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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.

Autumn Issue of C2 magazine: The Future of Caring

So much has changed since our last issue of C2! The one constant is that the economic outlook continues to provoke anxiety. Older adults appear to be faring better in some respects than younger generations, though our studies show they continue to live under a cloud of worry. Many are expressing this as the loss of the American dream for younger generations, particularly their children and grandchildren.

Continuum Crew has experienced positive growth as the mature consumer market continues to be able to spend on a number of products and services for themselves and their extended families. In fact, a new MetLife Report on American Grandparents (July 2011) notes that households led by those aged 55 to 64 increased their non-health related spending by an average of $11,700 over the past ten years, when their household income rose just $1,200. Further, in the same ten-year period 55- to 64-year-olds spent $7.6 billion on baby food, infant equipment and clothing, toys, games, and tricycles – a 71% increase. Household spending for the 25- to 44-year-old households with children present saw a far smaller rate of increase indicating that baby boomer grandparents are helping in all new ways. (Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys).

It has never been more important to listen carefully to consumers to understand what they want from products and services, and how they want to be engaged. Continuum Crew launched Crew Media earlier this year to purchase – the only baby boomer social network. Founded in 2006 by Jeff Taylor, also founder of, Eons has more than 800,000 members who have started more than 1,700 groups focused on their passions and interests. Learn more about it from community manager Ri Regina on page 13.

Also under the Crew Media banner is our partnership with GRAND – the digital magazine for the grandparenting lifestage. As a first-time grandmother to baby Gabriel McClain, I am proud to be GRAND’s new publisher.

Another initiative we launched this past spring is Move Beyond Age, a coalition of individuals and companies who are committed to making smart design a quality of life issue. We are encouraging companies to design better products and services for older consumers, which in turn create better experiences for every generation. Take a look at Jeffrey DeMure’s article on the Bookend Markets, Bill Yates on GreatCall, and Stephen Winner on the Silverado Story, for examples of companies and thought leaders who understand the importance of designing smart products and services.

Also new to Continuum Crew is The Business of Aging radio show on WeEarth Global Radio Network – WGRN. The show is also available here on our blog and on iTunes. In this issue we share our first show of the season, an interview with Patricia Lippe Davis from AARP Media Sales on her view of the mature consumer marketplace. We are currently in our second season and hope you will join our listenership as we talk about successful strategies for engaging consumers over 40.

With that, I am pleased to present to you our latest issue of 
C2 magazine, Issue 27, Autumn 2011

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm for our market and our work here at Continuum Crew!

Lori Bitter,
Editor-in-Chief, C2 magazine

Thank you for a great first season of The Business of Aging radio program – See you in September!

We have just completed our first block of episodes for The Business of Aging on WGRN (WeEarth Global Radio Network) and I wanted to say “Thank you” to all my guests, the team: Allan, Kat, Nick and Judy, and my Continuum Crew team. These last couple of months have enabled me to get back to my radio roots (so much fun!) and have some of the most insightful and inspiring conversations around the implications to businesses of an aging population.

Learn More →

GrandCare System’s Aging & Technology Webinar: Paid Search & Search Engine Optimization 101

If you are in the aging and technology space, you may already know GrandCare System’s webinars are very good. On a recent call, during the Q&A, many questions came up regarding paid search & search engine optimization. The GrandCare System team approached us to talk about these topics, offering a primer on what they were, how to determine using them make sense for you, what they can do for your business and what you need to do to be found and noticed by your customers online.  Join us tomorrow and bring more of those questions!

Topic: Paid Search (PPC) & SEO 101
Date: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
Time: 2pm EDT (1pm CDT / 12p MDT / 11am PDT)

Take-away Points:

  • Paid Search & SEO: How they can be used and the differences they can make for your business.
  • Get a better understanding of the costs to execute Paid Search and SEO strategies
  • Steps for getting started with Paid Search and SEO

  • Click here for the invite & more information.

