Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - Gen-Sights at New England Boomers & Seniors Expo

Gen-Sights to be at New England Boomers & Seniors Expo

Gen-Sights has been collaborating with Williston Publishing, the event company for the New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011. "We wanted the exhibitors to have a successful expo and thought we could provide some helpful tips about marketing to the Baby Boomer and Senior audiences," explained Tom Gorski, Principal and Marketing Strategist at Gen-Sights. An interactive webinar was presented in mid-September so exhibitors would have time to implement some of the tactics presented.

There will be a "Small Business Incubator" section of the show where Boomer entrepreneurs and small business owners can connect with business professionals that can provide guidance in starting or growing a business. Gen-Sights will be offering their expertise in the area of branding and marketing. "Though we typically work with companies that are a little larger, we were excited about the opportunity to make an impact on these smaller businesses who need to understand the nuances of marketing to the Boomer segment. Plus, we can provide general marketing and branding guidance, as well," Gorski said.

The New England Boomers & Seniors EXPO 2011 takes place October 29th and 30th, 2011 and is primarily geared toward the consumer, as both a fun social event as well as an opportunity to gather important information on everything from travel and financial planning to health and wellness... and so much more! All ages are welcome to come and enjoy an array of interactive exhibits, Travel Pavilion, Arts Pavilion, wine and food tasting, giveaways, a wide variety of workshops, plus live entertainment including The April Hall Group featuring musicians from the Boston Pops and a concert by David Cassidy (of Partridge Family fame), fashion shows, game shows and more! For more information go to

Gen-Sights is a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Baby Boomer market.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - April 2011 Edition, South Shore Senior News

Debunking More Boomer Myths

Age Stage: Understanding The Changing Lifestyles of Boomers & Seniors
by Laura Willis

In our previous two Age Stage articles, “2011: Put Your Money Where The Myths Aren’t,” we explained some of the reasons why marketers should look beyond six of the widely held Boomer myths. Now that Boomers have begun turning 65 in 2011, it makes sense to discuss three additional myths that businesses would be wise to ignore.

Myth #7:
Boomers are technologically challenged.

On the contrary, Boomers are comfortable with technology because they've grown up with it. In fact, Boomers were involved in the early creation of a lot of the technology we have today. 81 - 76% are active online users(younger to older Boomers respectively), 93% use e-mail, 71% shop online, 73% read news online, 83% have digital cameras and 88% have cell phones. Based on a Pew Research Center study just released this month, the rate of online social networking approximately quadrupled among Older Boomers 9% to 43%. So if you're not including a social networking component in your overall marketing strategy, you might want to reconsider.
Useful technology is key in the minds of Boomers. They enjoy things that make their lives easier, help them to connect with family, especially children and grandchildren(or in some cases their parents), or an item that takes into consideration their changing physical needs, while still being "cool". The iPad is proving to be a winner with Boomers due to its size and ease of use, and the fact that it fits in to a big part of Boomer leisure and creativity from learning music composition to enjoying videos or planning travel.

Myth #8:
Boomers are downsizing their homes.

In some cases that's true, but it's not the norm. Boomers are actually "right-sizing" based on their individual needs. Some want a home that will enable them to age-in-place, while others want space for elderly parents they need to care for, or "boomerang" kids who have come back home. 50% plan to buy a new home after retirement. 76% plan to live in either a same size home or a larger home. 79% prefer a single-story home over a two-story (15%) or split-level (7%). If you are a realtor, are you aware of the wide range of needs here and are you making it a point to understand your clients and learn what life stage they are in before making recommendations? If you are in the business of helping people to modify their homes to age-in-place, you may want to consider partnering up with realtors. With a few recommendations for modifications, they may be able to make that sale!

Myth #9:
Boomers are unhealthier than any generation before them.

Baby Boomers see health issues as a "natural" part of aging and feel confident that leading-edge therapies and science are going to keep them healthy and vital for years to come. Nearly 87% say they are in good, very good or excellent health, however over 1/2 say they suffer from one or more chronic conditions. Nearly 83% are interested in alternative or integrative medicine. If you are a professional in the health and wellness industries, are you taking advantage of this great opportunity for growth by tapping into the Boomer audience, and their emotional connection to staying younger and healthier longer? Are you telling a story they can resonate with? Don't they say that 50 is the new 40, and 60 the new 50?

We hope you are learning that the key to successfully reaching the Baby Boomer market is to forget the myths and focus on life stage issues instead. Review all aspects of your business and take into consideration how it can fulfill a variety of Boomer needs and you'll be positioned for success for years to come. Remember that you can reach Boomers in a variety of ways in both traditional and new media. We hope you'll look forward to next month's article where we will be focused on the #10 myth about Baby Boomers and advertising. We'll provide some do's and don't's to help you adjust your communications in order to connect with this audience of 76 million strong.

