A Glimpse to the Future of Marketing

Anyone actively participating in the Marketing, Media or Communication industry these days, would agree that the market is transforming right in front of our eyes.

Technology is becoming more advanced at a rapid rate, with a keen focus on investment in data and communication platforms globally. New initiatives promising bigger reach, more interactivity, and better accessibility and visibility for our brands are being discussed and analysed in open forums the world over – and a term which we have loosely come to know at the end of the 20th century as ‘New Media’, is suddenly turning marketing as we know it on its head.

For those who are not that familiar with this term, what differentiates New Media from Traditional Media is the digitization of content, i.e. enabling digital interactivity. When we think of New Media, we think of elements such as the Internet, Websites, Digital Communities, Computer Games, DVD’s, and of course the new kid on the block which everyone knows, and owns, Mobile.

Now, if New Media elements have been around for the better part of the last two decades, then surely the questions we should be asking ourselves are: “Why is this suddenly so prominent?” and “Does this affect the way that I need to market my business going forward?”.

For those who are intent on hiding with your head in the sand and continuing on with ‘same old, same old’, there is bad news – this is not a phase, it is here to stay and what we are seeing is only the beginning.

In order for us to successfully embrace this transformation, we’ll first have to understand the market, and more accurately, the people who drive it.

Below are interesting stats to illustrate how different generations bring with them changing trends – and make no mistake that this is a global phenomenon.

Roughly 70% of the world population is of a relevant age which would make them suited to form part of the global workforce.

Currently entering the workforce is Generation Y. These individuals are in their 20’s, born mid-1980’s and later, with numbers estimated as high as 23% of the population (around 33% of the total workforce).

Generation Y is also known as the Millennials and is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. They are Tech-Savvy having grown up with technology and they rely on it to perform their jobs better.

These Millennials are armed with BlackBerrys, laptops, cellphones and many more gadgets. They are plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These are the tools which they know, and that they are bringing into the workforce with them.

Then there is Generation X. Born between 1965 and 1980, these individuals are largely in their 30’s and early 40’s. Generation X marks the period after the baby boom and is significantly smaller than previous and succeeding generations. They form around 17% of the population (less than 25% of the workforce).

The Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are predominately in their late 40’s and 50’s. They are well-established in their careers and hold positions of power and authority – and they represent more than 30% of the population (over 40% of the workforce).

Labour statistics indicate that Baby Boomers are retiring at an alarming rate and that the vast majority of this generation will exit the workplace in the next decade.

And then we have a relatively new classification known as Generation T (referring to individuals who are 12 years old or younger). It’s been said that Gen-T will refuse to touch a piece of paper by the time they enter the workforce.

I’ll leave the maths up to you. Where do you think your marketing focus should be?

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