What's Next? Boomer Business Summit Reveals Surprising New Research About How Boomers Shop, Use the Internet and What They Worry About Most

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Brand loyalty among Baby Boomers and older consumers is up for grabs, but the majority of marketers in Fortune 500 companies still believe this market is reluctant to switch or experiment with new brands. This is just one of the findings in a survey by Focalyst, a new research and advisory firm focused on the baby-boomer and older market. Focalyst's president, Mike Irwin, will be discussing the survey next month at the 2006 What’s Next? Boomer Business Summit in Anaheim, California.

Brand loyalty among Baby Boomers and older consumers is up for grabs, but the majority of marketers in Fortune 500 companies still believe this market is reluctant to switch or experiment with new brands.

This is just one of the findings in a survey by Focalyst, a new research and advisory firm focused on the baby-boomer and older market. Focalyst's president, Mike Irwin, will be discussing the survey next month at the 2006 What’s Next? Boomer Business Summit in Anaheim, California.

“The conventional wisdom driving this assumption is simply outdated," Irwin said. “Marketers who continue to assume that consumer loyalty and affinity for products and services remains fixed as people age will lose market share to those who seek out and directly speak to them.”

New York-based Focalyst was formed last year as a joint venture of AARP Services and Kantar, the research and consulting arm of WPP. The company is currently conducting the most comprehensive survey of Baby Boomers and older consumers to date, with a sample size of more than 35,000 respondents.

The branding survey asked nearly 900 consumers about their opinions on brand loyalty, media and technology. The research also shows that many Boomers have been using the Internet for 10 years and rely on it for everything from news and travel planning to shopping and downloading music.

Focalyst’s findings about Internet usage paints a very similar picture to what would be expected of the 18-41 demographic.

These findings were also confirmed by a study from the Natural Marketing Institute that was conducted among 1500+ baby boomers and will also be presented during the one day program. “Boomers show a high level of comfort with technology,” said Steve French, Managing Partner, The Natural Marketing Institute. “We find 81% use it to stay connected to their families, and 62% purchase products online.”

Other findings from the NMI study:

Boomers biggest worry is about money---having enough money to retire, to life on and for healthcare.

  • Almost six out of ten Boomers (57%) consider themselves spenders rather than savers.
  • Four out of five Boomers feel relieving their stress would increase the quality of their life.
  • Half of Boomers consider themselves risk takers and feel more adventurous as they grow older.

Speakers at the Summit will include keynoter Guy Kawasaki, author of “The Art of the Start”; Robert Abrams, Founder & CEO, ZivaContinuum; Chris Alewine, VP, Marketing Analytics, V12 Group; David Baxter, VP, Research, Age Wave; Janice Blanchard, Society of Certified Senior Advisors; Myrna Blyth, Editor and Author, former Editor-in-Chief, MORE magazine; John Buckingham, Co-founder and CEO, Solana MedSpas; Joe Cannella, Customer Support, Google; Gloria Cavanaugh, President & CEO, American Society on Aging (ASA); Marty Davis, Director of Special Projects and Campaigns, AARP; Helen Dennis, Andrus Gerontology Center, Incoming Chair, ASA's Business Forum on Aging; Steve French, Managing Partner, The Natural Marketing Institute; Mary Furlong, Ed.D, CEO, Mary Furlong & Associates; John Garcia, Founding/Managing Principal, Angel Strategies; Jane Glenn Haas, Columnist, The Orange County Register and Founder, WomanSage-2006 Winner, ASA Media Award for national coverage; Mike Irwin, President, Focalyst; Mark Johnson, Product Manager, Kosmix.com; Don Jones, VP, Healthcare Business Development, Qualcomm; Bruce Juell, Founder, CreativeSeniors.com, former CEO, Six Flags; Karen Orton Katz, Principal, Internet Strategies Group; Scott D. Kellner, CEO, Tambourine, Inc; Mike Kephart, President, Kephart Community, Planning and Architecture; Dr. Susan Love, President & Medical Director, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation; Steve Mackenzie, President, Mackenzie Architects; Jan Norman, Orange County Register; Robin Raff, Chief Strategist, ECI Healthcare; Laura Weber Rossman, Principal, Outside Insite; Joyce Ruddock, VP, Retirement Strategies Group, MetLife; Janna Silvandersson, Regional Mgr., Retail, Google Advertising Sales; Mark Stevens, VP, New Product Development, AARP Services, Inc.; Kara Swisher, Co-producer, Wall Street Journal D: All Things Digital; Dr. Astro Teller, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO, BodyMedia, Inc.; Michel G. Thouati, Ph. D., CEO, Lithium Technologies; Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D, Director, MetLife Mature Market Institute; Fernando Torres-Gil, Associate Dean, School of Public Affairs, UCLA; Luis Villalobos, Founder, Tech Coast Angels, Managing Director, Angel-Led Venture Partners LP; Susan Ayers Walker, Executive Director, SmartSilvers Alliance; Steve Zalesznick, President, Longevity Alliance; Jeffrey Zimman, CEO, Posit Science Corporation.

