Welcome to AAF Thought Leadership 2012!

In less than an hour the AAF (in partnership with AARP) will host a nationwide thought leadership forum focused on baby boomers and their perspective on multicultural brand messaging and media content. The discussion starts here in Washington, D.C., and will be simulcast live to host sites in Atlanta, Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Each host site location will feature a panel of industry executives weighing in on the topic as well as an audience of industry professionals sharing their opinions too.

In addition to these live panel discussions we’ll have bloggers covering each location and providing postmortem insights which will be posted to the AAFTL Blog throughout the day and into next week. This is vital information for anyone looking to improve their brand messaging and content targeted to baby boomers.

We encourage those in attendance to share their thoughts via Twitter using the hashtag #AAFTL.

The goal here is to get people talking about industry issues that truly matter.

Boomers, What’s Your Data Worth?

Courtesy of MediaPost’s “Engage:Boomers”

By Nick Lucente

It’s apparent that Boomers represent a significant segment of Web and social media consumers. The elephant in the room here is data. In a world where Boomers basically feel ignored by advertisers, online behavioral data may hold the key to successfully — and accurately — communicating with them.

An important caveat: navigating the precarious gray area that is online privacy. Currently, our data lives on the networks where we create it, from emails to simple web browsing, and in categories that include basic shopping data to financial or medical information. Our activities are tracked, and data is stored (and sold) so that marketers may better target their advertising and messaging.

While identity theft is still the greatest threat to online privacy, concerns over behavioral data are on the rise, due in part, no doubt, to the growth of social networks. A recent Ad Agearticle reveals that nearly 50% of those 55-64 years old are concerned about the collection of their behavioral data, compared with 33% of Millennials.

So far, the flawed approach to this growing practice is raising red flags regarding privacy, particularly for Boomers, most of whom look askance at online tracking. The reason? Most marketers miss some of the contextual data surrounding users’ online behavior. Ever seen those Facebook ads that are either frighteningly accurate or completely off the mark? Here’s an example: a male consumer, aged 55, is looking online to purchase a birthday present for his significant other (let’s say it’s the shoes she’s been talking about nonstop since she saw them in a magazine). Most likely, he’s considering a one-time search with this type of retailer. Because his data is tracked, the next time he logs on, he’s bombarded by ads for women’s shoes. Not exactly what you’d call a pleasant online experience.

Research shows that most Boomers are dissatisfied with marketing messages, feeling that companies are disconnected from their everyday realities. Getting everyone on the same page may be the key to successfully marketing to this demographic. So how can companies collect Boomer data and address privacy concerns?

Start with trust. Companies should openly communicate the trustworthiness of their site and what they intend to do with any collected data. Let the customer know what you’re collecting, why you’re collecting it, what you’ll do with it, and the security measures in place. The online financial industry enjoys the highest rates of consumers’ trust for this very reason.

Allow control. Put your Boomer customers in control of their online data, both in the ability to opt out and in choosing what to share. Today’s tracking opt-out process can be complicated and frustrating for customers, and may negatively impact your company if you’re caught using personal data in a way that’s perceived unfavorably.

Understand roles. Each digital platform can perform a specific role in a Boomer’s online experience. Understand the parts they play, the data created on them, and how you can utilize it in a way that makes the experience more meaningful without compromising privacy. Social networking, for example, has brought a renewed sense of connection for Boomers. Understand how the data they create can enhance their experiences on these networks.

Provide value. Create a better online experience or provide actual compensation. Amazon, for example, uses personal data to provide shopping suggestions, and executes this function very well. As new companies begin to define the data industry, it’s possible that monetary rewards and incentives will be offered in exchange for permission to track and collect information (along with guaranteed privacy). This model will allow companies to purchase data in the segment of their choice, creating accountability for the collector, a much easier access process, and a secure online experience for the consumer.

Both marketers and Boomers stand to gain from a mutually agreed-upon exchange of data, and some even believe that the solution may lie within the makeup of this nascent industry. Marketers must address the privacy concerns of their Boomer customers with clarity and consistency, while at the same time, avoid triggering more anxiety around it. Whatever the collection method, more data on these potential customers means a higher likelihood of “getting it right” when it comes to the message.

