29 November 2005

Baby Boomers and Universal Design

Megan Kamerick's article on Bankrate.com, Boomers push interest in Universal Design homes, is worth a read:
"The idea is simple: a home that is accommodating and convenient to all users at all stages of life. Universal Design principles have been around since the 1970s when the phrase was coined by architect Ronald Mace, who became director of the Center for Universal Design at The University of North Carolina."
There's nothing much new there for me - but that's probably because I just finished researching and writing an article about UD for The National Association of Homebuilders' 50+Housing Magazine. It's about how to convince Baby Boomers to consider universal design by positioning UD so it doesn't smack of 'old and infirm.'

I don't know what issue the article will be in - maybe the next one or one due out in the Spring.

22 November 2005

Marketers are Taking Note of Baby Boomers

The press release says, "The University of Maryland continues its series on the Baby Boom Generation." Don't ask me where the rest of the series is or will be.

This interview is a good one:
"The reality of the marketing opportunity presented by the aging of the Baby Boomers is beginning to be recognizedby the advertising industry, at least. I'm beginning to see more ads targeted at Baby Boomers," says Associate Professor of Business Janet Wagner at Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Students email me every so often, asking for info about this and that. Colleges and university business schools seem to be paying attention to Baby Boomers. I know this: after Advertising to Baby Boomers was selected by The Advertising Educational Foundation as a classroom resource, schools started to scoop it up. It's now in the libraries of Duke University, The Harvard Business School, Northwestern University, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, University of Washington, and lots of others.

Hmm. Professor Chuck. I like the sound of that.....

(Back after Thanksgiving.)

21 November 2005

New Site: The Fifty Plus Market News

Frederic Serriere has expanded his influential Senior Strategic Network franchise to include a site for the U.S.: The 50 Plus Market News. Bookmark it.

I'm honored to have written a piece for the premiere issue:

Don't Paint Too Rosy A Picture

"If the myth of the non-dying, perfectly healthy Baby Boomer persists, folks in the aging industry are going to have millions of very angry octogenarians their hands."

Check out the The Mature Market International Edition - and all the other ones for the UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Spain, and Germany.

15 November 2005

Mature Market Miscellany

Even ethereal pundits get tired of their own prattle (at least this one does). I'll take a breather this week, and point you to a variety of other folks (and one big organization) having their say:

Across the pond, David Yelland of Webber Shandwick talks to Joe Lepper of Brand Republic: Over-50s need to be better targeted says baby boomers report.

No big surprise: AARP Wants You (to Buy Its Line of Products).

Brent Green tells you What Baby Boomers want for the Holidays.

Matt Thornhill has sent out another first-rate Boomer Project Newsletter for November.

And thanks to Brian Reilly of GeezerJock Magazine for his comment about my book.

I'll be back chattering away next week.

14 November 2005

My Favorite Cyber-Myth

How I snicker and roll my eyes whenever I read about Baby Boomers fumbling around on computers, scratching their heads, totally flummoxed. Sure, there is a percentage of any age group that's technologically challenged - but Boomers as a whole have embraced the internet and aren't afraid to plunge into the ether brain first.

Remember that commercial for an online travel company where a twenty-something woman is searching for a vacation and hotel for her bumbling parents? Implied: moron mom and moron dad couldn't do it themselves.

Read this article by Jeffrey Grau in iMedia Connection:
Forrester Research also found that very few online travelers start searches using the new breed of travel search engines — most likely because they are not aware of their existence … Hitwise found that visitors to the top travel search engines were by far likely to be over 55 years of age. Hitwise attributed this to baby boomers …
Madison Avenue doesn't think that anybody over forty-five can even turn on a computer. And when some youngster flips it on for them, all they probably do is stare at the virtual desktop until they nod off.

10 November 2005

A Generous Review

I stumbled over a review of my book at GenerationTarget.com. Had no idea it was there, have never heard of the company:
GenerationTarget.com is where people can turn for the most sophisticated and current marketing information regarding our multi-generational marketplace. Thanks to the miraculous breakthroughs of extended longevity during the previous century, America now has six living generations. Each generation is like a separate culture with values and drivers exclusive to their own cohort. Just as one radio station could never resonate with all six generations, neither will business be able to capture all six segments using one approach.
But I have heard of Dr. Bruce Clark and Mark Goldstein. They co-founded Age Wave in 1986.

There are scores of short, valuable articles on the site. I've only had time to read three or four - but I'll head on back there every so often and eventually devour the rest of them.

Thanks for the review, Bruce and Mark.

Previous post: Newsweek's The Boomer Files

07 November 2005

Baby Boomers, Adult Communities, and Education

I did a conference call consult recently with a couple of on-the-ball entrepreneurs. The product/service targets Baby Boomers and their interest in continuing education.

Afterwards I sent them hither and yon. One destination was Campus Continuum:
Campus Continuum focuses solely on developing, marketing, and operating university-branded 55+ Active Adult Communities that are tightly integrated with their academic hosts.
If you are creating advertising collateral for any sort of adult community, and the housing is near a university or college, turn this into a selling point.

And/or check out what's required to be a part of Campus Continuum:
Campus Continuum also works with developers that seek assistance from our experienced team to help them bring their college-affiliated projects to successful fruition. We welcome partnership arrangements.

Newsweek: The Boomer Files

The Newsweek cover story this week is about leading-edge Baby Boomers hitting sixty. It's good - although I could've done without the stupid quiz.

The Albert Brooks piece had me gagging up my coffee, I was laughing so hard. It's a tongue-in-cheek rant about the ad industry — reminds me of a major theme in my book (hire new and used Baby Boomer creatives because the you-know-whos are screwing it up), along with trenchant comments in Brent Green's book (the dumb use of music):
Recently I have been embarrassed to be part of this generation. The reason? Madison Avenue. Madison Avenue is never wrong. They're the neighbor across the street that sees you in the way you don't see yourself. They're young, they're cocky, and what they say about the older generation becomes the truth. People still think there was a real Mr. Whipple, so I know whatever Madison Avenue says about us is what everyone's going to believe anyway.
A few days ago I wrote one of my wacky little pieces because an editor for a magazine targeting the aging industry wanted something from me. But he rejected it. Funny thing is, in my article I answered the main question in the cover story, and in Newsweek's Podcast (at least through the prism of marketing/advertising).

Nice to be two days prescient...

04 November 2005

Forbes Magazine Weighs in on Baby Boomers

How To Play: The Upcoming Boomer Boom by Tom Van Riper has some juicy quotes from Brent Green and others - along with perceptive (but not surprising) statements such as:
Despite conventional wisdom, which keeps many major advertisers focused on younger consumers, the boomer generation is not set in its ways when it comes to product choices, according to studies by MarketResearch.com. In fact, their studies show boomers are more receptive to advertising than their Gen X and Gen Y counterparts, who tend to reject marketing claims out of hand.
Old news for a lot of us - but I'm glad the Big Boys are catching on.

02 November 2005

Love Those Boomers....

People have asked me why I've kept mum about the Love Those Boomers cover story in Business Week. The answer is this: I'm not telling you why.

But I will point you to a few blogs that are discussing it:

David Wolfe's Ageless Marketing

Brent Green's Boomers Blog

Jacobs Media

Dick Stroud's 50-Plus Blog

And three or four pages of comments about the article on the Business Week web site