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2014: the Year of the Entrepeneur!
3 years, 3 months, 1 week, 3 days, 11 hours, 21 minutes

If You Can Transform Fast Food, You Can Transform Anything.
4 years, 7 months, 3 weeks, 18 hours, 20 minutes

The Risks of Fearing Risk.
4 years, 8 months, 12 hours, 18 minutes

The New Normal?
4 years, 11 months, 2 weeks, 3 hours, 5 minutes

Boomers’ DNA – Love Affair With Cars
5 years, 1 week, 4 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes

Aging Means Business – Are You In?
5 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days, 4 hours, 30 minutes

Trying To Create Marketing Messages with Meaning? Learn What’s Meaningful.
5 years, 2 months, 1 week, 2 days, 17 hours, 44 minutes

It’s Who They Are and What They Do. Not How Old They Are.
5 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, 16 hours, 4 minutes

Senior Living Facilities That “Get It”
5 years, 4 months, 1 day, 19 hours, 55 minutes

A Perfect “Fit” For Boomers
5 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, 1 day, 16 hours, 35 minutes

2014: the Year of the Entrepeneur!

Just came across this great article on LinkedIn about 2014 being the "Year of the Entrepreneur". Based on our research, we have found that Baby Boomers are responsible for a large segment of this trend. It didn't surprise me that the article also talked about the fact that it's not all about money. "The entrepreneurs who will succeed in 2014 will need to focus upon having a purpose beyond profit for their business." We also know that many Baby Boomers fit this bill as well. They have a burning desire to do something more meaningful and make a difference in the world. I've started calling it an "encore revolution".
For the full article read here.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Entrepreneurs, Encore Revolution

If You Can Transform Fast Food, You Can Transform Anything.

Lyfe Kitchen Web SiteWhen it became clear that Herb—our 91-year-old father—had become too incapacitated to continue living in his Portsmouth, NH condo, my sister and I moved him to a nursing home a few blocks away. It was relatively cheerful and the staff was both competent and extremely kind. The only downside was the food. Typical, bland institutional stuff: overcooked canned vegetables, tasteless mass-produced chicken, you get the picture. Because we continued to spend weekends at the condo, we’d often visit with Herb at meal time, so we could keep him company while he ate lunch and dinner. On our way back home, we’d talk about the cuisine—or lack of it—and wonder how things might change once Boomers started needing that level of care.

I thought back to that time as I was reading an article about Lyfe Kitchen, the new fast food restaurant concept that’s the brainchild of a couple of former McDonald’s executives, including ex-president and COO Mike Roberts. Lyfe, which stands for Love Your Food Everyday, is out to radically change the way we think of, and experience, fast food. As writer Frederick Kaufman put it, “All the cookies shall be dairy-free, all the beef from grass-fed, humanely raised cows….there shall be no butter, no cream, no white sugar, no white flour, no high-fructose corn syrup, no GMOs, no trans fats, no additives, and no need for alarm: There will still be plenty of burgers, not to mention manifold kegs of organic beer and carafes of biodynamic wine.” (The entire article, entitled “Former McDonalds Honchos Take On Sustainable Cuisine” is available at wired.com)

Best of all, this is not some wide-eyed, romantic notion of how fast food should be. Writes Kaufman:
"The market research Roberts did at McDonald’s convinced him that mothers, the dominant decision makers about mealtimes, are more focused than ever on healthy food. So this time around, brussels sprouts and quinoa will enter the picture. This time around, the end result—the food—will look and smell and taste more like an entrée from some bistro in Brooklyn than a 30-second stop along Fast-Food Alley. But the process will be roughly the same, in that the problems of enormous scale can be solved through similar uses of technology, efficiency, and experience. ‘I would say that the pattern of this mosaic is very familiar,’ Roberts says. ‘The strategy of the rollout, the people and their skill sets, the systems of training and hiring and finance and accounting and supply chain, the development of the property and real estate system—they are all very similar. In other words, Roberts will take all the tricks he learned from old-style fast food and apply them to the next phase of American eating."

To a foodie like me, this is great news, and I can see that how, if the Lyfe Kitchen rollout is successful, it could also radically transform the way food service companies will supply their customers in the future—making organic, fresh, and delicious food available to retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes like Herb’s. (Lyfe Kitchen hopes to have 500 to 1,000 restaurants up and running nationwide within 5 years.)

But the real take-away here should be that by applying tried and true business techniques, entrepreneurs can transform anything from health care to transportation to home products to meet the needs of seniors today and Boomers tomorrow. And remember, the 65-plus market is growing by approximately 10,000 Boomers every day; by 2030, that age group will be about 71.5 million strong.
“We’re in the middle of the first stage of the food revolution,” Roberts told Kauffman. “I’m dreaming of a place where science, medicine, producers, farmers, and restaurateurs meet to say we are on a journey together.”

How exciting if that kind of revolutionary spirit courses through every segment of business, making life better for us all as we age!

– Written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: healthy fast food, nursing home food, seniors, Boomers, 65-plus market, health care, food revolution

The Risks of Fearing Risk.

