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Stephen Reily

Member since August 2008 Contact Stephen

Stephen is the Founder, Chairman & General Counsel of IMC, an agency that develops new products for global consumer brands through brand licensing and other partnerships. IMC's influencer marketing division is Vibrant Nation, the, leading online community and influencer network for women 45-65.

Articles by Stephen All articles by Stephen

  • Boomers Want To Hear About The 'America' In American-Made Cars  in Engage:Boomers on 10/12/2015

    You know that Boomers love their country, but did you know that they shop that way, too?

  • Why Is It So Hard To Make Jeans That Boomers Can Love? in Engage:Boomers on 08/10/2015

    We've been listening to women 45+ for seven years now, and there is one question that never goes away: Where can I find a pair of jeans to love? The failure of the marketplace to answer this question for so many women remains particularly confusing, because the opportunity is so great, and the need is so clear. We recently surveyed these women for some updated insights. If you want to capture a bigger piece of this giant market, here is your business plan.

  • Target Millennials Or Boomers? Why Not Both? in Engage:Boomers on 06/08/2015

    At the Cannes Lions festival later this month I'll be joining Kirsty Fuller, co-founder and co-CEO of the global insight and brand consultancy Flamingo Group. Kirsty and Flamingo have been studying the aging marketplace for many years. Their 2009 report, "Talkin' 'Bout My Generation," delivered new insights on the rapidly changing marketplace of 50+ consumers, and the value in reaching them.

  • Are You Ready To Be Dumped? in Engage:Boomers on 04/13/2015

    When marketers are asked how they keep Boomers engaged, those who don't ignore them usually admit they take them for granted. If you are one of these marketers, you should get ready to be dumped.

  • Gen X Is 50; Are We Going To Call Them Boomers Now?  in Engage:Boomers on 02/09/2015

    I've written here before about whether "Boomer" is the best term to describe the midlife consumer. Over many years I've learned that using the word Boomer makes many people think "old" - hardly the right word to apply to people just turning 50.

  • Does Tech-Savviness = Happiness? Not To Boomers in Engage:Boomers on 12/08/2014

    TheNextWeb recently published an opinion piece by writer Curtis Silver called "Baby boomers aren't tech novices. They just want you to think they are."

  • Do You Read Restaurant Menus In The Bathroom?  in Engage:Boomers on 10/13/2014

    The great thing about asking consumers questions is that you always learn something you couldn't have imagined. Who knew, for example, that some people are so unwilling to be seen wearing reading glasses that they carry restaurant menus into the bathroom to read them under bright light in private?

  • If The Boomerang Kid Never Leaves, Is The Parent Ever An Empty Nester?  in Engage:Boomers on 08/11/2014

    A recent "New York Times" story clarified the brave new age of young adulthood: It looks a lot like childhood.

  • Where To Launch A New Product? Don't Forget Google  in Engage:Boomers on 06/09/2014

    I recently met with a company launching a new beauty product for Boomer women. They had tested it via direct-response television, and wondered why women were watching their infomercials but not buying their products. The commercials directed women to a toll-free number and to the brand's proprietary website to buy the product. They asked us if women 50+ were reluctant to buy beauty products online?

  • Is It Really An Empty Nest If There's A Pet In It?  in Engage:Boomers on 04/14/2014

    While the Great Recession continues to affect almost all consumer categories, one category remains exempt: pets. Annual consumer spending on pets has grown every year since it was first measured in 1996. In 2013, the total number stood at almost $56 billion, and industry experts expect it to approach $60 billion in 2014.

Comments by Stephen All comments by Stephen

  • Are You Ready To Be Dumped? by Stephen Reily (Engage:Boomers on 04/13/2015)

    You are so right - about travel, too.  Our Vibrant Nation research showed that women are making  travel (destination and spending) decisions by themselves - even for trips where they are bringing their husbands along.  Thanks!

  • 3G's Creative Destruction Of Kraft/Heinz by Michael Bollinger (Marketing: CPG on 04/08/2015)

    Great analysis.  The sad point, from either end of the political spectrum, is that running either of CPG businesses with a strong spirit of innovation and growth is the best way to serve shareholders AND keep the efficiency vultures at bay.  Employees will now pay the price for decades of risk-averse complacency by executives and boards who couldn't adapt to new markets, new trends, and a changing consumer landscape.

  • Do You Read Restaurant Menus In The Bathroom? by Stephen Reily (Engage:Boomers on 10/13/2014)

    Hi Anne-Marie and thanks for sharing your thoughts - I like a friendly debate. You make some good points, which were certainly clear from our research and I hope were clear from my piece. As I pointed out, 40% of respondents told us that wearing reading glasses could age them, meaning that a majority of women do NOT feel that way. So you are in good company! The results we uncovered were not predetermined, however, and the survey was conducted among our community of 100,000+ women 45+ at Vibrant Nation. I wouldn't write something here that wasn't grounded in real research, and in fact these results were consistent with the 7 years of research we've done showing that, for many women, physical challenges that arrive at midlife are often associated with aging in a negative way. We have managed successful influencer campaigns for stylish reading glasses as well, so I certainly understand that there is a wide range of consumer feeling on this topic. Marketers who ignore that all these different views, however, do so at their own risk.