To read our previous articles on Boomer myths go to the December and January issues online.

Laura Willis is Principal, Co-Creative Director and Design Strategist at Gen-Sights, a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market. You may reach Laura at (781)294-1450 or via e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - January Edition 2011, South Shore Senior News

Debunking More Boomer Myths

Age Stage:Understanding The Changing Lifestyles of Boomers & Seniors
by Tom Gorski

In our previous Age Stage article, “2011:Put Your Money Where The Myths Aren’t,” we explained some of the reasons why marketers should look beyond three widely held Boomer myths. As Boomers begin turning 65 in 2011, it makes sense to discuss three additional myths that businesses would be wise to ignore.

Myth #4
Boomers are retiring early.

Whether by necessity or choice, Boomers are redefining retirement through “extended career strategies” and “encore” careers. The fact is 76% of Boomers expect to continue working beyond retirement. Today, nearly 20% are already working in what they consider their second career.

When filling a vacant position in your company, consider tapping into the lifetime of expertise offered by Boomers seeking an encore career. They’ll prove to be an invaluable asset to your company, offering a level of loyalty and a work ethic that you thought had long ago disappeared.

Myth #5
Boomers are winding down and becoming less active.

On the contrary, most Boomers aren’t really slowing down one bit. In fact, the typical Boomer regularly participates in at least 10 activities. Most consider themselves to be quite adventurous, with 72% of Boomers taking at least one trip per year. And when they’re not traveling, they’re on the go at home: over 1/2 of Boomers attend movies regularly; 1/4 attend music concerts; and almost 1/3 attend live sporting events.

The travel industry is responding to this by creating specialized programs and trips specifically targeted to these adventurous spirits. There are vacations that combine educational components with high-level adventure, and leisure-time excursions that challenge the mind and body.

If you’re in this business or any of its allied industries, consider how you market to Boomers. Are you offering an adventure component.? Educational or community-service opportunities? A way to share interesting experiences with grandchildren? Talk to your Boomer clients to understand what interests them and develop programming that addresses their needs.

Myth #6
Boomers are all wealthy.

While Boomers control 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households, only 9% are truly affluent. The truth is 50% of Boomers consider themselves to be spenders more than savers and sadly, 25% do not have any savings accounts or investments other than their primary residence.

What this unveils is a huge opportunity for financial advisors, banks, and the many financial service businesses that specialize in money management. As Boomers approach whatever their vision of retirement may be, many will need the assistance of a financial professional to reevaluate their nest egg.

As we’ve mentioned before, the key to successfully reaching the Boomer market is to forget the myths. As they have in every chapter of their lives, Boomers are rewriting the notions of retirement, leisure, and wealth. The astute businesses will listen, observe and reposition their products and services to tap into this 76 million strong audience. The generation that coined the phrase “don’t trust anyone over 30” will now be saying, “don’t trust anyone under 50.”

To read our previous article, go to the South Shore Senior News online editions.

Thomas Gorski is Principal and Chief Marketing Strategist at Gen-Sights, a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market.

Monday, December 6, 2010 - South Shore Senior News

Resolve for 2011: Put your money where the myths aren’t.

Age Stage: Understanding the Changing Lifestyles of Boomers & Seniors

Why do marketers spend big dollars targeting 18 to 49-year olds? Because that’s where the money is.

Only it isn’t. Turns out that’s as much of a myth as the quotation it’s based on, famously but incorrectly, attributed to Willie Sutton in response to the question, “Why do you rob banks?”

In fact, where the money is, is where Baby Boomers—and their elders—are. According to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by The Boomer Project for USA TODAY, spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion last year—up a whopping 45 percent in the last 10 years. While the significantly larger group of Americans younger than 50 (182 million) spent $3.3 trillion, that was only a 6 percent increase over the same decade. In fact, over 50’s are outspending their children and grandchildren on everything from luxury products to automobiles to technology.

Here are other Boomer myths you should resolve to ignore in 2011:

Myth #1: Boomers are all the same
In fact, Boomers are extremely diverse in terms of behavior, attitudes, ethnicity, and outlook—more so than the generations on either side of them.

When targeting Boomers, forget about age; focus on lifestyle and life stage. Position your business to meet the life events that have an impact on Boomers’ attitudes, goals, and consumer behavior—the birth of a grandchild; a parent’s illness; a child leaving for college; a career change.

MYTH #2: Boomers are set in their ways

Actually, Boomers are open to new products and brands. A Focalyst study showed that 72% are always looking for products that might be better than those they currently use.

In our experience, Boomers want products and services that make life easier, while delivering on quality, reliability, and effectiveness. Strive to make these your core business attributes and you’re in the Boomer sweet spot, no matter what your product category.