Dancing WomenI recently went on a trip to Cuba with 110 members of my New Hampshire-based women’s chorus, Voices From The Heart. Participants ranged in age from early twenties to mid-seventies. It was a treat to watch the latter be just as willing as the former to try everything from octopus ceviche to salsa dancing to strolling with the locals along the Malecon after midnight. I thought of that experience when I listened to this video clip of geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas speaking about the concepts of “upside” and “downside” risk at the 2010 Green House Project meeting. (The Green House Project is committed to creating a world that honors and supports a positive elderhood through a radical transformation of long term care.)

Thomas defines risk as “an outcome that’s different than you expected”. Downside risk, the fear that things will turn out worse than expected, is something we’re all too familiar with. What we rarely consider is upside risk—the possibility that things will turn out better than expected.

Thomas argues that too often in planning for care for elders, the experts and families all too often focus on downside risk at the expense of upside risk. The result is that by being overly protective, we are actually preventing elders from having outcomes that are better than expected, thus reducing their ability to grow and thrive. (I suspect that this same obsession with downside risk could be having a similarly negative affect on today’s kids.)

Everyone wants their elders to be safe. But it could be that too safe is just as deleterious as not safe enough. According to Thomas, normal lives should include a “balance of upside and downside risk”. I suspect that as Boomers and active seniors like my Cuba companions age into the need for long term care, the facilities and home care companies that strike the right balance between these types of risk will be the ones most likely to succeed. Bring on that ceviche and salsa music!

– Written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: downside risk upside risk, care for elders, elders, long term care, home care companies

The New Normal?

boomer_summit_webAs marketing strategists we’re always on the quest for what’s cutting edge when it comes to reaching and servicing the Boomer & Senior markets. Today more than ever knowledge and technology are like moving targets. What was leading edge yesterday is passé today. The only way for thought leaders like us to stay on top of our craft is to stay in a constant dialog with other thought leaders that share the same enthusiasm for knowledge as we do. What better way than to attend the “What’s Next Boomer Business Summit” at this year's location, our Nation's Capital, Washington DC. The annual summit is presented by Mary Furlong & Associates and this year's topic was: The New Normal: Showcasing the groundswell in social media, the surge in the services economy, and the rise of the independent sector.

With the incredible roster of keynotes and industry experts, the summit was simply outstanding. Our heads were spinning with excitement and the treasure trove of ideas and information. One hot topic centered around how social media has led the way to stay informed and share ideas with one another. Though I was posting on Twitter and Facebook throughout the conference, it was evident, there's no substitute for face-to-face contact, and I’m not talking Skype.

Here are just a few of our initial takes from the summit:


This category now boasts that 7 out of 10 Boomers are comfortable with technology according to Steve French of NMI. What makes this category endearing is how it makes lives easier and provides a connection for families, especially children and parents or grandparents. Who ever thought that we’d be exchanging pictures with our families via Facebook rather than a photo-album and texting with our college age children?


Due to the economic conditions over the past couple of years a lot of housing projects (new builds) have been on hold according to Sharon Dworkin Bell of NAHB. Though there still might be growth in the 55+ communities (more affluent demographic), some of that building has leveled off. Based on what we heard at the "Aging Means Business" conference back in November, this leveling off is primarily due to the fact that people don’t really like being segregated by age and most prefer multi-generational living. Communities comprised of multiple generations appear to keep older people younger, longer. One thing for sure, there is a major disconnect between what consumers are looking for in housing as they age and what builders are providing or not providing. Lots of room for improvement and opportunity!

Reaching the 50+ audience through social media is already huge and still growing. When social media is part of your marketing strategy it’s important that it is authentic, real and genuine according to Laurie Mitchell of Grand Care Systems If it’s not, you risk alienating your 50+ audience and your chances of recapturing them are not good. The experience has to be worth their while.

These are just three of the many take-ways from the summit. We'll be posting more on topics like healthcare and healthy living trends, the "next great act", entrepreneurship and encore careers, philanthropy, the service industry, the workforce, room for innovation and more.
Once we have a chance to dive into our notes and Tweets, we’ll continue to post our impressions and insights on the "new normal".

– written by Tom Gorski

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Boomer & Senior Markets, the new normal, 55+ communities, social media and 50+ audience, Boomers and Technology

Boomers’ DNA – Love Affair With Cars

For a good part of my adult life I’ve always looked forward to receiving Consumer Reports', Best & Worst Cars annual edition in my mailbox and this year was no exception. Despite the fact that I hold on to my cars for on average of between 8 to 10 years, I’m still fascinated by both the newly redesigned models and new car introductions. Some people would say it’s in a Baby Boomer’s DNA to love cars, after all so many of us spent our youths driving some of the most iconic models, from the ‘55 Ford Thunderbird, ‘68 Dodge Charger to the ‘69 Chevy Camaro. Of course the list of cars is subjective but one thing is for sure, we Boomers grew up having a love affair with our cars.

