29 February 2008

February: Unused Ether

I spend a chunk of time each weekday with news aggregators, email alerts, search engines, etc. - gathering information for my client work and this blog. A new folder is created once a month just for these virtual meanderings.

I'm a crazed, sloppy, obsessive bookmarker. Most of the links don't end up in posts. When the month is over the folder is pushed aside and a new one is created.

So in the waning hours of each artificial lunation (and if I remember) I'll be tossing up leftover miscellany as a post. The links may have to do with Baby Boomers and advertising/marketing, or only about Baby Boomers, or only about advertising/marketing. Or, who knows. They'll be whatever I've carelessly or determinedly snatched and tucked away - and nearing their expiration date.

I just hate to see perfectly good ether go to waste....

The residue from February, 2008:

Is Facebook the new Hula Hoop?

Craze Creator Dies

Model Age: New Faces for the Baby Boomers

Strokes of genius: Many retirees start Career 2.0 by embracing Web entrepreneurship

Baby boomers attracted to vehicles
that blur the line between cars and SUVs


The British Invasion in Second Life

What Keeps Boomers Tuned In?

January 2008 stats for boomer social networking sites

12 People Who Are Changing Your Retirement

California Court to Hear Google Age Discrimination Case

Ageless activity: 'Senior centers' don't excite newly over 50

French Women Don't Get Fat and Do Get Lucky

The 2010 Meltdown

Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work

The Tiresome Old Sage

27 February 2008

2008 What's Next Boomer Business Summit


The What's Next Boomer Business Summit is coming up in March. I think this'll be number five (but I've lost count). It's no surprise that What's Next is now an annual event at the ASA-NCOA Conference.

I've blogged about it through the years, and attended twice:
What's Next Boomer Business Summit

At My Table at The Summit

Intrepid Reporters Brave Anaheim
This year the speakers include Gail Sheehy, Carol Orsborn, and Paul Kleyman.

I'll miss it this year - but Mary knows I'll miss her even more!

26 February 2008

Boomeropia

There’s a new site targeting Baby Boomers and travel: Boomeropia. Here's a little piece in USA Today about it.

In the original edition of my book, published in 2005 (it’s also in the updated paperback) I spend a few pages imagining the perfect travel web site for Boomers. Boomeropia isn’t it – but it does have a few of the ingredients I’d suggested. It’s definitely a smorgasbord of vacation ideas. That’s good.

The name Boomeropia is abominable. In my book I warn against calling Boomers Boomers and naming anything “Boomer-whatever”. But they’ll find out soon enough. When I see “Boomeropia” I think of those neologism contests, mostly blends. Boomeropia sounds to me like a blend of boomer and myopia - a term boomer-bashers (a neoligism! as is 'baby boomers') might come up with:

Boomeropia: A psychological disorder prevalent in Baby Boomers who have convinced themselves that they are the only generation of any importance. In advanced stages of the disease, patients believe that there is only one generation - Baby Boomers. All other generations are merely cohorts and wannabes. Also known as “The Me Generation”.)

Perhaps they were trying to blend “Boomer” and “Utopia” - but that domain (Boomertopia) was taken. Who knows.

For the record: This blog and my book are B2B, not B2C. I use the term “Baby Boomers” because it’s a common sociological and business/marketing term.

At the moment, Boomeropia is simply a vacation aggregator – a collection of descriptions and links to other sites. Clicking around, I found some interesting ones – including a handful of top-notch suggestions in their excellent section for grandparents/grandchildren (a big market). The handicap section (again, not really the appropriate or smart term to use) is sparse - and if they'd done their research it would've included the top blog in the world on this subject: Rolling Rains. Although Dr. Rains is anything but handicapped. I'd have trouble keeping up with him. (Actually, I don't think I could. He'd leave me out of breath in hotel rooms to recover - as he again headed out the door to do things I'd never do.)

There’s also a meager but pretty good for beginners travel tips section (where they use another word you don’t want to use: Seniors) and a simple bulletin board.

Site Design: Nobody paid any attention at all to colors and color contrasts, wishy-washy type over pictures, fonts and size, etc. – and the headache-inducing effects these have on older eyes. Too bad. However, Boomeropia is clean, a breeze to navigate, and the simple hierarchy is refreshing.

All in all, it's not a bad site to zip through if you're planning a vacation. You'll probably pick up a few ideas and tips.

22 February 2008

New Edition Creeping Into Libraries

I receive emails regularly from college students and professors. Thanks to The Advertising Educational Foundation selecting my book as a Classroom Resource – it has ended up as just that. The original edition (2005) is in hundreds of college and university libraries worldwide. Here’s a partial list.

