The so-called technology divide is a myth, and so is the belief that, when it comes to mobile, we should baby the Boomers.
I’ve written several times about personal experiences that fly in the face of the idea that people over 40 are luddites, incapable and uninterested in using personal technology. My mother-in-law (definitely NOT a digital native) is a shining example. At age 80 she uses a Kindle. And she even mastered Windows 7 in an afternoon. And then there’s my older brother (by just a few years). He isn’t the earliest adopter in the family, but he is nipping at my heels when it comes to phones, tablets and routers.
At Mary Furlong’s recent Boomer Summit in San Francisco, we heard from several organizations that are moving their members (mostly Boomers) to mobile. Why? Because they know that their constituents’ continued success and happiness are linked to their ability to understand and use mobile.
One organization that stands out is AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), a U.S.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives. As a social welfare organization, as well as the largest membership organization for people 50+ in the U.S., AARP is leading a revolution in the way people view and live life. And now that mission includes enhancing the quality of life through mobile, a focus I applaud.
During the summit I was on a panel with Mike Lee, AARP Senior Advisor, Digital Strategy, who proudly walked us through the organization’s mobile application, which handily works on a $75 Android tablet on sale at drugstores. The first AARP app was available for Apple’s wireless devices (iPhone and iPad).
The expanded strategy has mass-market appeal and reach.
Like every organization, AARP’s motivation to go mobile involves more than an interest in serving its members. It also has to reduce massive print costs, a business objective it can best (and most effectively) achieve using mobile. AARP positions its app as a way to “save money, stay informed and share favorite content with your friends.” And what better way to share (and spread the word) than mobile?
There are 80 million Boomers in the U.S. alone – and they represent a huge and untapped opportunity. eMarketer suggests that this digitally-savvy generation, who are between 47 and 65 years old, “spend more time and money online than any other demographic.” Full stop. eMarketer further estimates that more than 86 percent of Boomers have a mobile phone. By 2012, more than 25 million Boomers will be accessing the Internet via their mobile device. Believing that your mobile programs should only cater to the 40-and-below crowd is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
(Read the rest of my MSearchgroove post here - http://www.mobilegroove.com/why-mobile-marketers-must-include-boomers-in-the-mix/)