While perusing through Consumer Reports I realized I look at car models quite differently now than I had in the past. Things like horsepower took a back seat to features such as seating, visibility, comfort features, gauge size, etc. Are you seeing a trend developing here? As Boomers mature our list of features begin to reflect more of our physical needs than recapturing our youth via a muscle car. Of course we won’t admit that truth, so that is where it becomes tricky for automobile manufacturers. How do you market a car to a demographic that refuses to admit they're aging?

Now I can’t claim to have conducted any research when it comes to automobile function and design but I certainly have been hauled around in a variety of models to tell you which models work for this 54 year old body and which ones don’t. There’s no question that how one feels in a car is personal but there are certainly some basic design features that any aging body will always feel good in. It’s these features that manufacturers need to incorporate into their design and then market them in such a way that is "cool", engaging and appealing, not insulting to Boomers. I charge you with this challenge!

For more information about automobiles and an aging population I suggest you read this article by David Aretha.

– Written by Tom Gorski

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers & Cars, Auto Manufacturers and Baby Boomers, Marketing Cars to Baby Boomers

Aging Means Business – Are You In?

the boom projectBefore the holidays set in, we were fortunate to attend the "Aging Means Business" Conference which was a subset of the Gerontological Society Annual conference on aging. Held in Boston this year, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of this unique gathering of thought-leaders, designers, architects, students, gerontologists, health care specialists, entrepreneurs and business professionals all focused on designing for a new age. We were excited, encouraged and inspired to meet some of the people we have both learned from and featured in previous blog articles, including Joseph Coughlin, founder and director of the MIT Age Lab and writer of the blog Disruptive Demographics, who moderated the event.

We’ve written about this topic ourselves in the past, and many of the speakers concurred that products designed for people who are aging, don’t necessarily need to focus on the “aging” itself but on good design that can benefit anyone or everyone.

We were fascinated by Matthias Holwich who spoke about the “BOOM” Project which focuses on a revolutionary new way of thinking about caring for people as they age, and moreso looking at a whole new way of living. (We hope to do a special post soon with information from our interview with Matthias.) We at Gen-Sights have stated previously that we believe Baby Boomers are going to change the world again as they have at every life stage, demanding new and different living arrangements as they age. The numbers alone will dictate it, but that’s not the only reason. Since we have already been and continue to care for elderly loved ones, we’ve gotten to see how things are now, and it has ignited us to give some thought to the idea of how we would want it to be different for ourselves.

With the simple fact that certain physical things happen to the body as it ages, healthy or not, a panel discussed the topic of designing the work environment for an aging workforce and new leadership techniques to handle multiple generations working together: better lighting, ergonomic office furniture, quiet working spaces to allow for better concentration and focus, and common areas to foster intergenerational collaboration. With a significant portion of the working public being in the 50+ category, now and into the future, businesses need to address these issues if they want to have a thriving workforce.
Mary Furlong (Mary Furlong & Associates, founder of SeniorNet and ThirdAge Media) was part of a panel that reviewed student entries for useful designs and conceptual ideas to make life easier for the aging population. It was exciting to know that young people are taking an interest. In fact, at my table during the lunch breakouts, there was a young college student involved in a project to design a bag that could be attached to a walker. The rest of the people at the table put in their two cents, telling her to look at it from a utilitarian perspective and see if it would be functional not only on a walker but a baby carriage as well and to be sure that designer fabrics and fun fashion would be incorporated. No stodgy or dowdy looking things for this crowd!

Changes in healthcare, transportation and service industries were also speaker topics that rounded out the packed, informative day. We walked away feeling that this room full of brilliant minds and interested learners may actually be able to have an impact on the needs of this ever growing segment of the population. Businesses are just beginning to scratch the surface in seeing the opportunity for growth by designing products and services to not only target the Baby Boomer and Senior audiences, but to design them for the greater good of all.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Aging, Aging Means Business

Trying To Create Marketing Messages with Meaning? Learn What’s Meaningful.

30 Lessons for LivingIt’s one of the golden rules of marketing: in order to connect with your target audience, you need to tell a story that’s meaningful to them. That’s why businesses with big budgets invest a lot of those dollars in research. But what if your company doesn’t have that kind of money? Well, if you’re lucky enough to be a business that’s targeting the senior market, I recommend spending around $15 for 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans by Cornell sociologist and gerontologist Karl Pillemer.
Pillemer is the founder of the Cornell Legacy project. In 2004, he and his researchers began to systematically collect the responses of nearly 1500 Americans age 70 and older to a single question: “What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your life?”
Though the individuals are from a broad spectrum of economic, educational, and occupational backgrounds, their beautifully insightful answers on a wide range of topics strike a similar vein. All together, they provide a wise, practical, and deeply moving guide to creating a life that’s both satisfying and successful.
The advice offered ranges from “how to be happy on a day-to-day basis, the secrets to a successful marriage, tips on raising children, ways to have a fulfilling career, strategies for dealing with illness and loss, and how to grow old fearlessly and well”.  You’ll learn what’s given these “wise elders” joy over the course of a lifetime, as well as what they regret. In a word, you’ll learn what’s meaningful.
The insights you’ll gain as you develop a deeper understanding of what really matters to people in this stage of life can make you a better person. They’ll also help you be a better marketer; one who is able to ascertain the meaningful benefits your product or service provides to this market—and craft more powerful stories to explain those benefits.