MYTH #3: Boomers are married, empty nesters

Truth is, there’s no such thing as a “typical” Boomer household. Research shows that only 25 percent fit the stereotype of married with adult children who have left home. 37 percent still have children under 18 in the home, while singles make up 22 percent of Boomer households. Nearly 25 percent expect a parent or in-law will move in with them.

Keep in mind that Boomers can be making several multi-generational purchase decisions at once, with both older and younger dependents to shop for. In fact, Boomers are frequently the real decision-makers for products/services targeted to their parents—something that businesses targeting seniors should note.

By resolving to look beyond these and other Boomer myths in 2011, you can start positioning your business for success with this valuable audience. Best of all, you can still reach Boomers with traditional advertising media. However, the more emotional, authentic, and informational your message, the better. Whatever you do, don’t imply “old”, “aging”, or “seniors”. That those words are turn-offs for Boomers is no myth!

South Shore Senior News

Lynn Schweikart is Principal, Co-Creative Director and Chief Story Teller at Gen-Sights, a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - As printed in South Shore Senior News

The Perfect Gift: Making It Easier To Give and Receive

Age Stage: Understanding the Changing Lifestyes of Boomers & Seniors

Finding the perfect holiday gift for older friends or family can be a challenge. Whether it’s Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or other special occasions, shoppers all face the same dilemma: what do you give that’s thoughtful and practical, yet says “I love you”, especially for someone who probably already has everything he or she needs? This time of year, as I start thinking about what to give my mother and in-laws, I wish it could be as easy as when my kids were little. Then, all I had to do was go to a toy store and select an age-appropriate gift. Instead, being a holiday hero for the seniors on my list takes time and creativity.

My partners at Gen-Sights and I think some of this is because retailers and service providers have yet to embrace the value of marketing their wares to the older demographic of 65 to 85 and up, despite increasing numbers and spending power. Considering that the first group of 78 million Baby Boomers turns 65 in 2011, we can only hope that this will change. There are products targeted to children, teens, expectant mothers, homeowners, crafters, handymen, etc., yet when it comes to older consumers, if advertising is any guide, it seems there’s nothing out there, short of medical products and devices.

The fact is that there are products and services that would make great gifts for this demographic. All it takes is a little thinking outside the traditional holiday gift box. Here are a few ideas that Laura, Lynn, and I came up with, just to get you thinking:
• A kitchen or hardware store promoting a gift package of assorted gadgets that are ergonomically designed to address the physical limitations of aging hands and fingers.
• A health club offering a gift certificate for some low-impact exercise classes or training sessions that would ease aching joints?
If you’re a retail store, you might package together some electronics to help the family stay connected, particularly during those long winter months when it's difficult to get out. Or put together a gift basket of brain-stimulating games and puzzles.
• Personal chefs or meal service providers could offer a selection of healthy, home-style meals that have been pre-cooked and frozen for easy reheating.
• A home healthcare agency could offer gift certificates for monthly light cleaning services. Homecare providers or facilities could even put a list of common useful items together and send it as a mailing to family members, for that added level of service.

When you start thinking about it, the list of potential gift ideas for seniors is practically endless; you only need to look at what you sell and determine how your products and services can best be bundled and positioned. Look for gift ideas that fill a need that almost any recipient would like, yet might not think to ask for. You’ll be providing a great service for gift-givers – and helping your business at the same time. One thing to keep in mind: just don’t position your gift ideas as Senior Citizen Specials. Great gifts are ageless!

South Shore Senior News

    Tom Gorski, Lynn Schweikart and Laura Willis are Principals at Gen-Sights, a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - As printed in South Shore Senior News

    Hungering for Healthier Food

    Age Stage: Understanding the Changing Lifestyes of Boomers & Seniors

    A couple of years back, I went to a nutritionist to help me feel good about turning 50. It really made me more aware of the foods I was eating and how they made my body feel once I ate them—what my mood was like and even how my brain functioned.

    Food and brain health have been on my mind a lot recently. Compass on the Bay, the assisted living facility where my 90-year-old father lives, has started working with a brain health specialist from Boston University to identify ways to change its food preparation in order to build in more of the brain-healthy ingredients that may boost memory and cognitive abilities. To help residents and their families better understand this initiative, Compass sponsored a seminar given by Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, adjunct research assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and president of Health Care Insights.

    Dr. Emerson Lombardo spoke to us about her Memory Preservation Nutrition® program which is being implemented at the Compass and elsewhere. Basically, this focuses on adding fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, specific spices, healthy fats, and foods containing omega-three fatty acids to the diet, while reducing refined sugars. She was quick to point out that eating this way can benefit people of any age – whether they are experiencing memory loss or not.

