For Immediate Release — February 24, 2005


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516



Students marketing book geared toward baby boomers

GENESEO, N.Y. — They may only be one-third the age of its intended market, but students at the State University of New York at Geneseo are being counted on to devise ways to sell a book geared toward baby boomers.

Rochester resident Pamela York Klainer — founder of Power and Money, LLC and author of "How Much is Enough?" — is in the midst of writing "Boomers Turning 60: A Route Map for Life’s Latest Stage." She also recently donated $100,000 to SUNY Geneseo to establish The Pamela York Klainer Center for Women and Business in the college’s Jones School of Business. That’s when she got the idea for the marketing plan competition, and she kicked in an additional $25,000 to be distributed as prize money.

Klainer, who received her master’s degree in elementary education from Geneseo in 1971, recalls what it was like to be in the classroom and then going out into the workforce. In the real world, she noted, marketers are expected to take an interest in and be experts in products they are expected to sell. So she’s expecting to see some marketing plans that will be used in tandem with the publisher’s marketing and public relations campaign during its first year on the market. If the book turns a profit, she has agreed to split 50 percent of the book’s net profits with the Klainer Center for five years.

"What we’re trying to do is mimic as close as possible the situations they’re going to be in," Klainer said. "In a business setting, there’s a bunch of work to do. You have to cultivate the ability to be interested in what you’ve been given or assigned."

The competition is open to students who have taken specific business and communication courses. The top three student teams, along with a faculty mentor on each team, will receive cash prizes of $12,000, $8,000 and $5,000. The plans will be completed April 1 and the winners announced April 12 during an event at the center.

Although Klainer is still in the writing stages, she said the book is about the life changes people in the boomer generation — those born between 1946 and 1964 — are going through. Klainer experienced her own life-altering change in April 2003 when her husband, Jerry, died suddenly. He was almost 60 and was training for a coast-to-coast bicycle trip. Her life dramatically changed, as it has for several of her friends and acquaintances.

She told students about people she knows, including one woman who is dating a man whose wife is in a care facility because of severe Alzheimer’s. Another woman, after nearly a half-century of marriage to a mentally ill man, left her husband after she reconnected with her high school sweetheart, with whom she had lost touch after he went off to serve in World War II. Another woman, 67, recently sold her business that brought women on bicycle tours around the globe. Now she will do that on the side, while her partner continues her business leading hiking tours. Each story ties in with the people’s financial stories.

"It’s clearly saying to the boomer generation, this is happening to you. Whether you like it or not, you’re turning 60," Klainer told the Geneseo students during a recent visit to talk about the competition.

Jones School of Business Dean Mary Ellen Zuckerman said the marketing competition winners will be announced at an April event at the college.

"It’s extremely unusual for an undergraduate school to have this kind of competition," said Zuckerman.

Christopher Hart, 21, a junior business administration major, is glad to have the opportunity to craft a marketing plan.

"I think it will be a big step toward where I want to go," he said. "Overall, it’s going to make me a better marketer."

Elizabeth "Bitsy" Gorman, 21, a senior communication major from the Long Island town of Northport, jumped at the chance to prove her marketing skills.

"Especially with graduation sneaking up on me, it’s important for me to get as much experience as is possible for when I enter the job market," she said. "It would also be nice to have some start-up cash for the real world."

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