Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Experts in Marketing to Baby Boomers Convene at Santa Clara University June 16 – 17

Entrepreneurs and investors looking to ride the current over-45 demographic wave will convene next week at Santa Clara University for the 2009 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit & Business Plan Competition. The event is sponsored by Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and strategic business/communications firm Mary Furlong & Associates.

Among the topics on the program for the two-day event: financing a boomer-focused business; top 10 business-plan mistakes; social marketing to boomers, and lessons from entrepreneurs on marketing strategies, and methods to “scale’’ a business.

Top venture investors will share with attendees their financing priorities for the boomer and senior markets, what current research says about the market, and which areas are ripe for innovation and new product development.

For more information about the program, please visit www.scuboomerventure.com.

“We have recruited some of the most experienced experts on the baby boomer market to present during our program and to judge our business plans,” said Mary Furlong, boomer market analyst and event producer. “These people are passionate about business and new ventures that address the 45+ consumer market, and will share their thoughts on successful businesses as well as select the winning plan.”

The event will conclude with business-plan and elevator-pitch presentations, in which finalists will present their business ideas to a panel of judges. Winners receive a $10,000 grand prize or $1,000 for best elevator pitch.

Competition judges include:

  Amy Belt, Advanced Technology Ventures
  Andy Donner, Physic Ventures
  Jeannette de Noord, InnovationPoint
  Ken Dychtwald, Age Wave
  Elizabeth Ford, Santa Clara University
  Onne Ganel, Edwards Lifesciences
  Jody Holtzman, AARP
  Joshua Raffaeli, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  Nancy Kamei, Intel Capital
  Nate McLemore, Microsoft Health Solutions Group
  Shinobu Toyoda, Sega
  Jack Young, Qualcomm Ventures
  Peter Ziebelman, Palo Alto Venture Partners

The finalists in the business-plan competition who submitted plans in the areas of biodesign, medical devices, geriatrics, and gerontology are:

  Aaron Nelson, Audiallo
  Erika Palmer, HemRx Medical
  Jared Garfield, J & J Solutions
  Karen Routt, Magnolia Prime
  Kevin Chao, Miret
  Thanguy Chau, Novophage Therapeutics

Finalists for best elevator pitch are:

  Laura Nuhaan, FamiliLink
  Carrie Shores, Larson Shores Architects Inc.
  Heather Steven, Life at Home Longer
  Chris Clark, The Senior List
  John Smilgin, Traveling4Health

For more information about these the finalists, please visit http://www.scuboomerventure.com/B-Plan%20Competition_index.html


Baby Boomer RV Dreams Keep Industry Optimistic

There are now about 8.2 million RV owners across the nation, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Unlike the stereotype of older couples hitting the road after retirement, the average RV owner is middle-aged and married, traveling a total of 4,500 miles and 26 days annually.

The industry is betting on an expected increase in new buyers entering the market, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

“Baby boomers have had a really large impact on the industry already. They represent the largest group of owners in the industry,” Mark Polk, owner of RV Education 101, an education program that publishes how-to books and videos for newcomers to the RV lifestyle, told CNBC.

RV companies have been anticipating the influx in potential customers for awhile.

“All along, for the last four or five years, we’ve known the baby boomer population is coming. Every month there will be 350,000 potential customers in the baby boomers through 2030,” said Winnebago CEO Bob Olson.  “There is a potential opportunity for our customer base to grow. A portion of them will want to join the RV lifestyle. This bodes well for us in the future.”

posted by Laura Rossman

Barbie Faring Better than Most Baby Boomers

barbieoutsideIn the midst of all the recession news, let’s take a moment to celebrate a baby boomer icon – Barbie.  Unlike many baby boomers, life is looking pretty good for her these days.  Big new house, big 50th birthday bash, a new face, and a trendy new bathing suit. 


In celebration of her birthday she’s moving into a new house – a real Malibu Dream House a 3,5000 square foot home.  The home is a life-size interpretation of Barbie®’s much fabled Dream House® bringing to life all the fantasy and fashion of Barbie® with customized design elements such as skirted, corseted, lace-up “dress” chairs, a chandelier made of Barbie® hair, a closet filled with thousands of pink shoes, a sunburst mirror made from 65 Barbie® dolls, several pieces from the Barbie Loves Jonathan Adler™ home décor collection (launching nationwide in September 2009), and a garage that includes a real Barbie™ Volkswagen New Beetle car (all pink with a motorized, pop up vanity in the trunk).  This is straight from the press release


There will be celebration world wide – the one in Malibu will include 3000 pink roses, 1800 pairs of Barbie sized sunglasses, 3500 pairs of Barbie shoes, 3500 Barbie handbags and so goes the list.


Like many baby boomers, I remember my first Barbie fondly.  Lots of different clothes….but not all the accessories that came later in her life like cars and campers. 


A Barbie doll is sold every 3 seconds somewhere in the world.  Guess she can afford that new house…even in this market.

Baby Boomer and Senior Job Seekers Move Online

blsThe fastest  growing age group visiting career development websites is those aged 65+. As the economy continues to meltdown, more boomers and seniors are seeking to continue or return to work.

 The number of unique visitors 65 and older to career development Web sites grew 41 percent year-over-year, increasing from 2.5 million unique visitors in January 2008 to 3.6 million in January 2009. This was the largest increase year-over-year among people aged 18 and older, according to a recent poll by Nielsen Online.

