With the bulk of baby boomers heading into their golden years, the next wave of grandparents is pegged to be the biggest ever, with Age Wave Communications projecting a headcount of 80 million in the US by 2010. But more importantly, they’ll also be way more computer-savvy than any other generation.
A trio of enterprising mothers looked at these market facts, saw them reflected in their own family lives, and smelled a niche in the making. So Heidi Kurlander-Kail, Loryn Franco and Sloane Feldman decided to team up and funnel their collective professional skills in marketing, ad sales and PR into launching EverythingGrandkids.com. The six-month-old site consists of a portal and free newsletter that deliver information about toys, family travel, investment, kids fashion and health & safety issues to involved grandparents who want to keep on top of all the things that will touch on the lives of their grandkids.
The content highlights products and services that grandparents can take advantage of in their ongoing quest to spend quality time and form a stronger bond with their kids’ kids. At press time, for example, the site featured a guide to nut-free snacks and a roundup of cool outdoor toys just in time for the summer holidays, when many kids go stay with their grandparents for a week or two.
A recent AARP study showed that grandparents spend US$30 billion annually on their grandkids, putting up the cash for one out of every four toys purchased in the US, so they are a really important consumer demographic for anyone managing a kid-targeted licensing program. And online is a good way to reach them, given that December 2006 data from the PEW Internet and American Life Project revealed that 33% of Americans 65 years of age and older are online. And as far back as 2005, the project found that 93% were sending and reading emails, and 65% had gone online to research a product or service.
EverythingGrandkids.com is certainly feeling that increase in online activity. The fledgling site’s readers are already posting enough of their own recommendations that Kurlander-Kail, Franco and Feldman are looking to revamp the interface for soliciting these leads, as well as adding a function for uploading family photos.
Relying on word-of-mouth and links to build the site’s presence and readership until now, the founders are in the midst of putting together a press kit with the coverage they’ve received and already have a home page ad for Hewlett-Packard’s Snapfish digital print service. Although they wouldn’t divulge site analytics or newsletter circulation figures, the three women stress the value of the newsletter’s opt-in reader list for potential advertisers and sponsors. Apart from the newsletter, they also do dedicated email blasts that Feldman says ‘potential partners, such as toy companies, could use to tap into our audience in our voice.’