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What’s Next: Boomer Summit and NCOA Aging Conference

I attended the Boomer Summit and Aging Conference in Chicago this week. While much of the information was the same as that presented at every other 50+ marketing event, I was generally impressed with the quality and quantity of speakers. Some of the highlights from the Boomer Business Summit include:

  • Brain fitness market is heating up (with Cognifit and Posit Science graciously thanking the makers of Nintendo’s Brain Age for their $20M awareness campaign)
  • TV Land is pushing to be the ultimate Boomer network by increasing original content
  • Phillips Electronics seems serious about becoming a “health technology” company
  • Great deal of focus on Baby Boomer women
  • Consultant to financial institutions suggests need to pay more attention to Boomer women (specifically, online)
  • General consensus that pre-retirees and retirees alike suffer from financial planning paralysis as a result of too many (confusing) choices
  • Gerontologist, Neal Cutler warned 50+ marketers to be careful in mistaking the attributes and characteristics of Boomers and Seniors as “generational” versus “aging”
  • There seems little doubt that for all of the opportunity that exists in helping marketers connect with older adults, the no-brainers will be the categories of health and wealth
  • Some very interesting conversation on word of mouth marketing (WOM) but the panel, short of anyone focused on the 50+ markets, failed to make the connection as to the power of this WOM to older adults
  • Microsoft presented itself humbly as “just getting serious” about aging issues. It was very promising to see that they had relabeled and relocated the accessibility features that would help so many (young and old alike) from within Vista. Unfortunately, they forgot to communicate their goal to their icon designer who, while making the icon look a little sexier, maintained the overall shape of a wheelchair (Oops. Look for that in service pack coming soon.)

Most impressive to me was what I came to learn of the event’s organizer, Mary Furlong, as an incredible entrepreneur and marketer whose drive to do business is well rooted in the real needs of aging adults.