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AARP Bulletin talks to Lori Bitter on “Selling Older Consumers Short”

Reporter David Wallis of the AARP Bulletin talks with Lori Bitter about how older consumers get overlooked and how to correctly market to them. From the Bulletin: ‘Some innovative companies, including Apple, understand that. Boomers account for 41 percent of people who buy Apple computers, notes Nielsen, and commercials for the iPad reflect this. Its campaign stars the device and a diverse supporting cast using it. “There was a baby and there was a 70-year-old man,” says Lori Bitter, pointing out an admirable strategy that “doesn’t disown anyone.” The message “is timeless and ageless.”‘

Read the entire article

American Marketing Association (AMA) Takes on the Senior Moment

AMA’s Christine Birkner interviewed us about Zillner’s new report on Seniors, All The Wiser, and how we define and market to older consumers. From Lori Bitter: “It’s best to target boomers based on their lifestyles and purchase behaviors—and their core values such as healthy eating or aging well, Bitter says. For example, General Mills’ Cheerios ads focus on heart health, which certainly resonates with boomers, but also could connect with anyone interested in living well, she says. “It’s a way of being ageless. They’re not saying it’s an old person’s cereal or a young person’s cereal. It’s more about the value of healthy eating.”

Read the full article here:


Is grandparenting the ultimate “do-over”?


Lori talked to Huffington Post, on behalf of GRAND Magazine, on the evolution from parenting to grandparenting. Can bad parents make good grandparents? Is there a healing power in these multigenerational relationships. Read more at the link below:


Lori Bitter talks to AARP members at AARP’s Ideas@50+: Multigenerational lifestyles & grandparents with


AARP’s Ideas@50+ event in San Diego featured AARP TEK’s new RealPad roll-out, the introduction of Joanne Jenkins as AARP’s new CEO and stars ranging from Kevin Spacey to Julia Louis Dreyfus to Martha Stewart. – the parent of and hosted AARP members in a special “back porch” environment complete with lemonade and fresh baked cookies. Members heard from experts in senior care, caregiving, and aging in place technology. Paul Irving, Milken Institute, and author of The Upside of Aging, spoke on “Making Cities More Senior Friendly.” Lori did a presentation on “The New Multigenerational Lifestyle,” based on her new book The Grandparent Economy.

Lori speaks at Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit, June 25th 2014

On June 24th, Lori Bitter will moderate a bootcamp session on “Driving Leads and Sales in the Longevity Economy” featuring panelists from Zillner The Senior Agency and Digital Niche.

The bootcamp description:
Nothing has changed the marketing and lead generation landscape like digital and social media. See what innovative companies are doing to stand out, acquire customers and drive sales. Attendees will learn key strategies for leveraging sales with digital and traditional media; best practices in display advertising, social media, content partnerships and video; and using personalization, consumer data and re-targeting to enhance conversion.

The Summit:
The Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit, scheduled for June 25th at Santa Clara University, pairs investors with entrepreneurs who can bring innovative products and services for the longevity economy to market.

The 11th Annual Summit opens with “Breakfast with the Angels” – a networking opportunity for attendees to connect with and learn from angel investors. The Breakfast features a market overview and is convened by Dr. Sanjaya Kumar, Managing Partner, Synepta Group, Inc.

Analyst Briefings lead off the day, moderated by Eric Taub of the New York Times, and includes presentations by Rebecca McKinney of Sabi, Inc.; Laurie Orlov, Aging in Place Technology Watch; and Jody Holtzman, AARP. The Washington Town Hall Meeting will focus on Medicare, Technology and the aging population.

Afternoon sessions focus on Crowd Capital with Daniel Gorfine, Milken Institute; Greg Simon, Poliwogg; and Alisa Cordesius, Indiegogo; followed by Investment Priorities featuring Intel Capital, Cambia Health, Pinnacle Ventures, VNA Health Group, Viant Group, Comcast Ventures, Linkage Ventures, and Aging2.0.

The 2014 Summit also features the eleventh annual Business Plan Competition with a $10,000 grand prize for excellence in one of the following areas: bio-design, medical devices, geriatrics and gerontology, or “aging in place” technology. Plus five companies will Pitch for Distribution to executives from VNA Health Group,,, Linkage Ventures, HomeInstead Inc., Yahoo!, AARP Services and InnovateLTC.

The Summit is preceded on Tuesday, June 24th by Bootcamps specially designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs on the topics of:
• Driving Leads and Sales in the Longevity Economy
• Creating Products and Services in a Regulated Environment
• After the Start-Up: Stories about Building & Scaling a Successful Business
• Tools for Entrepreneurs: Hack Your Way to Success

To learn more about the 2014 Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit and Business Plan Competition, and register, visit

How This Woman Reinvented Herself By Chasing Her Own Brand After 50, John Tarnoff talks with Lori on Huffington Post

For the Year of the Boomer — 2014 is the year the youngest Boomers turn 50 — here is another installment in my survey of 50 Boomers across 10 career categories who have reinvented themselves within the last 10 years.

