Tell Me: What Matters Now?

Over the past several months, I have had the privilege of sharing my thoughts and insights about marketing to Boomers in this column. I've touched on channel mix, health care, and popular culture ("Mad Men," RockBand). Fellow contributors to this column have explored gender, social networks, and consumer trends -- just to name a few topics.

And, each month, when I sit down to write, I try to think about what you might be interested in. But, this month, I thought I would try something different and ask you: what do you want to know more about? What are your particular marketing challenges this year? How can this column help you meet those challenges? Is there some insight or research that could help you? That you might share with a client?

So, tell me: what matters now? What information would like us to cover in future Engage:Boomers columns?

How interested are you in learning more about the following?

  • Media habits of Boomers -- e.g., are they still consuming traditional media like they were in 2009? How are they adopting/utilizing new media?
  • Innovative marketing and/or advertising campaigns targeting Boomers -- we haven't really discussed this as much last year but would you like to see some case studies?
  • Technology use/adoption by Boomers -- as marketers increasingly experiment with new platforms, where does that leave Boomers? Does it matter?
  • Cause Marketing -- last year saw a proliferation of "contests for good" and this year Pepsi announced it will not purchase time during the SuperBowl but instead use those funds for its new Pepsi Refresh Project. What are the implications of marketers moving towards cause marketing for reaching, engaging Boomers?
  • Social Media -- one of my fellow contributors, Matt Thornhill, raised some great points about social media a few weeks ago. Is it worth revisiting?
  • Designing products for Boomers -- whether it's a gadget or a service, do Boomers have specific needs?
  • Behavioral trends: insights on any research that is published about Boomer behavioral trends.



Or, is there something else that matters to you?

Use the message boards here to share what you want to know more about. And, if you're so inclined, tell me whether you are a brand marketer or work for an agency or non-profit. While I can't guarantee that I'll write about all the topics you are interested in, I will certainly try. And, I'll post a summary of your feedback in a future post.

So, what matters now?

17 comments about "Tell Me: What Matters Now? ".
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  1. Alisa Bartholomew, January 11, 2010 at 1:39 p.m.

    I'm interested in changes in boomer media consumption. For example, boomers typically consume more traditional media and consume it differently (i.e. not just reading newspaper more often, but reading more sections, more attention to national news compared to younger readers, etc.). Are those trends mirrored in online media usage or is the way they use the media changing as they shift the type of media they use?

  2. Carrie Yutzy from LegalZoom, January 11, 2010 at 1:50 p.m.

    I'm interested in how Boomers use social media, how we can make them more comfortable with social media, and what information they want from businesses/brands they engage with in the social media space.

  3. Murray Christenson from Newcap Radio, January 11, 2010 at 1:51 p.m.

    I'd love to hear more on the first two points. Also, it seems the talk in most circles these days is jobs...or lack thereof. Im interested in getting more insight into the employment picture for boomers and how it relates to the general trend and sub trends.

  4. Michael Difrisco from EAA, January 11, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.

    Curious: What do Boomers call THEMSELVES. As marketers, we tend to group them for demographic convenience into a bucket we call Boomers, but how do they see themselves? I fall into the category, yet I'm not in the marketplace on the lookout for things targeted at "Boomers." Is there some intelligence or survey work out there that suggests what Boomers refer to themselves as?

  5. Alexandria Hayes from Blue Moon Communications, January 11, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.

    The first topic - traditional media use - is of particular interest to me. Thanks for the great info!

  6. Vicky Hastings from Maxwell PR + Engagement, January 11, 2010 at 1:58 p.m.

    I'm interested in what's motivating boomers to travel this year. What type of experiences are they seeking? What sources do they use to research and plan their trips? How important is social media to them in trip planning? Why do they select a certain destination? My firm represents tourist bureaus focused on culinary, wine, outdoor and historical travel. Thanks.

  7. Bruce Christensen from PartyWeDo, January 11, 2010 at 2:21 p.m.

    What affect does the empty nest and the dispersed family have on a Boomer's spending habits?
    They have an expanding family, (grand children) but they encounter the challenges of distance in order to maintain quality connection and valuable support.

    How can social media tools assist them in bridging the distance to keep the family ties strong. What can the internet provide for Boomers to support their expanding generational family?

  8. Sam Downs from SBS, January 11, 2010 at 4:47 p.m.

    Hi Anne,
    I've found these articles very worthwhile. I'd love to see some examples of successful marketing and/or advertising campaigns targeting Boomers with your thoughts on why they were so successful.
    Many thanks,
    Sam SBS (TV network in Australia)

  9. Robin Helfers from Humana, January 11, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.

    Starting in 2011 and continuing for the next 20 years, 10,000 boomers will become eligible for Medicare every day, potentially adding 3.6 million new people to Medicare each year. What do Boomers know about their age of eligibility and Medicare choices? When do they start thinking about that? When should Boomers start planning ahead for their health care and health care expenses? When they retire early, what are their choices for health care insurance? How will health care reform affect Boomers' options for health care? The whole health and financial well being of Boomers is a big area to explore.

