Mature Market Experts Gem Of The Day: Boomers and the Wii Fit

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – Boomers and the Wii Fit – My wife and I just got a “Nintendo Wii for the kids.” According to the Wii’s virtual fitness trainers on the Wii Fit game, the first time I stepped on the Wii pad, I was 15 years older than my actual age. Pretty disheartening for a guy who’s active and regularly runs marathons. I blame it on my poor balance which the game tends to penalize. Anyway, this morning I tried it again, and knocked it down to just 4 years over my actual age so I’m making progress.

No one should confuse the Wii Fit program for real science or a real cardiovascular workout but there is definitely something to be had with the concept. For example, for someone who has never had anything to do with Yoga or stretching, the Fit introduces some worthwhile drills. Most importantly, it introduces some areas to work on to improve key deficiencies (i.e. falls are the number one cause of hospitalizations among seniors, so balance is definitely worth working on). The Wii is not there yet, but it doesn’t take a genius to see where this technology is headed.

In the meantime, Nintendo … by incorporating the mature market … continues to trounce their competition.



As I’ve mentioned before, When I was at Erickson, heading up the advertising team, the brilliantly creative interactive team produced a series of incredibly cool/funny videos centered around Wii bowling at their retirement communities. Definitely worth watching!

Note: The Washington Post did an excellent review on Wii Fit.


Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Mature Market Reasons For Being Healthy

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – Reasons For Being Healthy – “An annual research conducted by The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) among 1,500+ U.S. Boomers in early 2007 provides rich insight into the Boomer lifestyle and identifies many marketplace opportunities. Boomers expect to live to an average age of 81 years old, and half want to live to be 100. However, 26 percent feel they are less healthy than they expected to be at their current age, and half of Boomers feel their physical health is worse than just 10 years ago—perhaps not surprising since only 11 percent rate their health as excellent.

The number of health conditions Boomers are managing may be contributing to their overall less-than-healthy status. The top conditions they are currently managing are the need to lose weight (40 percent), high blood pressure (35 percent), joint pain (30 percent) and high cholesterol (29 percent). As high blood pressure and obesity are both serious risk factors for heart disease and stroke—the number one and number three causes of death in the United States, respectively—Boomers appear to be headed towards early “retirement”.

While Boomers’ futures may seem bleaker than anticipated regarding their health, they do make the connection between a healthy lifestyle and an extended lifespan, with over half (57 percent) connecting a healthy lifestyle to the desire to live longer (Figure 2).

healthier-lifestyle4 mature market experts

Interestingly, half of Boomers were driven to a healthier lifestyle to look better. Playing on this vanity issue may be one way to increase compliance to a healthier mindset, as evidenced by the significant growth of the cosmeceutical industry.

While their understanding is on target, Boomers may require increased assistance in making healthy living an actual lifestyle change. Half are thinking about a healthy lifestyle to lose weight, yet Boomers face many challenges regarding their weight and proper nutrition.

Weight a Minute…

Fewer than one out of five Boomers are very satisfied with their ability to maintain proper weight, and only 1 in 10 is very satisfied with being in shape. Even more concerning is the fact that less than 18 percent are very satisfied with their ability to eat a healthy and nutritious diet (Figure 1).

healthy-aging-drivers mature market experts

It’s no wonder their satisfaction is so low, with a third of Boomers confused about what to eat when it comes to eating healthy, and two-thirds feeling a healthy lifestyle is more difficult as they get older. Many industries— including the media—may unknowingly be at fault for this confusion. As the amount of information available regarding health, nutrition and well-being is being disseminated at such a high rate, it becomes difficult for anybody to assimilate it into their lifestyle. In addition to the sheer volume of content, many times the message is conflicting (e.g., vitamin E is either good or bad), creating further confusion and dissonance between behaviors and attitudes, which is especially true of the diet industry.”

Source: Natural Products Insider

Because of the overwhelming amount of information available, I believe boomers and the mature market will increasingly look for “health sherpas” to guide them down the path of good health. Fitness trainers and health care systems that recognize this opportunity will capitalize big time (ie. ICAA, The Cooper Institute , Mather Lifeways and Erickson).

Mature Market Experts Gem of The Day: Onions on pizza or blood pressure control?

CB101032 Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often: Electronic Medical Records –


“Hello, Supreme Pizza, Carmen speaking, how can I help you Dr. Applebaum?” 


How do you know my name?


“Caller ID my friend, would you like the usual, vegetarian with extra onions delivered to 23 High Side Lane?”


That would be great.  “Ok Dr. it will be there in 20 minutes and we’ll charge it to your credit card on file ok?”   Sure, thank you, goodbye.


Every day we interact with sales or service organizations that have an enormous amount of information about us in their computers. They use this information to provide accurate, efficient and timely service. We’ve come to expect this and get frustrated when we deal with companies who are “still in the stone age” – sound like your doctor, perhaps?


Most physicians have computer systems to manage the billing for their practices, but less than 10 percent of America’s primary care physicians use computers to manage their patients’ medical information.  


Several studies have measured the percent of patients who get appropriate care for common medical problems. Results vary, but are mostly in the 50-70 percent range (i.e. blood pressure control).  Imagine if you got the right pizza on 60% of your orders, or FedEx delivered 30 percent of their packages to the wrong home, or if your bank’s ATM only gave you cash 50 percent of the time. 


Obviously, these companies would be out of business in short order. All of these industries are motivated to satisfy their customers.


