Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Boomer TV

Nancy Fernandez Mills and her husband Mark run Boomers! TV, which promotes their TV series on Boomers over 50 and includes their blog.

Nancy recently read Boomer Consumer and offered a thought or two on her blog. You can read it here.

Booming Business around the Globe

Some time back we pointed the readers of our Boomer Project free newsletter, Jumpin' Jack Flash, to the Trendwatching Web site and newsletter.

Trendwatching searches the globe for the latest trends and reports on what they find bi-weekly, monthly and in an annual report.

This week they share a mini-report on Booming Business around the globe.

It's a good summary of what is happening right now on the Boomer front.

(We'll give them a pass for not contacting us directly for some insights, only because several of our subscribers are listed as contributors to the report. So we know we were a source nonetheless -- especially since we wrote about several of their recent "finds" over the months and years.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Article about the Book

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Complete with photo.

He Likes Us, He Really Likes Us

Brent Green, author of Marketing to Leading Edge Boomers, has posted a review of our book at Amazon.com. He offers this opinion:

"The result of [Matt and John's] original research and multidisciplinary synthesis of outstanding authors and academicians is a book called Boomer Consumer. It is simply a concise, clear, and coherent compendium of on-target information and insights about a rapidly growing field of inquiry and practice. If you're interested in jumping on this bandwagon, then you need to add this book to your reading list. Matt and John are two Pied Pipers worth following."

Can't beat that with a stick, huh?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


As a result of our strategic partnership with BIGresearch, we have released some news today about the importance of today's Boomer Consumer, along with the official press release of the book.

The headline:

Surveys Show Boomers Drive U.S. Consumer Confidence, Remain Nation's Wealthiest Consumer Group

New Book Also Released by Founders of the Boomer Project: Retailers Remain Focused on Younger Age Groups, Despite Boomer Wealth, Spending and Attitudes

You can read all about it here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Turns Out it Isn't Funny At All

The news we reported on the other day about Older Consumers not processing jokes the same way as younger consumers has made the Boomer blogosphere light up.

First, we got an email from friend and author, Marti Barletta, pointing us to a quite negative headline treatment of the story from the other side of the pond. Given how difficult it is for British humor to translate into America (remember Benny Hill?), we don't think they really should be that mean to apparently humorless older people.

Then, David Wolfe, of Ageless Marketing, posted his rebuttal to the "scientific study" and declared it bogus. We're going to check with David on things like this in the future, before we post an observation ourselves.

The real point from all of this, in our thinking, is that it is important marketers understand that to one degree or another older consumers process humor differently. Just like they process virtually everything else differently.

That's not a bad thing; it is just a different thing.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Understanding Today's Boomer Consumer isn't Easy

In our seminars and workshops we explain how a Boomer in their 50s is in a different state of mind than when they were in their 40s.

This post about turning age 50 pretty much nails it.

Life at 50

Especially the last line.

More on Boomers and Hearing

This time from The New York Times, in "The Day the Music Died," published today.

Reporter Stephanie Rosenbloom does an effective job of summarizing the issues facing older Boomers who got a little too close to the amplifier at that Bachman Turner Overdrive concert in 1975.

She also reports on Phonak's "personal communications assistant" product, which we covered in this post.

Coincidentally, we got a call from a reporter in Las Vegas doing a piece on marketing "traditional" products for older consumers to Boomers. He was amused by Metamucil's new TV spot that somehow manages not to mention that the primary use is for regularity problems. Instead, the spot is all about "beautifying your insides" and features talent age 35 and under.

The reporter wanted to know if all marketers targeting older Boomers would have to "disguise" their traditional benefit in order to connect with Boomers. Our response in a word: "probably."

And you wonder why we started the Boomer Project and wrote the book? Clearly the rules have changed.

Making the Case for Older Workers

Momentum slowly continues to build on the issue of retaining older workers in today's aging workforce. Manpower, a global leader in helping companies recruit and retain workers, conducted a worldwide survey and discovered that few companies are preparing for the changes taking place as the age wave, well, ages.

You can download the particilars at their special Web site, agingworkforce.us.

In the United States, for example, they report that 78% of companies are not concerned about retaining older workers, yet 41% say they have difficulties already filling open positions.

What's going to happen when Boomers start leaving and there are not enough experienced Gen Xers to replace them?

We're just happy that people are starting to realize the answer is to keep the Boomers on the job longer, which means flexible hours and other changes. Should be interesting to see who makes this list of "Best Employers for Workers Over 50" in the future.

