I have a master’s degree in Marketing. During my spare time I take guest lectures in the subject area of Digital Marketing and Post-modern Marketing, helping students to learn about different marketing techniques, encouraging them with their academic work on their own initiative. I help seed funding to various individuals who have enthusiasm towards entrepreneurship. I am a full-time marketing Director for a reputed IT firm. I had previously worked in a social media company which does a lot of social media causes initiatives for awareness of women empowerment.
Generations, characteristics of generations and marketing
The given task in the Marketing Future’s 1 module is to classify the generations and characteristics of generations and relate to generational marketing in terms of post-modern marketing and to discuss the characteristic of consumer tribes and relate this in terms of post-modern marketing. In order to do so, many theoretical concepts and approaches will be taken into consideration. Marketing in the current and marketing in the past will be reviewed to get a better insight of marketing terms as a whole. Firstly all generations are outlined and their characteristics are defined, and similarities and commonalities are identified to link with post-modern marketing. Later characteristics of consumer tribes are outlined and link between them to post-modern marketing practise is shown.
There are mainly four generations which are
- Baby boomers
- Gen X
- Gen Y
People born between 1922 and 1943 are called veterans; they are around 66-83 years old. Most of them are retired and in another few years they may not be alive. The marketing practice those days can be better understood by the economical, political and sociological situation of the time. This was the time World War II 1937-1943 was going on, there was an economical crisis gripping the world and the stock market had crashed 1929. The characteristics of veterans are as follows:
- Dedication to work: Money was not the only driving force for veterans when it cam to work, they also liked to work. It was in their nature. This is an important characteristic of veterans and because of their dedication to work the work environment was good and productivity was higher.
- Hard work: As mentioned above they had dedication to work, which runs in hand with hard work. They are hard workers, they had faith in their institutions which made them work harder and dedicated to their work.
- Respect for authority: The veterans trusted senior people in work or in the community, and would rarely question them. They respected and trusted their eldes, their parents and figures of authority.
- Duty before pleasure: The veterans were very loyal and felt great responsibility, hence they gave more importance to duty before pleasure. They had a sense of belonging in the work place which made them feel responsible and loyal towards the work.
- Their work ethics were based on the manufacturing economy and they were used to a dictatorship which made them give 100 per cent of their work efficiency.
- All the above are the characteristics of veterans in detail. Hence marketing practice those days can assume that they were loyal to brands, often those which their seniors had used or recommended. They preferred quality of product rather than quantity and commitment of the brand towards the people was important.
People born between 1944 and 1963 are classified as baby boomers. They were the post war born. They are the affluent class among other generations. They profited from the post war as after the war consumerism was introduced and new economies were built. They saw a growth and advancements in technology, such as televisions, microwave ovens and the first man on moon project. There was a tremendous growth in technology with nations becoming more focused on it. The characteristics of baby boomers are optimism, they are very optimistic about their approach and team orientation as after the war they worked hard to get all the economy back up and running. Therefore they realise the importance of team work. They are independent and self-reliant. They do not support war or conflict since they have already experienced war. They value quality rather than quantity. They demand loyalty as they have the money to spend. They don’t mind spending extra for premium goods or products. They indulge themselves in leisure. Looking at all their characteristics we can identify a few post-modern marketing aspects like choice and individuality since they are independent and do expect high quality products and services. Post-modern marketing is nothing but giving value to the customers’ needs along with the product And supplying what they need.
People born between 1964 and 1980 are classified as Gen X. They are around 24 to 45 years old now. The important events in this generation are the introduction of personal computers. The Generation X mentality reflects a shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. The first generation to grow up with computers, technology is woven into their lives. This generation is more educated than the previous one. Women were joining the workforce in large numbers, spawning an age of “latch-key” children. As a result, Generation X is independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. They are cynical. Their attitude to work is ‘just a job’. They accept change easily, diversity and think globally. They demand freedom at their workplace, as they cannot work under pressure or authority. The traits of post-modern marketing can be seen in terms of individualism, choice and being seen as cool. They are not particular about any brand. They depend on a lot on getting the work done, or rather serves the purpose.