Post your response to the public Engage:Boomers blog.

See what others are saying on the Engage:Boomers blog.

Nicholas Lucente is Mature Marketing Consultant at Varsity, a mature marketing communications agency based in Harrisburg, Pa.

Welcome to the new AAFTL.com

Thank you for visiting the new and improved AAFTL.com! We are so happy to be back for yet another installment the Thought Leadership Forum.  This two-part, nationally simulcast discussion will take place on Thursday, April 26, 2012 and will focus on Boomer’s Perspectives on Multicultural Brand Messaging and Media Content. The goal is to provide direction for the development of brand messaging that speaks to Boomers and effective ad placement within media content.

If you have not done so already, please consider joining the the audience or becoming a guest panelist.  Spots will be filling up quickly so be sure to head over to the participation page and submit your form today!

In the coming weeks we will be updating the website with information regarding our partnering companies, additional host-site locations, site moderators, intelligence panelists, guest bloggers, and more! In the meantime you can stay tuned in to the AAFTL blog, as we will be posting relevant information and articles which you may feel free to comment on or share to your own websites or blogs.

Thanks again for visiting!

-AAF Thought Leadership Team




When Millennials Take Charge…

Photo Credit: www.newmuseum.org

Most of us have witnessed the older generations’ struggle in learning to effectively manage Generation Y. However, a growing trend arising as the millennial generation continues to enter the workforce is young Millennials managing older Boomer generation employees.

We’ve stumbled upon one blog that attacks the issue by offering guidelines for Millennials having trouble managing Boomers.


  • · Respect Boomers’ experience and use it. Ask them about the history of projects and relationships. Rely on their expertise.
  • · Don’t worry about being talked down to. It’s hard for me to type that, but I’m sure that Boomers probably come across as patronizing when addressing a Millennial boss. The Boomer’s generation valued experience and time on the job. That won’t change overnight.
  • · Prove you can learn. Engage a Boomer as a confidante or mentor in his or her area of expertise. Lead by learning.
  • · Use your natural collaborative tendencies and engage Boomers as fellow teammates. Help them work together. Your understanding of teamwork is very different from theirs.
  • · Don’t assume their way is like yours. My part-time Millennial staffer just accused me of trying to make something harder than it needs to be. I won’t admit to TRYING to make it harder, but that was the effect. The Millennial is right.


  • · Let go of your ego. Think about all the performance reviews you don’t have to deal with because you’re NOT the boss. Think about how much better you can sleep at night, because the Millennial boss has the problems.
  • · Stop parenting. If you want to give advice, ask permission first. Something along the line of “Is it OK if I share with you what I’m thinking?” Or “Do you want to hear how I would handle that?”
  • · Don’t dig in your heels and refuse to change. Business and life are about constant change these days. Deal with it. Solve problems rather than create them.
  • · Offer the benefit of your experience, but do so in private. This is similar to “stop parenting.” Don’t embarrass your Millennial boss by correcting him, based on your experience, in front of others. You may be right, but spectators will think you’re a fill-in-the-blank. And it isn’t good.

Read the full article here.

Intergenerational Managing: from Boomers to Millennials

Unlocking the Secret to Managing Millennials

Article found in USA Today (link)

The expectations regarding work lies differently in the hearts of Millennials compared to those of older generations. In exploring their individual identities and places in the world, Millennials tend to strive for a balance between their work and personal lives, giving way to different work habits. The tech-savvy, independent culture they grow up in calls for a management style that can embrace and optimize this generation’s full working productive potential.

In this article by Steve Strauss of USA Today, Strauss provides a few tips for struggling boomer generation managers in their quest to successfully managing this generation to their full potential. A few tips include:

  • Connectivity: Millennials are from a culture of connectivity and work and strive in a connected environment, even if it means a company Instant Messenger on their Blackberries.
  • Remove categories for Personal Time Off such as sick time, vacation time, etc. and give them a set number of PTO days. This will make the millennial employees feel respected and will not make them feel they need to lie.
  • Set up regular meetings between managers and employees where Millennials can give input about their experience working at the organization. A give-and-take relationship with the company will make them more loyal and dedicated.

Find more tips in the full article.