Our health care industry, in contrast, is paid to take care of sick people, not keep people healthy. For the most part, the “medical industrial complex” is more profitable when more people are sick, not healthy. Hence in America, we have Sick Care, not Health Care.


We would all appreciate not having to go over our entire medical history every time we meet another provider. We would also feel a lot safer if we knew that any emergency department could retrieve information about the medications we take, the allergies we have, and the tests we’ve recently endured. This would save huge sums of money and minimize redundant, uncomfortable and potentially dangerous procedures.


So how can we get American medicine on par with the trucking industry and pizza parlors?  If we wait for major health care system reform we will continue to cut down thousands of trees creating millions of incomplete, inaccurate, eligible un-searchable medical records.


Rather, we should trust that a national system of comprehensive medical records will lead to improved outcomes and decreased costs.  While the political landscape for health care system reform is a mine field, who can argue against improved information at your doctors fingertips?


Clearly the country that put a man on the moon in 8 years and won a World War in 5 is capable of building a data-base to manage all of its citizen’s medical information in a safe, secure, privacy insured system. 


The federal government could stage several competitive design and management competitions and develop a plan in less than two years.  It could be implemented in less than another two. 


The only thing needed to digitize and thereby revolutionize American health care is leadership.  So next time your Congressman asks your opinion on health care reform or a politician asks you for a contribution, ask them if they will help you control your blood pressure, or just promise you onions on you pizza.


Gary Applebaum, M.D., is a senior fellow at the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a team member of TR Mann Consulting. He is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Erickson Retirement Communities.

Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Video Games

CB041354 mature market video games

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often: Video Games –“Twenty-four percent of Americans over age 50 played video games in 2007, up from 9% in 1999, according to the Entertainment Software Association. People age 55 and older account for less than 10% of Nintendo hardware sales. That’s a slight increase from about four years ago, when the previous generation of game consoles peaked, Harrison says. Seniors have “opened up the aperture of people who previously would’ve not considered themselves to be gamers,” he says. Nintendo has been bolstering its senior-friendly image, partnering with retirement communities, including Erickson, which has received 15 free Wiis.”

Source: Aging In Place Technology Watch

Note: When I was at Erickson, heading up the advertising team, the brilliantly creative interactive team produced a series of incredibly cool/funny videos that lead to the Nintendo/Erickson relationship.

A Share of Sunrise for 4 Bits?

What are we supposed to make of this Mature Market Experts?   What is arguably (forgive me, Erickson) the most dominate brand in senior housing is trading at less than 50 cents a share as of this writing.  That same share was trading north of $26 on the first trading day of this calendar year.

                For a bit of perspective on how Sunrise might emerge from these straits, I recommend long time industry analyst and skillful writer Steve Monroe’s blog

                As a marketer, here is what I take away:

1.  Aging continues, as far as I can tell.  Although with all of the news being financial, it is possible someone has found a way to prevent it and the media hasn’t picked up on it yet.

2.  With aging, comes change.  I’d argue that a retiree experiences more change in a shorter period of time than any other age group, save perhaps infants to 3 year olds.

3.  These changes create specialized needs for a constellation of products and services.

4.  Unfortunately, most of the changes aging brings are negative – can’t drive at night, lost a spouse or a friend, grandkids are off to college, a health issue …

5.  We work for companies that provide services and products to meet the needs these changes create.

6.  Being in marketing, we are responsible for half of the most critical financial equation in the financial world – revenue.  Bringing in more revenue than expenses still carries the day.

 7.  Inspiring people to purchase your company’s products and services is, in most instances, a noble pursuit.  You improve people’s lives. 

                Now is the time to market like hell — write stronger copy … fight for that marketing budget … attend to the myriad of details … establish stronger relationships with prospects … dig deeper into that database … do more and do better.

                All in the name of inspiring more people to buy than ever before.  The times demand that we deliver extraordinary results for our customers, our companies, and ourselves. 

                That’s my two cents.  Add another 48 and you too can attend Sunrise’s next annual meeting.






Google enters the electronic health records business. Will seniors benefit?

            Today’s Baltimore Sun had a story on a partnership between Erickson Retirement Communities and three Baltimore-area hospital systems (Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar Health, and Maryland Medical System) to pioneer a health exchange systems that would give doctors and emergency room physicians quick access to patients’ medical histories. The non-profit start-up they’ve created, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, or CRISP, has allocated $250,000 in startup funds.

 Leaders in the mature market, my friends at Erickson Retirement Communities have long been at the forefront of using electronic medical records. In fact, the medical experts at Erickson already successfully use it for their 21,000+ residents (including my Dad) AND have recently been talking about bringing their model to the outside world. But they better hurry.

            Google announced in February that they have kicked off a pilot with 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic (and I guarantee you that Google is bringing more than $250,000 to the party). These patients have volunteered to allow electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google’s new service. This service won’t be open to the general public during the pilot period.

Google isn’t the first big dog joining the fight to make it easier for people to get their medical records at any time and any place. Last year, Microsoft introduced a similar service called HealthVault, and AOL co-founder Steve Case has been working on a similar service called Revolution Health. Needless to say, this is a high stakes game with lots of money at stake. But even more importantly, the future of a key component to our health care system is at play . . . much like computer operating systems . . . Windows vs. MAC OS.

I’m rooting for my friends at Erickson but it’s hard to bet against Google and Microsoft.