Targeting PrimeTime Women

A friend of the Boomer Project, Marti Barletta, author of PrimeTime Women, penned a nice opinion piece in Advertising Age this week.

Marti makes a strong case that PrimeTime women are much more valuable consumers for marketers than younger women, yet they are frequently, if not completely, ignored.

We feature an article by Marti in every issue of BoomerMarketingNews, our paid newsletter. Just another reason to subscribe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

70 is the New 50 and Other Myths

BusinessWeek online includes an interview with William Byham, author of a new book about Boomers in retirement called 70: The New 50.

It's a clever title and he makes good points about older Boomers in the workplace.

But the title doesn't quite reflect today's Boomer Consumer, who is making age 50 and age 60 new. As Gail Sheehy, author of Sex and the Seasoned Woman, and Passages, puts it: "60 isn't the new 40, or 70 isn't the new 50. We're making 60 a new 60 and we'll make 70 a new 70."

Boomers are not stopping time, or going back in time, they're simply extending middle age until they are in our mid-80s or so.

Marketers will make mistakes if they think a 60-year-old Boomer wants to be 40 again. They want to be 60, but 60 their way -- healthier, wealthier and still working and consuming.

That's Not Funny. Seriously, it Isn't. Or Is It?

Researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis have discovered that older consumers don't do such a good job of processing jokes, as reported here.

We talk in our book about how older consumers have a difficult time processing negative images and concepts -- literally ignoring them. It seems this study finds similar evidence that older consumers aren't processing humor and jokes in the same way younger adults do.

We've also said that marketers have to be careful about using humor when targeting older Boomer consumers. They still like a good laugh, but prefer humor that is more self-deprecating and gentle, versus humor that relies on belittling someone or something, or is in your face.

But this study suggests it is time to get serious if you want older consumers to understand your message. No wonder we never quite got the humor in MTV's Punk'd. Having admitted that, we should also tell you that we are excited about ABC's new summer show called "Just for Laughs" which is a modern day version of Candid Camera.

Now, that's going to be funny.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Power of Prescriptions

Walgreen's recently announced their quarterly earnings and reported that prescription sales lifted their profits 20%.

We wrote about the resiliency the major drug store chains have had in defending their turf against Wal-Mart in last month's BoomerMarketingNews, our paid newsletter.

In that piece we shared findings from the BIGresearch Consumer Intentions & Actions study from April 2007, that showed how traditional national chains were preferred for prescription drugs three to one over Wal-Mart.

Our point is that Boomers (and other consumers) will pay for "trusted advice." We expect to see more of it in other retail categories as a way to beat back Wal-Mart (witness Best Buy's dedicated appliance expert on duty in every store and even online).

This is a trend to watch, especially with Boomers growing older -- as Walgreen's CEO noted: "The growth opportunity we have ahead of is exciting," said Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey A. Rein. "With the first of 78 million Baby Boomers turning 65 in 2011, the demand for pharmacy services will get bigger and bigger," he predicted.

Yet another trend to watch.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

TV Networks and Median Age

Last week, Magna Global released their annual study of the median ages of TV shows and networks. Here is the USA Today article about it.

(For those who don't watch "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader," median age is the age in which half the audience is older and half is younger. It's the midpoint.)

The Washington Post and other publications made big news about how "old" TV networks and shows have become, with the median age hitting 40 and higher (CBS, NBC and ABC have median ages at 50 and higher). Even "Saturday Night Live" now has a median age of 45. Fox's big hit "24" should be called "48," since that is the median age of their viewers.

Since the networks still talk about the "coveted" 18-49 demographic, these figures suggest TV networks are out of line with ... well, themselves. Their viewers are mostly over the age of 49, but they don't seem to develop programming for them, or try to sell advertisers on them.

We don't think the sky is falling when it comes to TV viewership when you consider that the median age in America for those over the age of 18 is actually 44 years old. (The median age for the entire population, from age 0 to 110 is 36.) But among those over 18, which is the universe of interest to TV networks, the median age is 44. So programs and networks with slightly older median ages doesn't feel so out of line to us.

Here's a chart the Washington Post published showing Prime Time shows and respective median ages. Remember, 44 is the national number.

We offer this as a public service to help those marketers and TV networks better understand the world of TV viewership is changing, but not so fast as to suggest only "old" people watch TV. Unless they consider Boomers "old."

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.