Best of all, this is not only relevant to elders. The research I’ve read on Boomers indicates that this cohort holds many of the same attitudes about what’s really meaningful in life. According to a recent U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, those age 50+ have $2.4 trillion in annual income, which accounts for 42% of all after-tax income. Now, wouldn’t that be meaningful to your business?

– written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Connecting with your target audience, Senior Market, gerontologist, targeting the senior market, Lessons for Living

It’s Who They Are and What They Do. Not How Old They Are.

Can’t believe it’s the beginning of 2012. Last year at this time, everyone (including Gen-Sights) was getting all excited about the first Baby Boomers turning 65.

But if anything, this past year has once again reinforced for us that our culture’s fixation with age is very misplaced. As Boomer experts (and Boomers themselves) have been saying forever—or so it seems—let’s get past the obsession with demographics like 18-34, etc. and focus on what should really matter to marketers: who people are and what they do.

So resolve to change your thinking. What need does your product or service fulfill? How do people really use what you offer? How does it help them live better? What are the stories that satisfied users tell about your product or service? (Also, what are the stories that any dissatisfied customer might tell?) If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re never going to find your target audience’s “sweet spot” — let alone know how to genuinely connect with them.

In early December, when Talbots became the target of a takeover bid, The Boston Globe asked a cross section of fashion industry experts to suggest how the retailer should go about reinvigorating its brand. Interestingly, only one used that tired old cliché about targeting a younger audience with more “body conscious silhouettes”. The others urged the company to become more tuned into who their customers are and what they really want beyond the career clothes that Talbots is known for. In other words, search out their stories.

Communications consultant Thelar Pekar gave a lecture at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications entitled, "Why Story Matters”. Though her talk was targeted to young people just beginning their careers in business communications, what she had to say should resonate with marketers of any age – trying to connect with customers of any age:

“Businesses are starting to understand that in a complex market, dealing with complex topics and complex people, story elicitation results in greater and deeper insights. Whether you are working to communicate a message to customers or the needs of customers to your future bosses, consider applying story as a tool for conveying complex emotions and truth.”

Those “greater and deeper insights” that you can gain through sharing and listening to your customers’ stories can form the basis for communications that truly resonate and inspire. And if you do that, you may find out that you don’t need a younger audience to grow your business, you just need a better story.

Happy New Year!

– written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, customer stories, insights, grow your business

Senior Living Facilities That “Get It”

Innovative Senior Care_BrookdaleAs we continued to explore the New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011, we talked to representatives from a couple of extended living communities that seem to be on track in keeping Baby Boomers in mind when promoting their facilities.

Pat Seidel from River Bay Club in Quincy, a Brookdale Living facility, shared with us how Connected Living allows their residents to communicate with family members on a regular basis. With a secure private social media online community combined with a little one-on-one training from the ambassadors, residents can remain relevant by using today’s technology. River Bay is in the process of adding a Skype component which will allow family members to be a part of their loved ones’ lives whether they’re down the street or across the country. Then Amy Amoroso let us know how the Innovative Senior Care division evaluates residents to be proactive in promoting and maintaining wellness in their residents and in the community.

We also talked with Barbara Marshall and Frank Quintiliani of Benchmark Senior Living’s Chestnut Park facility. They use Connected Living in their facility as well. Smart move. They also gave us a sample of some signature spices, Savory Sensation Salt Substitute, their culinary team has developed to keep things flavorful yet healthy. Something that’s important to the aging boomer population as well.
Benchmark_Chestnut Park
Both facilities offer options for a continuum of care, making life easier for both residents and their families. Fewer moves and disruptions makes for a better quality of life for all.

With the Baby Boomers being the influencers in their parents care, both of these facilities exhibit dedication in staying on the forefront of extended living to continue to attract residents to their facilities by:

– Incorporating useful technology to help their residents remain vital and relevant while making it easy for their children and grandchildren to stay engaged with their loved ones.
– Satisfying the sophisticated taste palette of the Boomer and Senior audience while providing healthy nutrition at the same time
– Anticipating changes in life stage, and providing options to address them

Since they are demonstrating the ability to stay on the forefront of care, the evolution will continue as the numbers of the aging population increases. Good to know they “get it”!

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Senior Living, Baby Boomers, parent care, technology, extended living

A Perfect “Fit” For Boomers

BathFitters_displayNot all bathtubs are created equal and that is especially true when it comes to Bath Fitter®. In our quest to find exhibitors that "get it" when marketing to Baby Boomers at the New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011, Bath Fitter proved to fit our criteria. It's clear to us that Bath Fitter determined Boomers are a key target audience for their product line of acrylic bathtubs, bathtub walls, shower liners, and other bathroom remodeling products. This is quite evident by their thoughtful design of options that meet the needs of aging Boomers, their parents, or anyone needing ease of access when it comes to bathing and showering.