  • Baskin-Robbins Dials Up Offerings, Marketing by Karlene Lukovitz (Marketing Daily on 04/02/2014)

    Although retail licensing (what I call "retail-to-retail licensing for a brand like Baskin-Robbins) can be a great idea, it's not always easy for franchised brands to get away with it. It sounds like B-R has done this the right way, by emphasizing the fact that its retail program has a broader footprint than its franchisees (priming the pump, arguably, for franchise expansion) AND of course by investing some of the royalties in marketing efforts that directly benefit franchisees. There isn't enough research on this topic, but I believe that supermarket and in-store (franchisee) purchases represent almost entirely separate usage occasions, and that brands need to capture both in order to maintain a consumer franchise.

  • Can Facebook Get Smart About Older Folks? by Catharine P. Taylor (Social Media Insider on 01/21/2014)

    Great post! You mention Marissa Mayer, and your reasoning is why she paid up for Katie Couric at Yahoo. See

  • Why Fashion Retailers Should Sell More Clothes Online by Stephen Reily (Engage:Boomers on 09/09/2013)

    Thanks for the great comments, which remind readers of some points I may have taken for granted. The underlying problem for fashion retailers is how badly they have served the growing and valuable marketplace of women 45+. While there aren't a lot of success stories, there are enough of them that retailers really should be making the long-term investment to get these vibrant women right. As I've written before (here and elsewhere). Because I don't generally see those companies making that kind of investment, this blog makes the point that one effort that would reap rewards, and be welcomed by midlife women, is to AT LEAST get their e-commerce/online offerings right. But the big winners will be the retailers and companies that bet BOTH right.

  • The Right Word To Describe Work For Boomers? Try 'Work' by Stephen Reily (Engage:Boomers on 04/09/2012)

    I'm sorry I've been offline today but delighted to see all the thoughtful commentary from so many people I respect - and some I don't even know. As for Matt's original point, I don't think I've ever misrepresented the research we do at Vibrant Nation, and regular readers of my blog here (and on our site, and on Twitters, etc.) know that we present it as being just what it is - quantitative and qualitative feedback from the women who come to our site, most of whom are women aged 48-68 with higher than average household incomes and education levels. But the point is taken and I will strive to be crystal clear in the future. (I have not, however, even seen formal studies of Boomer women that contradict anything we've learned from the members of Vibrant Nation.) Given what we know about our members, some of the comments seem to miss the real point of my post: it appears that even better-educated and higher-income Boomer women have different ideas about work and retirement than many a Boomer experts expected them to have. And if that's even close to being right, just imagine what's happened to ideas about work among women who are less fortunate. If we're right (and I'd love to have others contribute their own research in addition to their opinions and anecdotal evidence), it means that a generation of expectations about what work would mean at midlife have been upended by the Recession, by the workplace, and by - heaven forbid - women themselves, who will frequently display their own ideas about their lives, whether they are consistent with what male experts have been telling them to say (or thinking they would feel) for so long. Since founding Vibrant Nation I have learned from the voices that gather on our site and respond to our surveys. I believe that this survey is in imporant, and may mean that the many experts who have been forecasting milions of "encore careers" and "reimaginations" that could actually support a real Boomer's life may - like so many forecasters before them - actually be wrong. And I'd love to continue hearing what others think about this. Thanks!

  • 59% Of Boomer Moms Pay For Their Adult Child's Cell Phone -- And That's Not All by Stephen Reily (Engage:Boomers on 11/17/2011)

    Thanks for the good, skeptical questions, Carolyn. In reverse order - we did ask questions specific to age groups within the 18-30 range (18-21, 22-25 and 26-30) and, remarkably, the cell-phone percentages remained consistent and consistently high for each group. That was a big surprise to us, but consistent with what we're seeing elsewhere about boomerang kids, unemployment among 20-somethings, etc. - you are correct that the positive responses could have referred to a mother "helping" with the child's own cell phone bill, but given that it's usually cheaper to keep the child on the family plan than to have them assume their own plan, I don't think this represented a big part of the answer. And, this was a survey held at our site and has a fairly wide margin of error - yet even applying such a margin still suggests that mothers are playing a far larger role in making purchases (and purchases decisions) for their adult children, and one that marketers should pay some attention to. Finally, start asking 20-somethings in your office and elsewhere about this and see what you find out. Anecdotally, what I've been hearing confirms that a giant percentage of them are still on their parents' cell plans, even if they're employed and even if they're married. Whatever the exact percentage, it's more than any of us suspected. Stephen

  • Huffington Launches A Boomer Site Called 'Post 40' - What's Post-40 About Boomers? by Stephen Reily (Engage:Boomers on 07/18/2011)

    Thanks for the great comments. Those of you who agreed that HuffPo had this wrong will be glad to hear that they have renamed this new site: "Huff/Post 50":

  • Ford Takes A 'Bold' Step To Reach Boomers by Matt Thornhill (Engage:Boomers on 06/30/2011)

    Good insights, Matt. Increasing font size may turn out to be, for marketing-to-Boomers, what turning products pink is in marketing-to-women: a sure sign that the company doesn't really want to do the hard work required to understand what makes older consumers (or women) love their products. You're right to cite Apple, whose products and stores prove that it's actually possible to design products and stores that delight everyone from millennial hipsters to their vibrant grandmas. Ford should be able to do this, too.

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