Now the updated, revised edition is creeping into libraries. At the moment, copies can be found here:

Penn State - University Park, PA
DePaul University - Chicago, IL
Kent State University - Kent, OH
University of Illinois - Chicago, IL
Menlo College - Atherton, CA
Regis University - Denver, CO
Texas A&M University - College Station,TX
Fashion Institute of Tech Library - New York, NY
University of Alberta - Edmonton, Canada
Northern Illinois University - Dekalb, IL
College of Dupage Library - Glen Ellyn, IL
Eastern Illinois University - Charleston, IL
Ferris State University - Big Rapids, MI
Governors State University - University Park, IL
Bellevue Community College - Bellevue, WA
Miami University Libraries - Oxford, OH
Wright State University - Dayton, OH
Morehead State University - Morehead, KY
RIT Library - Rochester, NY
University of N Carolina - Greensboro, NC
Quinnipiac University - Hamden, CT
Broward Community College - Ft Lauderdale, FL
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo, CA
When students or teachers ask me if they should buy my book, I tell them, "Why don't you go to your library and request it. They'll probably order it for you." Most business and educational book authors don’t make a living from royalties – so we’re more interested in people reading our books than simply selling copies. Excuse the convoluted conceit involved here – but admittedly I get a big kick out of the fact that twenty or thirty students are taking turns, pouring over the same copy.

19 February 2008

IMMN and New Members

It's become a mad rush - joining IMMN (The International Mature Marketing Network).

I'll probably get in a ton of trouble for blurting it all out before any official announcements - but here goes:

Carol Orsborn of Fleishman-Hillard (FH BOOM) is now a Board Member. Also joining is Lori Bitter of JWT BOOM.

So … a top PR firm and a top ad agency - and though the names are similar, they're not related. Fleishman-Hillard is with Omnicom, JWT with WPP. (Now they're related.)

New Honorary Board Members: Florian Kohlbacher of The German Institute for Japanese Studies, David Wolfe of Ageless Marketing, Richard Adler of The Institute of The Future.

A welcome to all.

13 February 2008

Love At Any Age

It's a bit off-topic. Let's call it a 'focus group' - that way I can get away with blogging it.

My friend Susan Silver got in some great ones on The Today Show today:

Love At Any Age (If that arrow in the video below doesn't work.)



Here's something about Susan. Why she's not writing sitcoms anymore, why ad agencies aren't banging on her door to create spots targeting women in their fifties, sixties ...

11 February 2008

Me vs. We

Last week I read a piece of marketing advice:
"Baby boomers have always been considered the 'me-generation,' and that doesn't change with age."
It's this type of reckless gibberish that is useless to marketers, and ultimately harmful to their clients. I wrote a chapter about it in my book. Here's a bit of it:
Baby Boomers were stigmatized when we were in and around our twenties, early thirties. Sure, we were ‘me’ back then. Barring tragedies like war and all sorts of catastrophes similarly horrifying, most young adults are me, me, me. Self-obsessed to the nth degree. They have to be. It’s the period for figuring out who you are, making something of yourself, being mostly selfish, mostly self-obsessed. Not such a bad path to take when you’re young and getting your bearings. If you don’t, you might not survive. Some of us went a bit overboard and didn’t survive – but it was a small percentage.

What happened is that there were so many of us in the 1970s when the term ‘me generation’ was coined that it ended up being the zeitgeist of the industrialized world. This image followed us. As we hit our late thirties, forties, fifties, and now some of us banging into our sixties, we were too busy to bother about this silly ‘branding’ of ourselves.

Today, Baby Boomers are two or three times removed from being a “me” generation. What constitutes self-actualization when you are twenty-five is different than when you are fifty-five. In your twenties a person thinks they are the picture. As you get older, you see yourself more and more as a picture that is part of a bigger picture.

Talk to some folks in their twenties, thirties. They are now in that ‘me’ stage. It’s healthy, smart for them to be so. I was just like them thirty years ago, get a big bang out of them, admire their boundless creativity, energy – and self-obsession. These ‘me generation’ twentysomethings today will become a ‘we generation’ in thirty years.
(page 171, Advertising to Baby Boomers)
(c) 2004, 2007 by Paramount Market Publishing

I could go deep into all sorts of profound stuff, like Shakespeare's The Seven Ages of Man and Maslow's Hierarchy, but that would take scores of screen scrolls. So this'll be short ...

