Monday, March 10, 2008

Just Over 50 and Not Dead Yet

This panel talked about our aging population and how marketers need to adapt and understand this target if we are to talk to them.

Clearly, we are aging in the U.S. The baby boomers are hitting retirement age and they saying is that they are finding their “mid-life on line.”

The 50+ population are using the internet in three major ways:
1. As Portals ( is one of the preferred. It caters to this group with info on retirement and travel)
2. As a Social network
3. As Blogs (300 boomer blogs)

There are many bolgs that cater to this generation: Ageless project to find blogs, Life Two (portal), Savvy boomer (tech advise), Gen Between, Man-0-pause, Engaging the disquiet, Minding our elders, Mothering Mother and more, Guitar boomer, 45 year old six pack, sports geezer, It’s never to late for love, Fabulous after 40… just to name a few.

Some are personal blogs where this segment of the population talks about their experiences: Mid life mommy, Middle age martial artist, My gay nerve, My year turning 50, Self absorbed boomer, The boomer chronicles… just to name a few

Using the Internet as a social network: is a great example of this type of network. It is a place where these individuals do not have to reveal who they really are and are free to interact with each other. It allows the opportunity for key content that is relevant to them. They can express their creativity. They can create and browse profiles. Share interests and experiences. Meet other people. They are connecting via their passions in life. Talking to people that share their same interests. Eventually there might meet in person, but that is not the number one objective. They are seeking an authentic experience via the Internet. This 50+ group is a savvy consumer. They have been “talked to” for many years so they want their info in a very straight forward and honest way. They want their content delivered in a fun, easy, safe, simple and valuable way.

The segmenting of this group is highly overrated. No single net can be thrown over this group to catch them all. There is a wide variance of interests. We can not think of one monolithic group just because of their age. They are very diverse in their way of thinking and in their life experiences. They are individuals. Targeting 25 to 54 year old makes no sense. We can not think of them as a age group.

One interesting psychographic analysis of this group is that they are referred to as “Sandwiches.” All that means is that they are taking care of their parents while they are also taking care of their kids. Their number one concern in life has become their finances. The other concern for this group is—and has always been—their health. Interesting enough, focusing on being healthier has lead to more sports injuries.

There are an estimated 60 million on line (8 out of 10 on line). Not surprisingly, one of the highest searched words on the web are Rheumatoid Arthritis. This group has always been antiestablishment, always trying to “bash” something or other and now they are trying to “reverse” aging. They are trying to figure out how they can “fix” themselves and the Internet has become their number one resource.

This age group is becoming more and more savvy when it comes to technology. For many years they have depended on their kids to help them “hook” up, but as these kids go off to college the aging parent now have to figure out how to do it on their own. One result of this is that they have created these communities online to help each other out. is a great example of an organization that is reinventing themselves to be more relevant to this aging population. It has a much more “rejuvenated” look and feel and has content that this group is looking for. Many will watch health related videos and click on healthcare ads.

Texas Oncology is an organization that created a viral campaign that allowed loved ones to send a Valentine’s card inviting them to get a breast and prostate cancer screening.
“SEND HER A HEALTHY VALENTINE: This Valentine's Day, why not give your special someone a gift that will last – good health. Texas Oncology makes it easy to show your love, with free built-for-two e-postcards that can be personalized to remind the man or woman in your life that a simple screening once a year is an easy and essential way to stay healthy.”
This turned out to be a very successful viral campaign.

Boomer Music
They’ve discovered that 50+ still keep in pace with their kid’s music. Better yet, this older demographic actually has the $300+ it cost to go to concerts now. So now, parents are sharing these moments with their kids. This group still wants to be “current” without working too hard at it. is a site that delivers music to them without requiring too much work.

We now live in a Attention Economy. Distribution is no longer the issue. How do I get through all this stuff to find what I need, is the big question.