May 28, 2015

Generational Bias May Not Be Founded

“Know your audience” is the marketing industry’s equivalent to Socrates’ directive “gnothi seauton” (though perhaps marketing could use a little more self-awareness from time to time).

Know your audience. It sounds like a simple imperative, especially when big data allows us to see trends that in the past would have seemed unfathomable or strictly hypothetical. This understanding is even more available when we consider all the interactions that occur publically across different social media platforms, providing direct feedback on our marketing efforts.

Understanding your audience is essential during the brainstorming process before launching a marketing campaign. However, from a practical standpoint it is necessary to know where that audience resides. Traditionally choosing a platform for a particular marketing campaign has relied heavily on demographics, such as using print media and television for Baby Boomers and social for Millennials. But as hinted at in our previous post on multi-pronged marketing, and expounded upon by Liane Dietrich in her recent post on Marketing Land, this arbitrary division of different platforms should come to an end.

We (Were) the Future


(via by Jeff Sheldon)

Liane writes, “Cross-device behavior is often seen as being associated with Millennials. This young, tech-savvy demographic group of digital natives is known for using multiple platforms to connect with brands, research, and shop for products.” As a member of Generation-Y myself, I understand the point that she makes here. I use Twitter for social interactions, LinkedIn for business networking and Netflix for entertainment. Not only that, my entire career has taken place sitting in front of a computer screen (a little sad, but true).

Often times the driving force behind this level of engagement across different platforms comes from a generational desire to do things better, more efficiently and to not heed the warnings and advice of earlier generations (for better or worse). In fact, old media in some ways has been dubbed “old” because of its association with its primary demographic. I remember one time when I wanted to get a new bed. I mentioned something about it at a family dinner to my grandmother. One week later, she came back to the house with a bundle of newspaper clippings of different beds. Little did she know that earlier that week, I got a bed off Craigslist, ordered sheets from Ikea and had a custom pillow made on Etsy.

Change is Happening (Not Where You’d Expect)

Whether due to the increasing integration of “things” with the internet, increased exposure, or negative feedback like the situation described above, the demographics of those using multiple platforms is changing. According Liane, a study done by ComScore reveals that people over the age of 55 are now the fastest growing group of multi-platform adopters. So it high time that we abandon our preconceptions about where our target audience is. We live in a global society, but it is important to not forget about the generational diversity that exists across different marketing platforms.