22 Aug I’m Over the “M” Word; Looking Beyond Millennials & Marketing
I’ll admit it. I’m sick of using, hearing, worrying about and strategizing around the M-word.
Before I make anyone upset, it’s clear that millennials bring real assets and expectations to the table, from digital savvy to a desire for collaboration and transparency. I love the creativity I see from millennials! But here’s the thing. These traits aren’t unique to millennials and never have been. Every generation has its boundary-pushers and you certainly didn’t have to be born from 1980-2000 to live on your iPhone or embrace social media. Example: me. Born in 1974 (yes, I’m outing my age and proud GenX status) and always been an early adapter to technology and automation of any kind. Imagine my thrill when things like project management and social media management began to have automation!
I believe we all live with a purpose. Young people aren’t the only ones who seek out purpose in their career. Sure some people work just to cash the paycheck, but many have sought out a career that both fulfills the bank account and soul.
So why all the fuss and attention to the millennial market? Businesses have been encouraged to pour resources into marketing to this demographic. HR teams have set their sights on recruiting millennials and catering to millennial tastes. But like every generation before them, there will be one after them. Putting a pause on the millennial button for a moment…what’s next?
Let’s get to know them, shall we?
- Who is Generation C?
Back in 2012, digital analyst Brian Solis defined Generation C as the “Connected Consumer.” He pointed out that anyone who integrates technology into their daily routine, regardless of age, shares certain qualities.
“It is how people embrace technology, from social networks to smartphones to intelligent appliances, that contributes to the digital lifestyle that is now synonymous with Gen C,” he wrote.
Solis wasn’t the first to talk about Gen C. As early as 2004, researchers were noting a new cross-generational group made up of the digitally savvy who find and consume products in distinct ways. Depending on what you read, the “C” in Gen C can refer to everything from “collaboration” to “community,” “computerized,” and “content.” What do they all have in common? Connection. Let’s go with that!
- What ages comprise Gen C?
A trick question my friends. Gen C isn’t an age group, it’s a mindset. Inclusive is the best descriptor here. You can be 12 years old or 85 years old. All you need to be a (digital) card carrying member is the desire and ability to digitally consume, create and curate content. Not unique to the millennials, connectivity and/or Gen C isn’t a new idea but rather a new way to start thinking about how you market.
- How does Gen C interact with the world?
Ask yourself, where to you get your news? How do you shop? What do you seek out for professional development? If all of these point back to digital consumption, you are Gen C. Generation C lives on digital media, first, last and always. They move seamlessly from laptop to smartphone, always connected. Most important to this discussion isn’t what they are using, but how they are using them. Streaming video and social media dominate Gen C’s time spent online. Also important to note, responding and interacting–through comments, emojis, memes and gifs is as important as reading or watching.
- How do you reach Gen C?
Getting Gen C’s attention depends on reaching them where they live and through those they trust. Toss out your notions of conventional digital ads (because ad-blocking.) Think a word-of-mouth recommendation on Facebook, a funny meme that goes viral, or a thumbs up from a trusted Influencer. Targeting Gen C means having a keen understanding of what’s click-worthy.
And, this won’t come as a surprise, make a real connection with Gen C is built on a strong foundation of social media.
Gen C is everywhere and INCLUDES many millennials. But it also includes a lot of Gen X, Y and even Boomers. So let’s put the tortured millennial concept to bed. Think how we can market in a connected way and you are on to the next best thing!