Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Repeat After Me -- Baby Boomers Are Not an Affinity Group

Boomertowne.com, a Wisconsin-based web site predicated on the idea that Baby Boomers would flock to a site that allowed them to interact with one another, apparently has died and gone to that big digital cloud in the sky.


The web site is no longer accessible, reports Paul Briand, the Baby Boomer correspondent for Examiner.com, and the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is getting complaints about unpaid gift cards earned by participating in the Web site.

The BoomerTowne development follows the repositioning of Eons.com, a Baby Boomer-centric web site that had chopped its workforce and opened up registration to non-Boomers in order to expand participation.

Here at the Boomer Project, we believe that generational differences are significant, and marketers need to understand them, but we see little evidence that the 78-million cohort functions as a meaningful affinity group. The shared values and attitudes common to Boomers -- the generational optimism, for instance, or finding self identity through work -- typically function at an unconscious level. Those traits, while very real, are not the kind of thing that people would want to gather online and dish about.

We wish the Boomer web sites well. But we think businesses will do better to focus on specific age-related challenges -- retirement finances, health, vitality, spirituality, grandparenting, empty nester lifestyles, etc. -- than try appealing to some vague sense of Boomerdom.

4 comments:

Mark Allen said...

I agree 100%...We are attempting to create a site as you describe at www.onlybabyboomers.com

Jim Bacon said...

Boomer Project received this comment by e-mail:

For the past 5 years I have worked as the Marketing Campaigns & Public Relations Manager for a BabyBoomer publication publication that has been in existence for 31 years and reaches approx. 100,000 readers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This paper targets the 55+ population and has been very successful.

However, we realized that with the ever increasing GLBT community in and around Boston, there should be a newspaper that focuses on the specific needs and interests of the GLBT population. Therefore, we started the Golden Rainbow Times, a free monthly publication targeting the active 55+ GLBT reader. The Golden Rainbow Times is being distributed in the Boston area and surrounding cities, New Hampshire and Maine. The mission of the Golden Rainbow Times is to provide information on referral services, entertainment, recreational and the arts, as well as quality information pertaining to financial and health/wellness issues. We like to say we put the "good" stuff in, content that the reader will enjoy and keep our readers interested from cover to cover.

Robin Wolaner said...

TeeBeeDee has been growing steadily -- Quantcast now measures us as about the same traffic size as Eons -- since focusing our message. We don't talk about boomers, but we do talk about the site as the place where grown-ups meet, and a social network for 40+. Both messages seem to be working, as we are the only boomer-centric network that is growing (20% monthly since April).

Chuck Nyren said...

From my book, published in 2005/2007:

Web pundits are drooling over social networking sites.While this business model is successful and will continue to be, I’m not convinced that people over fifty really care about la-de-da virtual socializing. There has to be a reason to join and hang out other than simply being a Baby Boomer. Sites that center around specific interests like gardening, politics, health, travel, dating, food, art, sports, real estate, education,
grandparenting, volunteering, mentoring, etc. will attract a 50+
base. But few want or need to simply hop online and proclaim,“Hello! I’m Joe and I’m a Baby Boomer!”

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