Bath remodeling can be a daunting task for anyone, but for those looking for a less invasive approach, Bath Fitter seems to be a viable option. After spending time inspecting their displays of simple but stylish tubs and showers, and speaking with the sales representative for the local franchise, it was apparent to Laura and I that Bath Fitter has a non-condescending yet informative approach that allows the Boomer to come to their own conclusions. And it was interesting to hear though many Boomers start out with a tub renovation in mind, most often the product selected for “aging in place” is the easy access shower.

If we were marketing "professors" we would give Bath Fitter an A+ for hitting the basic “Four ‘P’s” when targeting the Baby Boomer audience:
– Product - they've created a line to suit Boomers' needs and various life stages
– Place - they are displaying in a place to reach this audience
– Price - providing good quality and value for the cost
– Promotion - their sales approach, website and printed materials are clear, informative and depict Boomers in a positive light
Go to the head of the class Bath Fitter!

– Written by Tom Gorski

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, "aging in place", bathroom remodeling

ShelfGenie – they get it!

Jeff at ShelfGenieIt’s refreshing to discover that there are manufacturers and service providers that “get it” when it comes to marketing to Baby Boomers and that is exactly what we discovered as we explored Boston's New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011. One company that stood out was Shelf Genie® based out of Marietta, GA and represented by franchise owners Jeffrey Cohen & Raffi Iskenderian of Concord Massachusetts. ShelfGenie’s line of Glide-Out™ shelving solutions is an answer for Boomers requiring low stress, easy access for their belongings in the kitchen, pantry or bathroom. What makes ShelfGenie so special and different is that the shelves are designed and built, then installed into your existing cabinets.
Laura's favorite was the pull-down rack that makes those hard-to-reach items on high shelves accessible without using a step stool (which she says is one of her most-used items in the kitchen).
So how does ShelfGenie “get it” when it comes to marketing to Boomers? It’s quite simple, they have done the following:

– Created a product that's smartly designed to be helpful and useful everyday
– Identified the Boomer audience as a key demographic
– Tastefully portrayed Boomers in their promotional materials

Although ShelfGenie is ideal for any home looking to organize, we're happy to see that they realize there is an enormous opportunity with Baby Boomers who want to update their home or help aging parents stay independent longer, and they do it in a stylish, inviting way. Kudos to ShelfGenie!

Written by Tom Gorski

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Marketing to Baby Boomers, ShelfGenie

Reporting from The New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011

Gen-Sights at ExpoThe New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011, presented by Williston Publishing of Vermont, took place the weekend of October 29th and 30th, 2011 at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston. Whether attendees were looking for ways to get a better night’s sleep, products to make everyday tasks easier, travel fun or options for senior living, the event provided lots of ideas, information, and inspiration for everyone. The attendees who made it through the unusually early winter nor’easter, found a combination of exhibitors, informational workshops and entertainment. Even though Boomers and seniors span more than 50 years in age, lifestages, and lifestyles, Williston Publishing more than met the challenges of targeting such a diverse group by bringing a wide range of experts together.

In speaking with some of the exhibitors and presenters, it was clear to us they were passionate about the solutions they were offering to Boomers and seniors. We were impressed with Jeff and Elizabeth from ShelfGenie, who showed us how adding pullouts to existing cabinets in a kitchen or bath could make much better use of the space as well as putting everything within reach, with a gentle tug of a drawer. Nora from Bathfitters showed us how economical it can be to upgrade a bathroom and the wide variety of styles and features that can make life easier and safer. Pat from River Bay Club in Quincy, a Brookdale Living property was excited to share how their facility uses technology to help their residents stay connected with family members. And Benchmark properties gave us a sample of their chef’s spice blends, that not only make food taste good, but can contribute to brain health. Alaina at AmRamp demonstrated how their convenient modular ramps give freedom to people with physical limitations, whether short or long term. I was happy to share that a close friend raved about how their product made a difference in her Dad’s life when he was recuperating from an accident.

The Boston Ballet and Boston Symphony added a cultural flair to the event, providing information, as well as performances and experiential workshops. Blue Cross Blue Shield and AAA, provided interactive demonstrations and presentations. If travel is your thing, you could connect with Collette Tours, the Manhattan Club, China Tours and others. Even business owners had the opportunity to learn something. Shelly Berman-Rubera of SBR-Small Business Results gave a presentation called 6 Steps to Small Business Results, that was so informative, even we got some tips on growing our business! And though we didn’t have the chance to attend, we heard that the concert by David Cassidy of Partridge Family fame, had fans rocking the house!

We don’t have the enough space here to mention something about every one of the over 140 exhibitors and presenters that took part in this event. (We'll be featuring some of them in upcoming posts as businesses that "get it" in understanding the Boomer Market.) The folks at Williston are committed to making it an even better EXPO next year and hope that Mother Nature will cooperate!