“After 50, you have to chase your own brand, and become your own kind of leader.” This is Lori Bitter’s advice to Boomers contemplating (or being forced to contemplate) a career reinvention. Bitter has excellent credentials in this department, having “failed upwards,” as she puts it, through a series of high-powered executive positions in the advertising industry, and now running her own branding and marketing consulting practice called The Business of Aging.

Bitter’s moment of truth occurred on her 50th birthday in 2009. As President of JWT Boom, a division of JWT, part of global ad agency WPP, she was in charge of developing marketing and ad strategies focused on the Boomer demographic. But management had other plans: citing their belief that the Boomer market had been terminally crippled by the Recession, they laid her off. Incredulous, she couldn’t believe that she was not being given the opportunity to continue a very successful run, and to manage through the economic crisis. She felt that she had been a “good girl, and had done everything right,” respected the company and had been loyal. Furious, she did something she says now that she never would have been able to do before: she fought back, walking out with her clients and a cadre of close associates to form a new agency, The Continuum Crew. Her strong emotions gave her the strength to stand up for herself, despite threats that JWT would invoke their non-compete clause. But she prevailed, and spent the next few years building a business that was truly hers. Looking back, she reflects “It was like, I hit 50 and I became more me.”

This is one of the keys that distinguishes the reinvention process at this stage in our lives: it has to have a more authentic ring to it. Bitter echoes a feeling that I’m sure we all either feel, or aspire to feeling: life is too short at this point to make any more life or career decisions that don’t feel right. While we may survive in the short term with a job that merely pays the bills, it is a bad idea in the longer term.

At the beginning of her career, Bitter had blossomed under the guidance and mentorship of her first boss, a legendary ad exec. Later, at JWT, she had the imprimatur of a global agency behind her. In her new firm, she realized that she had to rely 100% on herself. “The scariest part was to become the thought leader and put myself out there… to learn social media, and learn PR — stepping up to a place where I never thought I would have to be.”

While the new agency was successful, Bitter began to feel like she was making compromises she didn’t want to make. She realized that the “world was sending me a big karmic message,” and that she had to decide how she wanted to spend her time, and with whom she wanted to spend it. In the end, it became clear that the new venture would need to shut down. If getting fired from JWT was unsettling, closing The Continuum Crew felt like even more of a public failure. But for Bitter, it was the right thing to do. And she gleaned an important philosophical truth from the experience: “You don’t learn unless you get bounced around.” She had learned a great deal running her own shop, and it had made her more aware of new ways of doing business in the online world. So, in her estimation, “I failed to a better place.”

After taking a break, what she calls her “90-day pity party,” Bitter re-emerged with a new focus, which became The Business of Aging. “I had finished a big piece of research for AARP on the grandparent market, and was also becoming a grandparent myself.” She realized that businesses need to know that there is not only value in the Boomer space, but that there is a valuable market that includes parents, moms, and grandparents.

Bitter feels that she has an opportunity in her practice to do a better job of serving all generations, not just older people, and that this authentic personal investment has paid off on many levels: “When you take work that is interesting and meaningful to you, the money shows up. That level of personal honesty about my career has changed all the relationships in my life.”

Reinventions can be planned, or may be forced upon us, but for Bitter, there is one key preparation element that we can’t ignore: “A lot of people, as they age, think they don’t have to keep learning. You have to read the tea leaves: we’re in a world of individualization and self- promotion. If you’re not taking care of yourself, even in a big company, as a personal brand, you’re going to get left behind.” Thanks to John Tarnoff, Career Reinvention consultant for Boomers, Educator, Recovering Hollywood exec.

Is Grandparenting the “ultimate do-over?”

Read Lori Bitter’s comments in the Huffington Post story:

Growing up, Ed White spent relatively little time with his father, who worked in a power plant, climbing from engineer to vice president. His dad put in long hours, leaving early in the morning and coming home late. After dinner, he would read the newspaper, then do more work.  Read more . . .


LinkedIn and Older Workers – CNBC

Lori Bitter comments on LinkedIn and the value of the social site to older employees.

LinkedIn’s Older Endorsers

Season 3: The Business of Aging Radio – Engaging Older Consumers with Your Brand

Join Lori Bitter as she explores mature consumer engagement with Michele Ahlman, CEO of ClearSounds, in the kick off of the new season of The Business of Aging Radio, now featured on the Silvers Channel of RadioActive Broadcasting Network.

Episode 2: The Business of Marketing to the 50+ Market

The Internet of Things: Big Thinking for Older Consumers in 2013

Lori’s latest blog post for MediaPost Communications Engage Boomer blog, discusses the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, and it’s relevancy to the mature consumer market. Many of the presentations focus on technology that monitors consumers, and much is focused on health care, caregiving and health-related reporting. To truly capture the imagination and marketshare of the lucrative boomer consumer market, we need to pull back to the larger concept of the “the Internet of things.” First coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, the concept recognized the issue of the computer — and the Internet — being dependent on human action for information. He recognized a more human environment where people have no time and little attention.

Read Lori’s MediaPost Communications Engage Boomer blog post Big Thinking for Older Consumers in 2013: The Internet of Things here.