If your business hopes to survive this age of digital armageddon, you have to get up close and personal with your target audience.
Consumer-facing business can be tough: who out there will realistically benefit from your product or service? If you have a hope of staying afloat in the sea of “innovative” companies it is vital you know the answer to this. Sure, you’ve done your market research, but this can’t simply be a one-off exercise. Today’s demographic are evolving constantly as shaped by our digital climate, and it’s important that you as a business do the same.
That said, for those companies who operate outside the digital sphere it may be less vital for you to get to grips with the up-and-coming Generation Zers. Your target generation could respond positively as consumers to marketing and a presence outside of the computer screen, as they were raised in a time before the internet.
It is for this reason that you should look closely at the habits, likes and – most importantly – dislikes of the varying age groups as your business navigates the waters of consumerism.
So who’s who in the generation game?
The Greatest Generation
These are arguably the oldest surviving consumer generation, having lived through WWII and beyond. Broadly bracketed as being born between 1930 and 1945, the term “Greatest Generation” originates from Tom Brokaw’s 1998 book of the same name. In the book Brokaw describes this demographic as “the greatest generation any society has ever produced” due to their experience of living with the conditions of war and the Great Depression.
The Greatests grew up in a world devoid of technology, and as such are less likely to be a go-to consumer target for innovative tech startups. This group will largely interact with local businesses and come into contact with larger corporations solely through their children and grandchildren. One to scratch off the list for most modern businesses.
The Baby Boomers
Born of the post-war “baby boom” of the late 1940s and 1950s, the Baby Boomers were the result of an emerging jubilant population. It is broadly cited that boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, and they are today’s long-serving CEOs and senior staff, the parents of the up-and-coming generation and a hugely diverse spending force.
Although boomers have spent much of their lives without the internet they have been quick to adapt; many big names in the tech industry are boomers even though they haven’t been reared entirely on a technological plain. These consumers have the most varied tastes, with a penchant for the nostalgic vintage businesses and a willingness to embrace tech.
You’ll have heard about these guys if you’re in any way connected to today’s businesses. The Millennials are the consumers of the here and now. They were reared on technology, although many of them remember a time before the internet having been born in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Millennials are social media savvy, and know their way around a smartphone like the back of their hand. They expect your business to be adapted to their needs: businesses without a mobile-optimised website can’t hope to do much business with the millennial audience, and those who aren’t quick to respond to feedback on Twitter should expect to suffer a defamation.
While millennials have the reputation of being apathetic and self-entitled, they are the consumers who are plugged into the technology most companies are now trying to push.
We recently took a closer look at Generation Z, the consumers of tomorrow. These youngsters are something entirely new; they know nothing of life before the internet, and we can guarantee that many of them treat their smartphone as if it were an extra limb.
Don’t be too quick to judge their habits, though. Generation Z are ethically minded and are less willing to do business with companies who don’t actively participate in the improvement of our global environment. Should your business show itself to be charitable and responsible you may well strike a chord with Generation Z.
Perhaps surprisingly, Generation Zers aren’t just online consumers. In fact, a large proportion of them would rather make a purchase in-store than online, so to prepare for this up-and-coming demographic your business must adapt to engage with these customers outside of the internet.
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