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers, Boomers & Seniors, lifestages, Boomer lifestyles, expo

A New Meaning for Aging in Place?

grandmothers_clockThe other day, Patrick Roden, creator of agininginplace.com, re-tweeted a link to a previous blog post of his that resonated with me as much on re-reading, as it did the first time I saw it. Called “The Meaning of Objects”, it had me pondering how much of the desire to “age in place” is about the actual place, the home, if you will—and how much is about not wanting to leave the objects—and the memories and stories they hold—that give that place its meaning.

Roden told of a study that asked respondents: “Is there one personal possession you value above all others?” He reported that more than 4 of every 5 respondents were readily able to identify such an object. (Interestingly, men were more likely to identify a consumer item, while women preferred more emotional items like photographs and jewelry.)

But to me, the sobering fact is that when the researchers talked to adults over the age of 75, 30% could identify no cherished object, as compared to only 8% of the younger respondents. As Roden recounts: “Upon further investigation, the researchers learned that this was because many of the older participants lived in nursing homes and a lack of cherished things was associated with the absence of one’s own home.”

According to Roden, the findings for the researchers proved that institutional care often means moving into a place bereft of meaningful things that surround one at home. As he poignantly recalls “from the glass roses I presented to my friend in the nursing home lasting 2 weeks before being knocked off the window-ledge (broken by a nurse-aide); to the antique Santa that I had to identify as hers by labeling it with black marking pen (nursing home necessity), meaningful things can lose meaning in institutions.”
As I write this, I look up and see a number of my own dear mementoes: my great-grandmother’s antique clock, which stood on the fireplace mantle in my childhood home, an oil painting done by my mother, the nutcracker I brought my father from Germany, and I wonder: how can institutions evolve to provide greater personalization and offer deeper emotional connections, comfort, and meaningfulness to residents? Seems to me there’s a winning business model for the senior living center or nursing home that can accomplish that—and it could add a whole new meaning to the term, aging in place.

– written by Lynn Schweikart

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Aging in Place, Senior living center, nursing home

Using an Ending to Inspire New Beginnings: Helping Boomers Face Some Difficult Subjects

familyphotoI didn't anticipate that my uncle’s unexpected passing would inspire a blog article. But the truth is, many Baby Boomers are facing the same reality that I am: an era is ending. Our parents’ generation—many of whom are now in their mid- to late- 80's, 90's, or older—is passing on, despite the fact that these days, people are living longer.

Some remain healthy and independent up to the end; others require lots of care. Thankfully my uncle was in the former category. Sure, his health wasn’t perfect, but he remained extremely independent, living on his own, still feeling that he had "lots to do". All of this made his passing something of a surprise, as well as a sadness.

Because my uncle and aunt had no children of their own, my sister and I were often involved in their care. My uncle was my aunt's primary caregiver as she was the first to become ill; then pass away. As I’ve gone through the process of losing first one, then the other, I’ve had a number of revelations that I hope will be helpful to all those Baby Boomers out there who are facing similar situations. I know, we really don't like to think about this stuff, let alone talk about it. But this really is important.

1) Health care proxies: When my aunt became seriously ill and was near death the first time, (she amazed all of us as she bounced back more than once,) both my aunt and uncle finally drew up their health care proxies. We had no idea what their wishes were, so having these documents to guide us was really a blessing, particularly as my uncle fell ill and we were faced with difficult decisions about his care. No matter how young you are, or feel, it’s a good idea to have one in place. I’m talking about you, Boomers, not just your parents. And while you're at it, discuss organ donation, too.

2) Pre-paid/planned funerals: I am very grateful that my uncle had a pre-paid/pre-planned funeral. As close family members, this responsibility might have otherwise fallen on my sister and me. Because of my uncle’s forethought, the arrangements were pretty much set, aside from a few minor details,

Since Baby Boomers don't like to think about getting old, let alone dying, I'm sure that few of us have made any plans for ourselves or even told other family members what our wishes are. It can be quite a burden, both emotionally and financially for loved ones left behind to have to figure things out in a moment of grief. Perhaps if we think of it as one last gift, we'd be a little more attentive to this matter.

3) Wills/estate planning: Thankfully, my uncle had drawn up a will after my aunt passed. Unfortunately, I’m not as lucky with my own family. Every time I try to bring up the discussion of a will with my husband, he doesn't want to talk about it. With no children of our own, it's even more important to have this taken care of before hand. In my business, I’ve talked to several estate attorneys who are looking for ways to reach out to Baby Boomers and get them to take action. I always suggest that the best way to help Boomers push beyond their denial, is to frame the matter in a positive way, i.e., having an estate plan enables one to make a difference by leaving a legacy.That's a much better motivator than the guilt trip, as Baby Boomers are one of the most philanthropic groups of people on the planet.

4) Experts predict that many Baby Boomers may be inheriting property or assets. According to a MetLife Study the number is estimated to be about $6 Trillion dollars nationwide. Realtors, estate attorneys, financial planners/advisers, and CPA's should take note of this. As most Boomers really haven't thought about this stuff, there’s an opportunity to provide good helpful information and assistance. How should real estate be evaluated? Are there people who can help with cleanouts? With staging and preparing a property to sell? What's the probate process like? What are tax implications of inheritances? What should be done with additional financial assets? Whether it’s for their elders or themselves, Boomers need help with these questions and more, and there are real opportunities out there for businesses that can provide answers.