    That got me thinking about the Boomer population. I probably have more concerns about my brain giving out than my body, especially on those days when I feel like I’m getting as forgetful as my Dad—though thankfully, he's still pretty with it. And I have an idea that most of my 78 million fellow Boomers share that concern. Talk about an incredible opportunity, not just for the health and wellness industry, but for food and restaurant businesses as well. I can imagine a line of brain-power-boosting snack foods—statistics show that Boomers are big consumers of snack foods—using rosemary or ginger as flavorings instead of salt. Or a restaurant menu item featuring a leafy green salad with fresh vegetables, nuts, and hummus positioned as a brain energizer.

    Of course, companies do have to be careful about how they talk to Boomers. We’re a generation that’s become skeptical about unrealistic promises and quick-fix plans, and we don’t like to be preached to. Just give us the facts and let us come to our own conclusions.
    And if you’re going to offer a healthy food product, you better make sure it tastes great, too.

    Most statistics showing the rise in Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer indicate these are exacerbated by poor diet and lack of exercise. Thanks to my nutritionist, I’ve tried new dishes that I probably wouldn't have otherwise, and have come to love and even crave some incredibly healthy foods. This is a life-stage shift that other Boomers I’ve talked to are starting to make as well—and one the food and restaurant industry would be wise to address.

    South Shore Senior News

    Laura Willis is Principal, Co-Creative Director and Design Strategist at Gen-Sights, a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - South Shore Senior News

    Age Stage: Understanding the Changing Lifestyles of Boomers & Seniors

    Pets Keep the Empty Nest Full

    As 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 ever cope? After 18 years centered on attending 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 children 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, I get a visual photo album to view on their i-Phone. The conversation begins to center around our dogs, how they're getting on in age and what their favorite outing is. 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 received even a passing glance.

    Today things have never been better for Rover -- or Kitty: according to the American Pet Products Association, the year 2010 will see US pet spending 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 Americans spent just $23 billion on pets in 1998, we've more than doubled the dollars we lavish on our pets. What a huge opportunity for a company marketing pet products to empty nesters, who will insist that nothing is too good for their darling.

    For those of us who are "pet parents", we understand the benefits of having a pet. My 82-year-old mother can't imagine life without her beloved Pug—and for good reason. According to The Humane Society of the United States, "pets can bring new meaning and purpose to the life of a senior who is living far away from friends or family. Having a pet in an elderly person's life can offer them a sense of well being, a sense of encouragement, and even a reason for living." If my mother ever had to go to an assisted living center, it had better allow pets, because otherwise she won't be going.

    As I think about the day when my youngest leaves for college, too, I can just be grateful that my two furry kids will never leave their pampered nest. While we wait for those future grandkids, we'll have our dogs to spoil and spend on. My nest will always be full.

    About the Author:
    Thomas Gorski is Principal and Chief Marketing Strategist at Gen-Sights, a collaborative marketing communications venture that helps companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - Gen-Sights

    Gen-Sights teaches The South Shore Ad Club how to make Boomer Magic

    Are Boomers the key to a booming business?

    Are marketers overlooking a potentially valuable target audience? Tom Gorski, Lynn Schweikart and Laura Willis think so. The three founders of Gen-Sights presented their case at the January 27th meeting of The South Shore Ad Club. In a presentation entitled "Baby Boomers - From Myth to Magic", they explored the 10 biggest Boomer myths, explained key core truths and laid the ground work for some branding magic that can help businesses design products, develop strategies and create communications that resonate with Boomers.

    The Baby Boomer generation ranges in age from 47 to 64, and includes more than 77 million Americans. While Boomers represent 28 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 77% of all financial assets, with an estimated $2.2 trillion in spending power. Yet too many marketers fall prey to the myths that keep them from connecting with this valuable audience. "We just want to help companies get their piece of the pie", stated Lynn Schweikart, co-creative director and Chief Story Teller.

    One myth that the audience found particularly intriguing portrays Boomers as married, empty nesters. In fact, only about 1 in 4 Boomers fit the profile of married with adult children who have left home. 37% still have children under 18 in the home - and 1/3 are single. Of interest is the role that Boomers are playing in caring for their parents. "Boomers are the first generation that could be taking care of their parents longer than they did their children," Laura Willis, Gen-Sights co-creative director and Chief Designer said. "We're finding that Boomers are frequently the real decision makers for products and services targeted to their parents. That has real implications for companies that market to seniors. "

    What inspired the three to focus on Boomers? "The three of us are Boomers with varied backgrounds and from different segments of our generation," said Tom Gorski,Principal/Marketing Strategist. "We've been working together off and on for many years, developing branding for national and local companies and were amazed by how many businesses wouldn't even consider a target audience over the age of 49, despite its size and spending power. So after almost a year of research combined with our own insights, we've launched Gen-Sights." Gen-Sights is a collaborative marketing communications venture focused on helping companies position themselves for success in the Boomer market by creating, re-tooling, or enhancing their brand. The team is planning to do additional seminars in the near future, to continue generate awareness around this lucrative audience. For more information e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)