A No-Brainer Marketing Opportunity

Want to really get inside Boomers’ heads and win their hearts? Brain health may be the key. 

According to our recent research, 95% of Boomers say that mental acuity is a top health concern, yet only 35% believe they have the resources necessary to stay mentally healthy. The resulting gap provides an excellent opportunity for marketers to connect with this desirable demographic.

While medical science and healthier lifestyle choices are adding years to our lives, Boomers are beginning to understand a potential downside. That is, our brains may give out before our bodies do. For a generation that prides itself on its ability to think for itself, this is a distressing notion—one that becomes all the more real as many watch their parents suffer the debilitating effects of dementia.

Through personal experience or word of mouth, Boomers find themselves on high alert and are taking action. Online brain training sites such as Posit Science’s Brain HQ and Lumosity have attracted more than 40 million paid users, many of whom are age 50+.



The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, one in eight adults age 65 or older has Alzheimer’s, as do roughly half of those 85 and older. Boomer aging is expected to increase cases by 30% by the year 2030, to nearly 7 million. It’s no wonder the Alzheimer’s Association has stepped up efforts to find a cure, having launched several fund-raising TV spots this year encouraging Americans to contribute money and participate in fund-raising walks. 

While individual citizens are being asked to do their part, there’s an opportunity—and a desperate need—for corporate America to get on board. While deaths from other major diseases—HIV, stroke, heart disease, and prostate cancer—all declined from 2000 to 2008, deaths from Alzheimer’s rose 66%. 

However savvy Boomers are as consumers, they still rely on marketers’ assistance to navigate new life stage-related obstacles and opportunities. The good news, from a marketing perspective, is that there are numerous ways companies can be there for Boomers. Consider the following three:

1. Raise money. Make financial contributions, launch fundraising efforts, or donate a portion of sales to various brain health-related organizations. 

2. Provide education. Provide opportunities for Boomers need to learn about forms of dementia, risks, symptoms, diagnosis, long-term care options, treatment, support services, and specifics on caregiving. 

3. Empower consumers. Provide products, services and opportunities that promote specific behaviors that are recommended to potentially delay or prevent dementia. These behaviors include staying mentally stimulated (e.g., continuing to work, doing puzzles, learning a language); staying physically active (e.g., joining a gym, doing household chores, playing sports); staying socially engaged (e.g., joining social/hobby groups, taking group travel, volunteering); and maintaining a healthy diet (one rich in fish, nuts, chicken, avocados, whole grains, anything high in Omega 3 or low in fat).

Companies offering products and services that enable or encourage these behaviors will win favor among Boomers, while other companies can establish partnerships and sponsorships to participate. 

There is no better time to get involved in fighting brain disease and promoting brain health. Boomer awareness is high, but brain disease has yet to strike members of this generation in a big way. Taking this journey alongside Boomers gives companies the opportunity to strike a deep emotional chord and become invaluable partners in their lives. 

What better way to stay top-of-mind?

3 comments about "A No-Brainer Marketing Opportunity".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 1, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.

    Very true and the devastation it creates for families is enduring. Corporations feel this is not their problem and if anything are cutting back on healthcare. Some would like to eliminate it completely. The disconnect you could say would be appalling except the goal is to disconnect.

  2. Cynthia Green from Memory Arts LLC, August 6, 2013 at 1:26 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting piece. As a leading provider of brain health products and services, we have seen a tremendous growth in the demand for information on how we can all maintain intellectual vitality and lower dementia risk. However, it is important that the advice shared is scientifically accurate, worthwhile and relevant, especially for the healthy savvy baby boom generation. Keeping it sophisticated yet meaningful and actionable can make all the difference for the reception of your message.

  3. Michael Pattterson from MINDRAMP CONSULTING, August 8, 2013 at 12:55 p.m.

    The AARP generation certainly is on high alert for companies whose leaders think and plan in brain health terms. Mark Bradbury hits the mark when he points out that they have reason to be concerned about protecting their intellectual and creative capabilities. And as Dr. Cynthia Green knows well, this generation needs, is demanding and even deserves scientifically accurate information that is being leveraged into practical programs, practices and policies that protect brain health.

    The AARP Staying Sharp program that I directed for a number of years provided just that type of grounded healthy brain information. Staying Sharp was a powerful partnership between NRTA: AARP's Educator Community and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives that provided moderated discussions with top neuroscientists who used conversational, plain language as they described and explained what current neuroscience research was revealing about the risk factors that cause cognitive decline and the effective behavioral approaches that were proving effective at preventing decline.

    When the Staying Sharp program ended in 2009, Roger Anunsen and I decided to continue this translational work through our own social marketing company MINDRAMP CONSULTING that works with companies to integrate brain health into the fabric of their daily operations. Corporate leaders are realizing that healthy brains create healthy businesses. They now see brain health education as an investment that pays both short and long-term dividends that extend far beyond the employee parking lot.

    We are moving well beyond the era of slapping “Neuro“ or “Brain Fitness” stickers near a logo and calling that a company’s brain health program. We firmly believe that companies can do well by doing good. By “good” we mean offering solid brain health information as a key part of employee wellness strategies. In addition to promoting healthy behaviors among their employees and clients, companies can and should also play an important role in providing, or lobbying for, the conditions that make brain healthy futures accessible to all.

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