Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eons Blows Off Doors, Boomers

Eons, the first social networking site for Boomers -- make that people age 50 and older -- announced today they are removing the "age gate" and anyone can become a member (that is, if you are 13 or older, according to their new Terms of Use).

Read this explanation from Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO.

Then read some of the 292 (at last count) comments from very unhappy Boomers.

Mark your calendar. Today is the end of whatever Eons had become, and the first day of the future for all the other Boomer-oriented social networking sites.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recent Viva the Vital Columns about Boomers

We promised we would post the Op/Ed columns we write called Viva the Vital after they first appear in print.

Here are the most recent ones:

We'll post these every two weeks. If you know of a print vehicle interested in syndicating the column, let us know.

Retire? Forget About It.

Ah, the problems with reporting on a generation that numbers more than the population of Canada, Chile and Cuba combined.

First, there's a five-part series on retiring Boomers this week in USATODAY.

Then, there's Robert Powell's piece at MarketWatch advising Boomers to plan on two or three careers, putting retirement off for decades.

And now there's a new initiative by the Federal Government and IBM to recruit retired Boomers into the federal workforce (to solve the problem of retiring Boomers).

This back-and-forth reporting isn't wrong -- it just isn't quite right either.

The point for any organization interested in understanding today's Boomer Consumer is that it isn't one group, with one mind-set and one plan. Boomers are many different groups and segments, with millions of mind-sets and about a trillion plans.

Focus on your customers/clients/consumers who are Boomers and understand what is important to them. Don't paint them all with the same brush.

Such a monochrome view will doom you.

USATODAY and Boomers

You may have seen part of this week's five part series on Boomers at age 62 in USATODAY.

Overall, it contains lots of useful information and insights about Boomers and money at this phase of life. Most of the helpful hints about preparing for retirement are way too late for someone at age 62, but if younger Boomers take heed, that would be a good thing.

As members of the second half of the Boomer cohort (both of us born in 1959), we were especially interested in Wednesday's cover piece on how the leading edge Boomer got all the breaks in terms of timing. Check out the chart on the left.

A while back we covered it in our paid newsletter in an article about The Ass Ceiling.

The USATODAY article has generated comments in the blogosphere, understandably. What are yours?

Boomers and Technology

Great post at Yahoo! Tech about the products and technologies promoted at the recent Consumer Electronics Show as "boomer-worthy."

Robin Raskin, the Boomer blogger, points out that most of the products marketed to Boomers are products to help with some sort of impairment -- vision, hearing, smarts. While leading edge Boomers are now in their 60's and showing some wear and tear, most Boomers are still younger than age 52, and years away from a Clapper.

What's really interesting is the second comment about her posting, which says:

Because boomers don't purchase technology, they don't get technology geared towards them. The boomers suffer from the "we don't know how to use this." problem. As if operating a consumer electronic device is the equilivant of running a 747. Technology companies and actual consumers tuned these complaints out and we are moving towards sleek, fun, cool devices that are as much about function and they are about asthetitics. Get Lasik and/or reading contacts heaven knows most of you boomers can afford it.
How about that? Wonder how old that poster is?

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.