    Listening, Not Shouting

    In 2008, I read a paper titled “The Connected Agency” by Mary Beth Kemp and Peter Kim, for Forrester. The sub-head is “Marketers: Partner with an agency that listens instead of shouts.” It is a smart, insightful and important paper. It changed the way I think about what I do as an ad agency leader and the direction that the agency world needed to take. I believed then, as I do now, that the idea of “listening” is even more important if your goal is to engage consumers over the age of 40.

    Make a better “agency”
    Simply put, as agency leaders we must create better agencies. The idea that we can still shout at consumers with a :30 television spot — especially older consumers — is absurd. Yet we still have creative and new business teams that believe this is the central tactic in a campaign strategy.

    In the mature consumer space, we are both agency and strategic advisor because many companies are unsure about how to navigate the demo. That requires the infrastructure and expertise to do both, and the investment in the right people to deliver on consulting projects — like defining the needs of an aging population and designing product strategies that align with a company’s goals. At Continuum Crew, we have broadened the idea of engagement from only communication to a true marketing approach.

    Learn to nurture consumer connections
    It isn’t enough to simply listen in on conversations about products, categories and brands. This new breed of agency knows how to nurture connections with consumers and is central to facilitating conversations. Traditional research and ethnographic studies are cost of entry. To be a true connected agency you must be completely integrated into a community. Johnson & Johnson has done this on the brand side with; it owns the motherhood life stage because it has conversations with moms, it listens to moms and it aligns product and communication strategy accordingly.

    We are doing this with our recent launch of Crew Media and the acquisition of and the Eons Boom Media Ad Network. In just a short month of owning the site, we have a clear idea of what people over 40 care about, where their passions and interests lie, and what they do and don’t want in a community.

    In the Eons community, consumers are the publishers. They are setting group protocol and behavior and, most importantly, filtering out brands that don’t share the groups’ values. We have always advised clients that peer endorsement in mature consumer demos is far more important than pushed out messaging. Until Eons, we haven’t seen the social proof so clearly and profoundly.

    Insights, Networks and Incubation
    Consumer listening isn’t very meaningful without the knowledge to turn it into an insight that creates a consumer moment. We encounter brands every day that have spent mega-dollars on studies with no actionable outcome. And there is the corollary — companies with great insights and no idea what to do with them, or no innovation infrastructure to support moving the insights forward.

    Whether this is a problem of silos, funding or lack of leadership, it is becoming harder to move insight-driven ideas through large companies. Connected agencies can and should act as both a catalyst and a shepherd. The catalyst will create strategic partnerships for client companies that result in networks of organizations engaged in their success and who have consumer data to share. The shepherd will drive the work through the process of integrating consumer-driven data early in the product/service design and development process.

    We believe that this model should result in virtual incubators inside of connected agencies, supported by the network. Now that our online community exists, this is our next adventure. There are pilots in market now!

    This post originally appeared as a guest blog post on MediaPost’s Engage:Boomers, May 23, 2011

    The Business of…Boomer Social Networking

    The fourth show The Business of … Boomer Social Networking looks at the opportunities in reaching boomers and seniors as they engage online through social networking.

    My guests this week are Ashley Mercier, Group Publisher for, an online social network for baby boomers,  and Ri Regina, Director of the Eons Community. We also speak to Mary Furlong, founder of Mary Furlong & Associates, author of Turning Silver into Gold: How to Profit in the New Boomer Marketplace, and producer of The What’s Next Boomer Business Summit. She is a leading authority on the baby boom generation. Mary is the Dean’s Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. Mary gives us an update on the outcomes and findings from the first of the two annual conferences she produces –  The What’s Next Boomer Business Summit which was held in San Francisco last week, as well as a lead on next month’s Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit and business plan competition in June at Santa Clara University.

    Ashley Mercier
    Group Publisher

    Ri Regina
    Eons Community

    Mary Furlong
    Mary Furlong & Associates

    The Business of Aging with Lori Bitter
    May 10, 2011 – Episode 4: The Business of…Boomer Social Networking

    Guests: Ashley Mercier, Group Publisher, Crew Media
                Ri Regina, Director, Eons Community
                Mary Furlong, President, Mary Furlong & Associates[audio:boa4.mp3|titles=The Business of Aging – Episode 4]
    mp3 download