Mary Furlong is a leading authority on baby boomers as they reach maturity.
She founded a nonprofit organization, SeniorNet in 1986. The mission of SeniorNet was to create an organization to bring the wisdom of older adults into the information age. One of the roles of SeniorNet was to help seniors become technology-savvy.
In 1996, Dr. Furlong founded ThirdAge Media, a media and marketing company that focused on baby boomers. ThirdAge.com created content, commerce, community, and context to serve boomer interests.
In 2003, Dr. Furlong founded Mary Furlong & Associates to help socially responsible, consumer-conscious companies understand the needs of the boomer market.
Since January 1, 2006, a baby boomer has turned 60 every seven seconds. The transition will continue for 19 years. The boomers don't view arriving at their sixties as retirement, but a bonus round. There are boomer generations in many other countries besides the United States, reflecting a high fertility rate after World War II.
In Turning Silver Into Gold, Dr. Furlong profiles what the baby boomer generation looks like and what services they want.
For example, women of the boomer generation see beauty as being healthy, so they are very interested in products and services that can help them lead healthy lives. They are interested in alternative, holistic health care, physical fitness, vitamins and supplements. Web sites have been designed to appeal to the boomers' desire for health and medical information.
Boomers are also interested in spiritual growth, which manifests itself in the desire for travel experiences and learning about meditation. Vacation packages are being designed for seniors to enjoy with their families or senior-oriented groups. Ocean cruises are the biggest growth service for travel. There are also specialized travel experiences designed for singles, gays and lesbians. Another growth area is recreational vehicles. 44% of RV buyers are age 55 or older.
The housing requirements for seniors are generally different from those of families. Many housing communities are being designed to meet those requirements. There are time-sharing arrangements where seniors can easily move to different areas of the country at different times of the year. (One of our cousins was thinking of retiring to live full time on cruise ships!)
The "gold" that Dr. Furlong cites in her title is spiritual development. "Older adults want their final act of life to have meaning and purpose beyond accumulating and spending."
Baby boomers may be interested in reading Turning Silver Into Gold, for more insight into themselves and their generation. Marketers need to understand what baby boomers are thinking about and what they value in order to develop products, services and marketing messages to appeal to them.
Buy it on Amazon: Turning Silver into Gold: How to Profit in the New Boomer Marketplace.
For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!