Boomers get their own space

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Hey, check out Grandma's online profile ... sweet.

A growing number of marketers are testing social networking, consumer-generated media and other newfangled approaches to consumer engagement on increasingly older demographics.

Take founder Jeff Taylor, who expects to launch Eons, a large community and resource website for the 50-and-over crowd by the end of the month. To get the site off the ground, Mr. Taylor has combined a number of marketing strategies not normally used to reach a mature audience. Communispace, a market-research firm, was employed to monitor an online community of people ranging from 49 to late 70s-a first for the company.

A word-of-mouth campaign was orchestrated by BzzAgent and its CEO Dave Balter, targeting potential community members over 50. More than 5,000 agents-3,500 of whom joined Eons-reached an initial 64,000 consumers. Of those, 7,000 decided to join Eons. "This demographic is highly active and eager to be involved," Mr. Balter said.

"One of the darkest days in people's lives is when they get their first mailing from AARP," said James Overall, creative director and partner at Boathouse Group, a creative agency working with Mr. Taylor. "We want people to have to the exact opposite response."

Eons, in fact, could do worse. AARP, the advocacy group for people 50 and older, posted a 21% increase in ad revenue for its magazine for the first three months of the year. Among its new advertisers are cosmetics companies, including L'Oreal, Lancome, Revlon and Aveeno.
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