That said, I’ve decided this this is a good time for me to begin the process of filling out my own "What-If Workbook" a handy tool that a business associate of mine, Gwen Morgan, developed. I’d given one to my uncle a while back, but we haven't found it yet. I remember him telling me he’d been using it to gather everything together. I look forward to finding it, as one more memento of him. But I suspect that since he had so much else in place, we won't really need it.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and Inheritances, Baby Boomers and realtors, estate attorneys, financial planners, financial advisers, CPA's


facebook_gensightsRegardless of which research you read, it’s apparent that Baby Boomers are making their presence known on Facebook. Whether it’s Deloitte data touting that nearly 47% of Boomers are on Facebook or the NPD Group claiming it’s more like 41%, the bottom line is that Boomers are moving into the world of online social networking. Of course, how we and others will use this technology and all that it has to offer is a question that’s yet to be answered. As Facebook evolves, so will the ways that members will choose to weave it into their social fabric.

I’ve experienced first hand the advantages of being a Facebook member. Like many Boomers, my wife and I were not exactly early adapters. In fact, it was our college-age son who prodded us for nearly a year to sign up. Because he’s not much of a phone conversationalist, he informed us that if we wanted to stay abreast of his life, Facebook was the way. As a result, we became converts, singing the praises of this online community to everyone in our network of friends.

In the beginning, I had some apprehensions about my security, privacy, etc. I decided to approach it the same way I approach the security of my home. I don’t let strangers in the door; I keep the doors locked, keep security lights on at night and have two dogs that bark when something isn’t quite right. After many conversations with my marketing colleagues and those in the know, I realized I could incorporate those same principals into my Facebook account.

I follow the same line of thinking when deciding what I post, and who I make it available to. Since there’s no doubt I’m a product of two parents from the “Silent Generation,” I’m not keen on sharing too much personal information, even with family and friends. So much as in my off-line life, when I share photos from a recent trip or social activity on Facebook, I’m selective about whom I share it with. I think about online privacy this way: do you allow the guests in your home to have free run of all your drawers, photo albums, file cabinets, etc.? Of course not! So use the same approach with Facebook.

On the downside, Facebook has implemented so many features for security that it can be a little confusing for the novice user. I often wonder if there is a method to their madness and the answer is, of course! It’s like disclosures you find on everything you sign, small print in legalise. For participants who want to maintain the highest level of security measures, it requires a bit of due diligence on their part or a very tech savvy friend. Keep in mind that Facebook is notorious for making changes that can jeopardize some or all of your personal security settings. My suggestion is start off with the locks on and as you become comfortable, you can unlock the ones that make sense for you.

So far, I’ve been extremely pleased with the way I’ve chosen to set up my online social life, both personally and professionally. I feel I’m right up there with the 20- and 30- something’s, but have an experience that’s tailored more for me and my lifestyle. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to managing your Facebook account because it’s all about you and how you want to present yourself to your world of family and friends. Social media may not be every Boomer’s cup of tea, but if you’re a social person like I am, it ROCKS!

-posted by Thomas A. Gorski

Labels: Baby Boomers, Facebook, Baby Boomers and Social Networking, Baby Boomers and Facebook

Baby Boomer Men: Fashion, Function, or Choice

boomer_man_in_suitOne morning last week, while enjoying my 7 AM ritual of drinking coffee and flipping through the Wall Street Journal, I couldn’t help but notice the banner announcing Fashion Week in NYC. Now I literally have no interest in fashion other than when my 17-year-old daughter decides to invite me along on a shopping trip, primarily to pick up the tab. I imagine I’m probably not too different from most of my male Baby Boomer friends, who tend to see clothing as a necessity, while fashion is something women seek out.

If you were to peek into the closets of most Boomer men, you’d probably find an assortment of clothing styles dating back 30 plus years or more. Whether these clothes are worn or not is beside the point; what’s important is that it’s indicative of how the clothing industry has neglected an entire group of men, specifically Boomers. When you take a close look at what my friends wear for business casual, you’d be hard pressed to see a big difference in their wardrobe from 20 years ago. Other than a collar size change or the width of a tie it’s been pretty much the same over my lifetime.

I’ve often wondered why there are so few retail-clothing choices for men over 40. Not that I give shopping too much thought, but at times when there’s a special event or a vacation coming up, and I need to break down and go clothes shopping, I find my choices limited. Like most of my friends, we make the trip to Jos. A Banks for our suits and business wear, to REI for recreational wear, and to Dicks for sporting wear. Sure, there are other like retailers out there at different price points but all in all, the choices are limited and not too enticing.

Not that I would do a lot of clothes shopping even if there were better choices but the point is, I would have a better shopping experience if there were. I hate shopping in department stores such as Macy’s or Kohls; to me, there’re too big and not the least bit interesting. REI and in the Northeast, Eastern Mountain Sports are cool and capture my interest but the selection is strictly adventure wear. Marshalls and TJ Maxx are great if you have the time to rummage through racks but most men don’t have the time and don’t find it too interesting. The remaining retailers, J. Crew and Banana Republic don’t quite fit the more mature male body shape.

