Issue No. 24 - August/September 2005
Marketing Week 2005
One generation from extinction
Every society, industry, and business is just one generation away from extinction.
That’s the message coming througn in the forums and interviews conducted routinely by nationally respected independent social demographer, Mark McCrindle.
Managers, marketers, and educators need to understand these changed times, he says, or risk becoming irrelevant very quickly as the pace of generational change picks up.
“I think one of the best ways to understand the market is to look at the segments of the community. You can’t market to a whole society,” Mark says.
Mark focuses his qualitative research to help leaders in sales, marketing, HR and management understand the process of generational change.
Generational models are a function of the age of the people in that segment and their “life stage” characteristics — earning capacity and observed behaviour. The key is to ‘extract the reality’ of what motivates and is relevant to them.
“This notion of the generation gap goes back to Socrates in 425 BC saying that children are tyrants,” Mark says.
“What makes the generation gaps more obvious today is technology (that enables and identifies behaviours more) and the shorter span of generations. The gaps are appearing more frequently.
“This is a real challenge for the Baby Boomers who are in the power seats of organisations now. The gap between them and their traditional target markets — generations X and Y — are growing.”
Baby Boomers remain a desirable market, but for how long?
“Some research I have done for the caravan and recreational vehicle industry tells us that business is booming catering to the ‘grey nomads’ but they understand they have to learn about generation X and learn what they will want,” Mark says.
“The Boomers are doing well, they are doing the salary sacrificing and building up their nest eggs. They have higher net worth.