Sponsors include: Platinum - AARP Services, Inc.; Focalyst; Shaklee Corporation. Gold - Longevity Alliance, ZivaContinuum. Bronze - Angel Strategies; ECI Healthcare; IBM; MetLife Mature Market Institute; Posit Science Corporation; Solana MedSpas. Marketing partners include: WomanSage; http://www.theMatureMarket.com; V12 Group; OCTANe; SmartSilvers Alliance.

To register, visit http://www.boomersummit.com. Early registration discounts apply. There are a limited number of complimentary seats available to journalists with valid press passes.

The What’s Next? Boomer Business Summit is co-produced by the ASA and its Business Forum on Aging and Mary Furlong & Associates. The Summit will precede the 2006 Joint Conference of The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) and the American Society on Aging (ASA), March 16-19, 2006 in Anaheim. More information: http://www.agingconference.org

Why the 50+ Market?

Boomers mean business. The first boomer turned 60 on January 1, 2006. With 76 million U.S. boomers born between 1946 and 1964, the potential for profit and growth are enormous. In fact, this market is the largest, best-educated and wealthiest generation in U.S. history. Every seven seconds, someone is turning 50 years old. And Boomers are in their peak earning years. By 2010, 47% of Boomer households will have incomes above $50,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Mary Furlong, Ed.D, CEO of Mary Furlong & Associates and co-producer of the What’s Next? Boomer Business Summit said, “Ninety-one percent of the net assets are in the hands of baby boomers, the youngest is now turning 40 years of age. This spending power combined with the changing needs and interests of the growing boomer market give rise to tremendous market opportunities. Entrepreneurs, marketers, corporate strategists, venture investors, market researchers and non-profit leadership can all benefit from sharing their insights and perspectives. Expect revolutionary innovations in health care; fitness; beauty; travel; learning and e-learning; financial services and housing. Expect innovations that are created online and offline. The boomers’ future will be as creative as its past.”

Furlong said, “One of the core issues boomers face, in light of pension and social security concerns, is how they will finance their longevity. Entrepreneurship is one option for creative boomers willing to apply their corporate skills to independent thinking.” More boomers are taking the entrepreneurial path. Entrepreneurs over 40 account for 54 percent of the self-employed, up from 48 percent in 2000 (Scripps Howard News Service, 2005). Furlong said, “Companies, non-profit organizations and individual entrepreneurs serving the boomer consumer must think entrepreneurially and have a deep understanding of the boomer market. The focus of this Summit is innovation and entrepreneurship and how to successfully reach the boomer market.”

"The American Society on Aging, through its constituent group, the Business Forum on Aging, has long supported and informed businesses serving the 50+ market," said Gloria Cavanaugh, president and CEO of the ASA. “The What’s Next? Boomer Business Summit represents a real opportunity for business leaders to gain valuable insight into this market and therefore, take advantage of its enormous potential.”

About the Co-producers

Mary Furlong & Associates works with companies seeking to capitalize on new business and investment opportunities in this $2 trillion-per-year market. MFA provides business development, financing strategy and integrated marketing solutions to entrepreneurs, corporations and nonprofit organizations serving the 50+ market. Mary Furlong, Ed.D also serves as an executive professor on Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in the Silicon Valley. See http://www.MaryFurlong.com.

The American Society on Aging (ASA), based in San Francisco, is the largest professional membership association in the field of aging in the United States. ASA's more than 6,000 members comprise a national multidisciplinary community of those who work with older adults. More information is online at http://www.asaging.org. For the 2006 NCOA-ASA Joint Conference, see http://www.agingconference.org.

The Business Forum on Aging (BFA), a constituent group of ASA, includes more than 200 businesses that serve people over 50. See http://www.businessforumonaging.org.

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