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


New Boomer Research at the Boomer Summit

March 19, 2009  Bally's Las Vegas

March 19, 2009 Bally's Las Vegas

Entrepreneurs and  executives from innovative companies around the country will be gathering at the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit in Las Vegas.

Here are some highlights.  If you haven’t registered there’s still time to register for the boomer summit.

Boomer behaviors and attitudes:  new research on what they are thinking now and how your marketing message needs to change to reach them.  Steve French, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) shares the new research at 9:30 on March 19.

50+ Women on the Web:  VibrantNation.com releases a new white paper on social networking and women 50+. 

The study’s findings are of particular interest to marketers in this recessionary economy, where Vibrant Women are one of the dwindling number of consumer groups with available discretionary funds. Vibrant Women are in the prime of their lives and the healthiest, wealthiest, best-educated generation in history. Defying the stereotype of increasing marginalization as they age, this study confirmed that not only are their networks growing, they are growing online.


Trends in aging in place technology:  It is a $2 billion segment today that promises to be a $20 billion industry by 2020, according to Laurie Orlov’s new report. This is the first major market research report to take a comprehensive look at the technology that will help people live in their own homes She’s releasing her findings at the Summit on March 19.


Media should contact boomersummitlwr@gmail.com for further information.



Baby Boomer Women Will Drive the Use of Social Media

forrester-research-on-social-mediaThere has been a flurry of blog postings lately on the wonder of baby boomers using social media and social networking.  It seems to stem from an updated report from Forrester Researcher Jeremiah Owyang . 

It’s no surprise to us and probably many of you who will be attending the Boomer Summit , March 19.   We’ve been posting other research on the increased use of social media by this demographic, especially some of the data coming out of the Pew Research Center.

We haven’t seen data broken down by gender, but believe that boomer women will drive the growth of social media in this demographic.  Why?  Social media is about relationships and women, as they age, rely heavily on their networks.  And in the current economy, women have face increasing pressures.  So they want to reach out to others to share stories and talk about  caregiving, adult children returning home, financially supporting their parents and their children, worrying about their job or lack of job,  sharing joys of grandparenting and successes and ways to keep the family closer as the life we expected increasingly feels like it is unraveling.

Sam Decker recently noted on his blog that Boomers make up of 35% of the Internet population.  He said, while it’s true that Millenials (the 13-24 generation) share content at double the rate of  baby boomers (56%), 31% of Baby Boomers share their own user generated content. This could be in the form of reviews, blog posts, comments, discussion forums, etc.  Sam,  CMO of Bazzaarvoice, will be at the Boomer Summit talking about about user generated content.

Carol Orsborn from VibrantNation.com  will talk about the use of social media by women; Andy Cohen from Caring.com  will share how marketers are using niche sites to reach boomer women caregivers; and Jerry Shereshewsky from Grandparents.com will talk about how  the  market of 70 million grandparents are using the Internet to share stories and buy for their grandchildren.

Can blogs build your boomer business?


Cohubstop-piechart-brporate blogs – can they be a good source of sales leads for your boomer business?


A new study finds blogging to the most important lead-generation source among social media options, followed by StumbleUpon, YouTube, Facebook, De.lic.ious and Digg.


A survey of small to mid-sized BtoB companies by Internet marketing firm HubSpot found three-quarters of those that have tried blogging said their company blogs were “useful,” “important,” or “critical” to their business. Nearly half the companies have a blog, and three-quarters publish content at least weekly.


Blogs provide companies benefits beyond building relationships with customers. A community is built around the content and articles and the content helps drive Search engine optimization, according to experts.


However, another recent survey by Forrester Research showed that consumers rated corporate blogs as the lowest-rated source of reliable information among the 18 categories the firm asked about, including Web portals, print newspapers, radio and personal blogs.


Building online communities, blogging and rating and reviews, will be among the topics covered at the Boomer Business Summit (www.boomersummit.com)


You’ll hear from:

Sarah Christian – VolunteerMatch.org (www.volunteermatch.com)

Jenna Woodul –LiveWorld.com (www.liveworld.com)

Elisa Camahort Page – BlogHer.com (www.blogher.com)

Sam Decker –BazaarVoice (www.bazaarvoice.com)


And more… check out the program at www.boomersummit.comand plan on joining the conversation on the power of blogs and online communities to reach boomers.

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!



Baby boomers more digital than ever

The Silver Summit at the Consumer Electronic Show was quite an experience.  The program put together by Susan Walker, Robin Raskin and Mike Sarfartti was great! Eric Dishman of Intel gave a compelling presentation on the need for reform on Digital Health. He shared three important trends: Demographic Disruption and showed a map of what the world would look like in 2020; Technology Disruption and Economic Disruption. These three forces together cause a need for innovation and reform. I had the privilege of hosting a panel on lifestyles. Lee Ranie, of Pew Internet Research group gave an important update on the changes of the boomers regarding 2.0 media. He gave the following data points of boomer use of 2.0 media in 2008: 74% use the Internet, 62% have broadband at home; 72% use a cell phone, and 43% connect to the Internet wirelessly.. What is new and important is the move toward fast, mobile computing among the boomers.  

The ‘other news’ according to Pew is the growth of social networking applications. Pew research cited the following: 91% of the boomers use search engines; 78% search in health care, 30% use online ratings, 38% share video feeds, 26% read blogs, 17% share creations, 16% have a social network profile, and 7% blog.

 Also on the panel, Howard Byck, shared the latest strategy regarding the lifestyle area at AARP. He discussed the uber environmental trends of increasing singledom, delayed retirement, going green and technology. He also talked about the AARP member’s (40 million strong) unmet needs for control, thriftiness, desire to stay fit and achieve peace of mind. These trends and needs were important to their new strategy for products and services related to travel and entertainment, discounts health and wellness, lifelong learning, technology products and services and pets. 

 The increase of boomers using social media is why we decided to make that an anchor theme for the What’s Next Boomer Summit (www.boomersummit.com) in Las Vegas on March 19. In this down economy, every dollar spent has to matter. We want to help our conference sponsors and attendees develop sales strategies that can work in this new economy. With consumers spending less, it simply takes more of them to meet 2009 goals.  Finding more business means a fresh look at new strategies and new distribution channels.
Hope you will be joining us on March 19 in Las Vegas.
Mary Furlong

Baby Boomers Key Demographic for Marketers

Baby boomers remain the most important demographic for marketers, according to a survey by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG).  78% of the executives rated baby boomers the most important demographic – up from 72% last year.

And yes, they are increasingly interested in the younger generations (X and Y), but the focus on the boomer market remains strong.  Boomers may have less money than they did a year ago, but they still have greater spending power than other generations.

Other findings from this survey of senior marketing executives:

Key concepts these top marketers are focusing on include: customer satisfaction, customer retention, marketing ROI, SEO and brand loyalty.

You can find the complete survey results at www.mengonline.org

We’ll be digging into many of these key marketing concepts at the What’s Next Boomer Summit.  New research on what boomers are looking for in light of economic changes, finding and engaging boomers online, using SEO and Google to make sure boomers find you online. 

 Check out the program at www.boomersummit.com