, and other consumer segments evolve as Boomers age? We suggest you take some time and think about the multiple trends that are affecting your business. How can you blend them to identify new ways that your business can tap into the growing Boomer market?
- posted by Lynn Schweikart/Laura Willis

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: business opportunities with Baby Boomers, boomer trends, Baby Boomer audience, Boomer market

Helping Companies Resonate with Boomers

Traditionally, marketers have looked at adults ages 18 to 49 as the demographic sweet spot. Those over 50? Why bother? They're too stuck in their ways to alter their buying habits. But that's all changing, and not surprisingly, it's Baby Boomers - with an estimated $2.2 trillion in spending power - who are doing it.

Gen-Sights is a collaborative marketing communications venture focused on helping companies position and brand themselves for success in the Boomer market. Being Boomers ourselves, along with a year's worth of research on the market, has given us many insights that will help businesses tap into this incredible booming audience.

- posted by Laura Willis/Tom Gorski/Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Boomer market, Boomer insights