Here's a piece I blogged about in 2006:
'Me Generation' becomes 'We Generation' in USA Today:
Will boomers really give something back? They already are. Nationally, boomers (33%) have higher volunteer rates than either seniors (24%) or young adults (24%), reports the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is the most schooled and traveled generation in history. It has much to offer by the giving of its time. The number of American volunteers rose to 65.4 million last year from 59.5 million in 2002. It is projected to reach 70 million by 2010, driven by aging boomers who want to make a difference.
Recently the New York Times weighed in on the subject. Sounds like my book:
Generation Me vs. You Revisited
Yet despite exhibiting some signs of self-obsession, young Americans are not more self-absorbed than earlier generations, according to new research challenging the prevailing wisdom.
And today Mark Miller (a one-day colleague and every day intelligent, nice guy) talks a bit about this stereotyping silliness in his Chicago Sun-Times column:
Boomers give plenty of financial help to kids, parents
Baby boomers often are stereotyped as self-indulgent -- a generation endlessly fascinated with its own needs and interests.
Then there's this:
Selfless baby boomers switch careers
Back to that quote:
"Baby boomers have always been considered the 'me-generation,' and that doesn't change with age."
A quote from Yours Truly:
"When a marketing, advertising, or PR person starts talking about Baby Boomers in sound bites and clich├ęs, he/she is treating you like a baby. Don't listen. Simply put on your iPod, and smile and nod."

08 February 2008

PR Firm Comes Out of Five-Year Coma

Last night I had - ready to go - this long, nasty post about a really silly article in Ad Age. It talks about a 'new' survey with absolutely no new or useful information - along with the most simplistic and addle-brained crunching:

The Misunderstood Generation

But I looked at my blog and saw a handful of negative posts in a row and … well, I didn't want to sound like a sourpuss over and over. So instead I tossed up a playful, innocuous one about a couple of upcoming conferences and a book due out in the
summer.

Then in the morning I visited my pal Dick Stroud's blog - and he'd done it for me:
Edelman - where have you been for the past 5 years?

"We really set out to blow up some myths," said the exec VP-general manager of Edelman's Boomer Insights Generation Group. "The longer that marketers keep treating boomers as a huge mass as opposed to individuals, the longer it's going to take them to enter the market."

Give me strength. This is 101 marketing. I cannot believe this has come as a shock to Edelman and its clients. Have these guys been in a coma for the last 5 years?
Good. Let Dick do the dirty work. My hands are clean. (Unless someone breaks into my computer and finds the draft - which isn't much different from Mr. Stroud's astute invective.)

Ad Age should do a bit of research before printing tired assessments of Baby Boomers and how to advertise to them. They don't have to go very far - just read some recent pieces in their own publication - by their boss, Rance Crain:

Calcified Advertising Agencies

Rance Crain Makes Perfect Sense Yet Again

07 February 2008

The Tale of Two Conferences

I mention a certain European country a lot in this blog. There are all sorts of reasons for this. Go ahead and pick one.

Now I'm mentioning it again because my good friend and colleague Brent Green is headed back there for a marketing conference. I'm jealous.

And I love the monochrome design for the pics on the web site. (Click "Sprekers" when you get there.) Brent is quite the handsome rascal - circa-1900 - don't you think? (If I'd been the designer, he'd be sporting a handlebar moustache.)

As far as international speaking engagements this year for Yours Truly, there's only one I've been invited to so far (but it's early) - Japan in October:
The Silver Market Phenomenon: Business Opportunities and Responsibilities in an Era of Demographic Change

Organizers:

Konrad Osterwalder
United Nations University
Tokyo (UNU) Japan

Chihiro Watanabe
Tokyo Institute of Technology
(TokyoTech) Japan

Cornelius Herstatt
Technical University Hamburg-Harburg
(TUHH) Germany

Florian Kohlbacher
German Institute for Japanese Studies
(DIJ) Japan

Associate Partner:
World Demographic Association (WDA)

01 February 2008

Eons: An Almost Obit

It's always fun being the smartest kid on the block. Almost as much fun is saying that you're the smartest kid on the block - and backing it up with empirical evidence (scroll past the first post).

Well ... I wasn't the smartest kid on the block when it came to handicapping Eons - just one of a slew of smart kids. Many of us marketing to 50+ pundits knew it was god-awful from the beginning. And non-marketing to 50+ sources likewise pooh-poohed it.

Eons is in its death throes. In a desperate move, it's now letting riff-raff in.

Okay, I'm kidding. Some of my best friends are under fifty …

And a bunch of whippernsappers, even with their ageism intact, make some good points (and a few ex-Eons members chime in), although much of what is said I've been saying for years.

Here's irony: Even another social networking site is positioning itself as the 'new' Eons - attempting to steal away the paltry number of people who are on Eons and turn it into an 'alternative' Eons. Nothing like following in the footsteps of failure. Too, too weird.

The sad part of it all for me: If I keep this blog on topic, I won't have Eons to kick around anymore.

Or I'll cheat. Maybe when the ether settles, I'll write a long post or article about the demise of Eons. I have a bunch of juicy, sort-of-insider stories - where I'll change the names to protect the guilty.