So what is a Boomer guy to do? Well my advice is for clothing manufacturers and clothing retailers to wake-up and start listening to this large demographic of men age 40 plus. As is well known, build it and we will come.

This blog post was inspired by an article I read in Seniors Love To Know.

-posted by Thomas A. Gorski

Labels: Baby Boomers, Men, Clothing, Baby Boomer Men's Fashion, Men Over 40, Retail Clothing

Nostalgia or No-stalgia?

JFK_newspapersCleaning out my aunt's attic over the last several months has been quite the adventure in nostalgia. I think she saved ALL her clothing through the years, from the about the 40's and 50's on up. Old photos, Sears catalogs from the 60's and 70's, along with boxes of sewing patterns and more. I couldn't help but feel warmly wistful and start reminiscing, especially when I found some of my own things from childhood (that my mother evidently stored up there) including games and toys we used to play with when we visited. Perhaps, though, it was the "memory lane" box that I opened to find a stack of newspapers from the time period when JFK was shot. I was a young child then, but even I still remember a lot about that event.

While I don't think any of us really want to relive those days, according to a recent MediaPost Engage:Boomers article by Lori Bitter of Continuum Crew, "As consumers, Boomers are yearning for brand experiences that help them feel safe, smart and in control again." She goes on to say, "For some, this means more connections, manifested in the growth of social media platforms. Increasingly, older adults are reaching into the past and connecting with old friends, old beaus and lost relatives."

I know personally I find myself on Facebook more and more, connecting with high school classmates and other friends I lost touch with years ago. The online conversations certainly bring back memories and it's like an ongoing class reunion to find out what people are up to these days and sharing life's challenges and triumphs. It can also be a great platform to reach the Baby Boomer audience as the numbers of users in that demographic show dramatic increases. According to numbers released by Pew Research Center in December, the rate of online social networking among older Boomers nearly quadrupled, from 9% to 43% compared to overall use by American adults growing from 35% in 2008 to 61% in 2010.

So does it make sense to use nostalgia when marketing to Baby Boomers? The answer is yes and no. When my colleagues and I were creating the Gen-Sights web site, we decided to incorporate some old photos of ourselves and other nostalgic images, in order to give a sense of a timeline and the events and happenings that shaped our lives and helped make us who we are today.

We also used nostalgic childhood photos of our clients and their mom in a campaign for Senior Equity Financial, a reverse mortgage company. In this case, it seemed appropriate to use this imagery to create a connection with the Senior and older Boomer target audience, as well to demonstrate the ways that core values instilled in the founders of this company at an early age were playing an important role in their business and use that to build trust with potential customers.
I have also been a fan of the Pepsi commercial campaign that came out a few years back, done to the tune of "forever young" by Bob Dylan and Will.i.am, where there is a reflection of various vignettes of life back in the 60's and 70's side by side with the same vignettes today. Definitely gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling of back in the day, yet kept me in the present in a fun way.

So if you are going to use a nostalgic concept or imagery, be sure to do it in a way that makes emotional connection with the Baby Boomer audience, resonates with their core values, perhaps adds a little fun to your marketing, while at the same time, bringing a sense of comfort and safety. A tall order perhaps, but worth it to connect with this highly lucrative audience.

-posted by Laura Willis

Labels: Baby Boomers and Nostalgia, Baby Boomers connecting through Facebook,

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

Boomers: Technology’s Big Spenders – 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.)

One of our main goals in creating the 65 Reasons to Target Boomers series is to puncture some of the myths that have been keeping businesses from embracing the magic of the Boomer market. Perhaps there’s no bigger myth-bubble to burst than the one that says Boomers are technophobes. We suspect that some of this comes from the propensity of researchers to lump Boomers into the age category of 50 and above, rather than the more representative 46-64.

This was borne out by a recent article in Advertising Age, which coalesced research from a number of sources to arrive at the somewhat astounding (to some) conclusion that Boomers are not only eager adapters of a wide range of technologies, but are in fact, some of the biggest consumers.

Source: Advertising Age
According to Forrester Research's annual benchmark tech study, Boomers in the 46 to 64 age group now spend more money on technology than any other demographic. This includes everything from purchase of devices and gadgets to monthly telecom fees, even online purchases! As Patricia McDonough, senior VP-analysis at Nielsen Company put it, Boomers “represent 25% of the population, but they consume 40% [in total dollars spent] of it."

From everything we can see, Boomers desire for technology will not diminish. In fact, we look forward to seeing how the demographics of purchasers of e-readers like the iPad and the Kindle break down. The implications of this for electronics manufacturers are staggering, even as they try to balance Boomers’ desire for the benefits of technology with the need for more user-friendly features for aging eyes and less-than-limber fingertips.

-posted by Gen-Sights

Labels: Baby Boomers and technology, Reasons to target 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