 “While 65 used to be considered the age when most people retired, we are seeing a trend towards later retirement or partial retirement. Much of this desire to stay employed longer can probably be attributed to the fact that people are living longer and feel the need to keep generating income and sock away more retirement savings, especially in light of the current economic climate and its effect on people’s nest eggs.  There’s an opportunity for publishers and advertisers to appeal to this niche market by providing content that’s relevant to longtime career holders looking for their next position and trying to shore up their retirement savings,” said Chuck Schilling of Nielsen Online


Government statistics support the growth in older workers. Between 1977 and 2007, employment of workers 65 and over increased 101 percent, compared to a much smaller increase of 59 percent for total employment (16 and over). The number of employed men 65 and over rose 75 percent, but employment of women 65 and older increased by nearly twice as much, climbing 147 percent. While the number of employed people age 75 and over is relatively small (0.8 percent of the employed in 2007), this group had the most dramatic gain, increasing 172 percent between 1977 and 2007.






Oldest Baby Boomers and Youngest Differ on Money Issues

How Boomers Differ in Concerns About Money

How Boomers Differ in Concerns About Money

Oldest boomers and the youngest boomers differ in their concerns about retirement
The biggest concerns of younger boomers are outliving retirement money and having to work full or part-time.  among the older boomers, the biggest concerns are affording health care and staying productive and useful.  amazingly, a quarter of the older boomers surveyed by MetLife Mature Market Institute said they have no concerns about retirement.
This is just one of the findings of a new report from the MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMMI) called Boomer Bookends:  Insights into the Oldest and Youngest Boomers.  Sandra Timmermann, Director of the MMMI, will join us at the What’s Next Boomer Summit to talk about boomers and money (www.boomersummit.com).
The report compares the leading edge boomers (born in 1946) with the trailing edge boomers (those born in 1964).  Other differences among the oldest (1946) and youngest (1964) boomers:
The youngest boomers disassociate themselves with the term “boomer” and would rather consider themselves Generation X.
The youngest say they will consider themselves old at 71.  Oldest boomers say old is 78.
As part of this trend survey, some of the respondents from last year’s survey were recontacted.  Seventy-one percent of this small group who planned to retire fully at age 62 did not.  of those, 26% reported the current economic situation as the reason.  One in five said they need more money or income.
Read more about the survey results.

Reaching the Baby Boomer Grandparent Market

Even in a tough economy, grandparents find it hard to turn off buying for their grandchildren. Whether its toys or education funds,   baby boomer grandparents can be a great market.  There are more than 70 million grandparents in the US. They spend $50 billion a year.  The average age of a grandparent is 48 — so you need to understand both the younger and older boomer market.

Marketing Sherpa has a great article with tips on marketing to grandparents.  Jerry Shereshewsky, CEO of grandparents.com, offers some great advice and insight.

Jerry will be joining us on a panel at the What’s Next Boomer Summit on March 19 — he’ll talk about how to market to  boomer grandparents.

What companies should be especially keen on reaching grandparents?  Toys, travel, consumer goods, financial services, automotive, sports, photography.  And while their assets maybe suffering from the recession, their emotional tie,  their relationship with their grandchildren and hope for their future is strong.   A market opportunity worth pursuing…

Read the Marketing Sherpa article (open until Feb. 10) http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=31033

Register for What’s Next Boomer Business Summit and hear from Jerry and other boomer marketing experts. www.boomersummit.com

Baby Boomers Continue to Expand Online Activities

If you still have doubts about whether baby boomers and seniors are online, just take a look at the recent report from the Pew Research Center.  You’ll see that their activities are as wide ranging as the younger generations.  But there is another noteworthy data point, the differences in how younger and older boomers use the web can be very, very different.  If your business is baby boomers, deciding how you use the Internet to reach these two groups is really important.

For example, younger boomers, ages 45-54 are more likely to watch videos online (49%) than older boomers age 55 to 63 (30%).  But when it comes to looking for health information, 81% of older boomers are researching online compared to 74% of younger boomers.                                                    

Here’s what younger and older boomers are doing diffrently online (first number is younger boomers):   

Use social networking (20% , 9%)

Download podcast ( 19%, 12%)                         

 Get job info (43%, 36%)                                     

  Buy a product online  (68%,72%)                    

 Watch videos online  (49%, 30%)                       

Younger and older  baby boomer online users have some similar online behaviors as well:  use a search engine (905,89%); read blogs (27%, 25%); use email (90%);  travel research and purchase (69%,66%); and research a product (82%, 79%).

At the What’s next Boomer Business Summit (www.boomersummit.com)  we’ll be looking at how to use social media to reach boomers, blogging, search strategies and Google adwords to market to baby boomers.  Betsie Gambel, Senior Vice President, Keating Magee  will be presenting research and recommendations on how to reach older boomers.  Bill Leake, Apogee Search, will be talking abou search engine optimization; Sam Decker, chief Marketing Officer, Bazaarvoice will be talking about how ratings and reviews can engage your boomer audience online.   

The Pew Internet research, Generations Online in 2009 is  available at: www.pewinternet.org                                

How do online users breakdown by generation: 

 Generation Y -30%;

Generation X, 23%;

Younger Boomers, 22%,

Older Boomers, 13%, 

Silents -7%,

GI Generation 4%. 


So, the boomers make up a total of 35% of the online users — a market worth pursuing!