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 Boomers in Europe use Social Media

We know baby boomers in the US are increasing using social media –FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, to name a few.  And the same trend is going on in Europe according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Forrester’s Blog says, “For example, more than one-third of European online consumers ages 43 to 63 already read social media such as blogs and forums on a regular basis, and around one-tenth are already uploading their own content — such as videos and music — onto the Web. Overall, 47% of Younger Boomers (online adults ages 43 to 52) now engage with social media on a regular basis, and 41% of Older Boomers (those ages 53 to 63) do. Boomers in the different European countries exhibit different behaviors, just as their younger compatriots do – for example, 69% of Dutch 43- to 52-year-olds (and 60% of 53- 63-year-olds) use social media on a regular basis, whilst only around a third of German Boomers do. ”  More stats on the Forrester  interactive marekting blog.

More evidence that social media is a tool that boomer and senior marketers should pay attention to.

Younger Boomers Helping Drive Twitter Growth

twitter-chart1Have we finally broken the cylce of early technology adoption always begins with the younger generation? The latest Comscore numbers show strong use of Twitter by younger boomers.

twitter-chart2

 

It is the 25-54 year old crowd that is actually driving the growth trend. More specifically, 45-54 year olds are 36 percent more likely than average to visit Twitter, making them the highest indexing age group,.  They are followed by 25-34 year olds, who are 30 percent more likely. 

And even the leading edge boomers seem to be more attracted to twitter than the younger crowd. 

Worldwide visitors to Twitter approached 10 million in February, up an impressive 700+% vs. year ago. The past two months alone have seen worldwide visitors climb more than 5 million visitors. U.S. traffic growth has been just as dramatic, with Twitter reaching 4 million visitors in February, up more than 1,000% from a year ago, according to ComScore.

It’s another reason for companies targeting boomers to take a look at adding Twitter to their marketing mix.

posted by Laura Rossman

Will new Depend ads appeal to boomers?

At a time when we keep hearing about marketing cutbacks, the announcement of a big  new ad campaign from Kimberly-Clark for their Depend brand is remarkable.   The campaign launches today and runs through December across a variety of media – TV, Internet, direct response, print and point-of-purchase.

 

The new ads are basic and focus on differences between men and women.  They feature a man and a woman standing in front of a white backdrop and talking about something that has nothing to do with incontinence. One features a discussion of whether men or women are better drivers.  The campaign is the launch of gender-specific Depend.

 

“One of the key elements of the new campaign is a certain level of authenticity — showcasing real people, since this is such a real issue for so many people. It’s not an aspirational category; nobody wants to have to use [Depend], but the fact is that 27 million people will be dealing with this, so part of the role of Depend is to provide normalization of the category, and part of the goal of the campaign is to humanize it — not only demonstrate that Depend understands the difference between men and women,” Blake Boulden, Depend brand manager told MediaPost.

 

Kimberly-Clark introduced the gender specific underwear in December noting that caregivers are an important target market. “Our consumer research has found that users and caregivers can be uncomfortable shopping for adult incontinence products,” said Mark Cammarota, Depend Brand Director. “Quickly finding the right product remains a vital step in living with incontinence, and with a variety of options on store shelves, our new packaging designs will offer a simpler selection experience at stores.”

 

The website provides consumers with information, coupons and ask the expert information. www.depend.com

 

It’s a sharp contrast to much of the advertising in this category that is more product specific.  Will it make boomers and caregivers feel more comfortable and confident with their purchase?

Baby Boomer Women Growing Networks Online and Offline

For women 50 plus, social networks are continuing to expand – not contract .Defying the stereotypes of increasing marginalization as they age, not only are their networks growing, they are growing online. That’s the conclusion of a new white paper released by VibrantNation.com.  

 

The study found:

  • The personal networks of women 50+ are large and growing.
  • They are in personal contact with at least 46 people each month.
  • 65% share information online with others in their network.
  • They are comfortable relying on referrals from strangers online if the source is knowledgeable/experienced.  They rely on references on websites like Amazon.com (70%), Ebay (54%) and Tripadvisor (27%).

 

It also found that Vibrant Women are open to trying new brands and experiences and motivated by a variety of psycho-social factors including:

  • Financial status –even with the recession, Vibrant Women continue to have discretionary income.
  • Life stage transitions 9such as last chilled leaving home, starting a business, losing a parent or spouse)
  • Physical changes (menopause, aging, surviving breast cancer)
  • New family roles (grandparent, caregiver)
  • Social Awareness (travel, volunteer work) 

The study is base on a survey of 1,000 boomer women with household incomes greater than $75,000.

http://www.vibrantnation.com/assets/1079/VN_White_Paper_Release.pdf

 

Baby Boomer Word for 2009 – Recalibration

Recalibration— that’s the theme for consumers in 2009 as consumers reset the scales after a decade of dualities, highs and lows, according to Steve French, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

Consumers are designing the “Middle Way” defined as a lifestyle approach grounded in comfort, safety, sustainability and moderation.  and boomers are leading the charge!

For marketers, it is important to understand how boomer paradigms are shifting, said French at the opening session of the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit.  Here’s how attitudes are shifting:

From consumption to sustainability

From possessions to purpose

From retirement to employment

From trading up to trading off

From perceived value to real value

The findings were based upon research conducted in January and are par of NMI’s Healthy Aging Boomer Database.(www.nmisolutions.com)

“Boomers are being forced to look in the mirror and they want to change the reflection that is looking back,” French said. “they are trading off or even down:  successful “down market” products will make benefits tangible and relevant.”

Baby Boomers Cutting Back and Reassessing Priorities Just Like Everyone Else

How are boomers feeling these days?   Newly released research says just like everyone else boomers are cutting back, re-assessing priorities and taking a new outlook at life.

Yesterday (25%)— Life was better in the  1950’s.  Use messages of reassurance and decision reinforcement; comfort and validation in “the new normal” and acknowledgement.Just like everyone else boomers are cutting back, re-assessing priorities and taking a new outlook at life.

Today (30%) – We live in exciting times. Use messages that talk about living the good life, embrace the moment, celebration of self, and you deserve this.

Tomorrow (45%)– tomorrow will be better than today. Use message of hopefulness and optimism, a new day is coming, connection, religious themes and tie-ins, buy local and aspiring to a “stable future” rather than “retiring rich.”

Steve French,  from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), will present NEW research fielded in January at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit (www.boomersummit.com) on March 19 in Las Vegas.  He’ll be looking at how boomer paradigms are shifting with the new economy. The research looks across products and industries. Attendees will get a special summary report of the research.

The Focalyst  research was conducted in Sept. 2008. and is being repeated in March and September, 2009.