  10. Jennifer Gosse from Vortaloptics, Inc., January 11, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.

    Would love to hear more about the media habits of Boomers, technology use/adoption by Boomers and how many are interested in cause marketing? Does marketing for good strike the same 'do good to others' chord as with Gen Y?

  11. Christopher Laurance from Distraction Marketing, January 11, 2010 at 7:32 p.m.

    I'd like to see studies that indicate that the messages and passions of Boomers as teenagers and twenty somethings simply went dormant and in fact all efforts and campaigns that address Boomers should in fact be from companies that are in sync with those idealistic goals.

    Looked at accurately, the "green or sustainable" efforts of the 21st centuries aren't much more than another version of the ecological concerns of the 60's and 70's (prime time for Boomers)

    So, I'd like to see a revisitation to the passions of the 60's and 70's (not the drugs) and see if products and campaigns that target those old ideas aren't the ones that will cause the boomers to move once again

  12. Jose Vasquez from John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., January 11, 2010 at 8:20 p.m.

    I would love to learn more about innovative marketing to Boomers and their media habits

  13. Kathryn Wardell from BOLDER Digital Marketing & Media, January 11, 2010 at 8:24 p.m.

    As a BOLDER Boomer I find many issues of importance that I would like to see Engage Boomer Articles about.
    First and foremost the economy and specifically how it relates to health care and the incredible cost of healthcare that we are facing with the huge wave of Boomers going on Medicare and Medicaid. How are we as a nation going to support this cost and what incentives are we going to create to support proactive and preventative medicine.

    I also would like to hear more about what volunteer projects Boomers are doing around the globe to make a difference as they move into "semi-retirement" and engage in more causes and concerns that help people in developing countries.

    Finally, as many Boomers are still engaged in sandwich generation requirements, taking care of kids as well as parents I would like to hear how Boomers are coping with these challenges and what inventive and innovative ways we are developing to address supporting ourselves and those we are caring for.

  14. Jerry Foster from Energraphics, January 12, 2010 at 2:53 a.m.

    I'm interested in seeing realistic as opposed to politically correct portrayals of boomer male desires in the social arena. One of the main assumptions you shouldn't make in research and reporting is the idea that we will socialize with those our own age - with other Boomers - and that we will even let ourselves be seen as belonging to that age group. That is too big an assumption. The cougar meme helps prove the point that it is a very wild assumption indeed.

    This segways to an example of a social media trend for Boomers: many will blatantly lie about their age (and heavily benefit from this - it works), feeling that since nobody has a *right* to know your age when they meet you anonymously at a club or at the beach, they also don't have any kind of *right* to know your age immediately online in a social media environment. If they have a *right* to that, do they also have a *right* to an immediate sex offender check and verification that you are who you say you are?

    The US Congress has already determined that they can force dating websites to conduct background checks on Americans who want to meet foreigners online (IMBRA law) and federal judges of both political parties have agreed, in challenges to that law, that the Right to Assemble (US Constitution) does not apply to online socializing, especially with non-Americans.

    Expect to see attempts to stifle those companies that report everyone's date of birth via Google search as a way of enticing people to pay for more detailed information. To many, the betrayal of the birthdate is the worst thing that can happen (social media allows one to confuse the Google data trail with date disinformation). LinkedIn doesn't understand that some people will want to leave out the undergrad information and chop off the first 10 years of our careers.

    Those who think that is "insecure" haven't seen first-hand how it works wonders for a social life. A Boomer (male or female) only needs to receive *one* message that says "You are too old for me to socialize with" from an attractive member of the opposite sex before he or she is convinced that the Achille's Heel of social media is the meme that we're supposed to give out more (too much) information about ourselves online than we would have to in real life.

  15. Gerry Myers from Advisory Link, January 12, 2010 at 10:31 a.m.

    There are many differences in marketing to women and men, and boomers are no exception. I specialize in marketing and selling to women and would like to work with you or be a guest blogger on the topic of marketing to female boomers. See my website and blogs at

  16. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 12, 2010 at noon

    Assumptions. All boomers are grandparents. All boomers have dentures and so on like we don't know we have to work around more physical limitations and we just love to be reminded. All divorced women divorced well and there is so many available men knocking at their door (and vice versa). In other words, there is a content problem, both with programming and ads in various media. Very recently, a media buyer said it's too expensive to target differently than the 18-49 and the rest. So wrong. Instead of worrying about age demographics, the concentration should be more on income variations with the ability to spend. For example, a 70 year old with a nicely appointed income share so many of the same 30-40 year old activities and life styles. The 40 year old earning $10 an hour with just one kid is on food stamps and not buying what you are selling including dentures for their missing teeth since the dentist is out of their financial league. Who else sees this as driving the market scope?

  17. Mary Dworin from dmg world media, January 12, 2010 at 3:52 p.m.

    As the Marketing Director for our antique trade shows, we know that the largest portion of our demographic is boomers--I like to believe that we're hitting the mediums they consume and are attentive to, but as far as special offers, discounts etc. do we know how important, if at all, these opportunities are to them? As traditional media is shifting, where are the boomers shifting to?

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