Let’s Get Reacquainted, Mr. Boomer

July 30, 2012

By Gina Pagliaro

Our team collaborated with AdAge last month to discuss methods for understanding the male baby boomer (Dudes to Dads: U.S. Men’s Attitudes Toward Life, Family, Work, available for $249.00 from Ad Age Insights). And, although we approach mature markets from a behavioral perspective – monitoring the seasons of human life – we had to face a realization. Boomer males fly under the marketing research radar unlike the well-explored and developed persona of the female boomer. Newsflash, our male protagonist no longer maintains the outlook of the heavy-handed, breadwinner from the 1950s.

Who is the boomer male today?

Who is the boomer male today? Pictured: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men. (Image © American Movie Classics Company LLC)

This clearly isn’t a novel statement. We all know that women and men are taking on different societal roles. But as marketers, are we really considering these evolving characteristics, due to the changing zeitgeist, in our communications efforts? Read the rest of this entry »


The Lost Art of Boredom

May 16, 2011

By Lisa S. Burroughs

I’m so bored!

We have all said that a lot as children, right before our parents shooed us outside to play or threatened us with housework to alleviate our condition.

When was the last time you were bored? I can say quite confidently that I have not been bored in years. Is this a good thing? With all the options for constant stimulation available to us, boredom has become an extinct creature that didn’t have a reason to exist in the first place, like that bird that couldn’t fly. Good riddance.

Digital activities like texting, checking your social networks, refreshing your RSS feed, reading email, playing games, and checking in at your current location have the power to fill every second of your day, including those seemingly wasted seconds between other tasks. I’m not going to give you hard statistics on how much time we spend online via our desktops, laptops or mobile devices because we all know it is way too much and it culminates to an overwhelming cacophony of noise and information known as digital overload (DO). Read the rest of this entry »


Have we reached a new tipping point?

March 28, 2011

By Kathi Scharf

Last Monday my 65-year old mother called and calmly told me that she and my father were suing me for breaking up their marriage.

Dumbfounded, I cautiously asked “Why?”, at which point she told me that they had stayed up all night playing with the new iPads we had given them that weekend for their birthdays.

Laughing, she went on to share all the apps she’d installed, like CNN, QVC, Angry Birds, and four different poker apps, just to mention a few. This, from a woman who has a brand new laptop but still struggles to regularly find her Gmail account! Read the rest of this entry »


A note from David on the tragedy in Japan and our own “tsunami”

March 15, 2011

By David Weigelt

It’s 2 am and I can’t sleep. Upon leaving work yesterday, Immersion Active’s social media guru, Ross Hollebon, suggested that I might want to address the inconvenient truth about the name of our weekly ebrief, Silver Tsunami, in light of the tragedy still unfolding in Japan.

But that’s not what has me awake.  I’m up because my phone has been vibrating throughout the night with updates and information from various colleagues from around the globe. Each time, I’m hopeful that I’ll see an update from Immersion Active’s friends, Hiro Murata and Florian Kohlbacher, in Japan, but, as of this posting, nothing yet.

So let me take this opportunity to explain the name of our newsletter.  Read the rest of this entry »


Marketing to Older Adults: More Than a Cheap Laugh and a Fast Buck

November 4, 2009

by David Weigelt

“Switzerland Named Most Competitive Economy, Topping U.S.” This was a headline on the front page of the Wall Street Journal International Edition a few weeks ago. Having recently spent a week in Switzerland, this didn’t surprise me, even in a time when the rest of the world is wrestling with the economy. They have their challenges, but there is an obvious difference in consumer confidence among the Swiss. And why not, with a 4% unemployment rate, a relatively low tax rate and, dare I say it, health care for everyone (without a government option)? They have a lot to be confident about.

It should have come as no surprise that Switzerland, St. Gallen University to be specific, hosted the World Aging and Demographic Forum I attended. This event addressed “important topics related to demographic change and its effect on the labor market and social security, on health issues, on the development of new products and markets, and on changing lifestyles in society.”

It was an enlightening mix of thinkers and doers. There were members of parliament from Canada, Lords from the U.K., ministers of health from Africa, and the United States’ leading economist on demography, David Bloom. As a marketer, I was both humbled and inspired to be among such a group.

I attended sessions with topics such as work and welfare, health, and innovation and markets. As the conference progressed, it became clear to me that I, as “just” a marketer, played a critical role in the mission of this group. Without intelligent and consumer-specific communications strategies, these academics, policy makers, and executives would never realize success.

When the time came for us marketers to speak, I was in the good company of 50-plus marketing icons like Dick Stroud, from 20 plus 30 Consulting, Kevin Lavery, from Millennium, and Florian Kohlbacher, from the German Institute on Japanese. To a packed room, we shared stats on why the mature markets were important and the effect the economy was having on them. But these people didn’t need to know why; they wanted to know how.

  • How do we segment the most diverse set of older adults in history?
  • How do we connect with them via the Internet and social media?
  • How do we cost effectively reach them in large numbers?

As we answered their questions, something dawned on me. As someone who looks to market to boomers and seniors for non-altruistic reasons, I had better help these people meet their goal of advancing the state aging if I ever expect you – the marketer of a product or service that could benefit from the increasing needs and wealth of the mature markets – to do the same.

You see, a culture of ageism still dominates most societies (certainly in the United States, even in places you wouldn’t expect, like Japan). But the zeitgeist is changing. For the first time in history, adults over the age of 40 are the consumer majority. What countries like Singapore, Sweden, and Denmark, (ranked among the top five for Global Competitiveness and also countries with an aging population) know is that (to steal the words of Auguste Comte, the founder of sociology) “demography is destiny.”

We have a responsibility as marketers. As targeting boomers and seniors becomes increasing popular, it is imperative that we don’t screw it up. There are all kinds of stereotypes that surround the elderly. Frankly, some of them are funny (and I’ll be the first to acknowledge the value of being able to laugh at ourselves). However, adults in the second half of life are more than a cheap laugh or a fast buck. There are many layers of wealth (beyond financial) that our country’s mature population possesses – something we need to keep this in mind as we increasingly focus our marketing dollars on them.


2009 Generations Online Report

March 27, 2009

by David Weigelt

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released the 2009 version of its Generations Online report. As we suggest in our book Dot Boom, older generations are generally following suit with younger adults. Pew states, “Much as we watch demographic and age groups move up in degrees of access on our thermometers, we can probably expect to see these bars become more level as time goes on.”

A few takeaways include:

  • 70-75 year olds make up fastest growing segment of online users
  • Email most popular online activity for adults 64+ while email usage is waning for younger adults

Read the rest of this entry »


Keeping that Mind Sharp: Video Games vs. Everyday Activities

May 31, 2007

While there’s a ton of hype around electronic games, like Nintendo’s Brain Age, for boomers and seniors to keep their minds sharp, some scientists say that engaging in a range of social, mental and physical activities can do the trick. Staying socially active, engaging in frequent intellectual activities, and exercising will all contribute to better cognitive fitness. Read the whole Buffalo News article.

Some types of suggested activities are volunteering, working on crossword puzzles, recalling books or movies for friends, and taking a walk. One researcher advises to “travel, go to the theater, go to museums, take a dance class” to increase cognitive function and delay dementia. That sounds much better than sitting around and playing a video game.


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