People born in 1980 and after are called generation Y. They are aged around 30 and under.. The important events that took place in this generation is the introduction of the iPod and iPhone, the Internet boom, demand for Google, social networking such asFacebook, twitter etc, the 9/11 attack in the USA, military wars in Afghanistan, frequent war, and an economic downturn. They value team work; they are loyal to the team. They want to feel involved and indulged in the work. They are street smart, the have civic sense and are more into socialising. They are tech savvy andthey have high morality. Because of the war and recession they have become street smart and careful. They are good with multi-tasking. They are more independent as compared to the earlier generation. They have self-confidence and are optimistic. They depend a lot on technology. They value what others have to say. A lot of these characteristics can be found in veterans and baby boomers. We can trace a few similarities from veterans and baby boomers, since the political factors and economical factors were somewhat similar. Both the generations saw war and post war, and they started their own economies.
Consumer tribes are groups of people who share a common passion. This common passion – whether it is for a brand, a good cause, or a sport – bonds the consumer tribe together through a shared sense of belonging. The characteristics are they have a need for community and social connectedness. Humans are social animals and therefore desire social company. They have a natural interaction among others who have similar interests or a passion about few things. They are grouped because of their passion or interest rather than age, sex, region and religion. They like to act as a group rather than an individual. They have certain rituals which they follow religiously and which gives them a feeling of belonging. Their tribes are iconic or symbolic, they represent themselves with a certain symbol which they are proud about and has value in their tribe. The symbol is a way to identify the tribe in which they belong to. So the normative approach of marketing, which is segmentation, cannot be taken here into consideration since these people belong to many different tribes depending on their interests, which cannot be explained by the normative approach of marketing through segmentation. This can be explained through fragmentation since our lives are fragmented into many parts. We participate in many different tribes throughout a single day. So to judge consumer behaviour based on segmentation would be foolish and unsuccessful. Certain aspects of post-modernisation can be found, such as following old models and concepts but in a newer and better environment. They may not be a part of single tribe, but they could be a part of many tribes depending on their passion and interests. There are three types found in tribes, which are
- Hardcore: these are the people in the tribe who actually know every single aspect of the tribe, things like what the tribe has to do, when it has to do it and how. They know all the technical aspects of the shared passion.
- Softcore: these are the people in the tribe who have a lesser commitment towards the main purpose of the tribe or rather say they are merely followers of the hard core.
- Wannabe: These are the people in the tribe who show a lot of interest towards the passion of the tribe since they think the tribe is cool. They are the audience with little knowledge about the technical aspects of the tribe. They do not know all the ideologies around the tribe. They are the supporters of the hardcore and softcore.
Current marketing strategies aim for individual customer satisfaction, which involves mass production of goods, customised goods. Post-modern marketing aims to deliver objectives which are choice and individualism but in the group’s interest. The conditions for the post-modern tribes are that they lead their lives normally and not totally devoted to the tribe. They have normal jobs, but will participate in the tribe when the occasion calls for it.. There is a trend of individualism currently prevailing in the market but then tribalism is all about where the group interest lies.
For the marketers to identify the people in the group or to market their product successfully to the whole group is tough. The general practice is that they identify the hardcore members of the tribe and market them, since the softcore members value the decision making of the hardcore members and everyone in the tribe follows the product.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter etc, are booming and members are independent and individual and yet in a social group, which is a tribe culture. These social networks offer the individual the freedom of speech and freedom of their opinion, which they value a lot. The major influences on their lifestyles are the things socially discussed and the united feeling they express. Hence in the post-modern marketing era, people can live secondary lives through social networking and in reality may be doing something totally different. They get to actually experience different lifestyles which they desire or sometimes which they have, and are given the freedom of living their secondary life and their own desires. This is where marketers are now concentrating strategies, since being with the customer is better for marketing rather thinking customers are some different person out there.
Looking at the current marketing practice, which is totally different to the market trend in the market, there are many things which can be discussed regarding the post-modern conditions which are prevailing in the current market. This can be related to the baby boomer social factors that were prevailing during their times including war, economic downturn, people starting work depending on their capability and team work. They developed a positive attitude to team work, with the common interest of developing the economy. Similar economic and social conditions were there in the current situation. The post-modern conditions are a hyper reality which can be found among the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter etc. Another condition is fragmentation, which is a vital factor in the current marketing world to target customers. This is because our daily normal lives include many fragments and we play many roles; we are different at different times during the day. This plays an important and confusing role for the marketers since marketing for a singular time or singular section of customers may not be successful. Paradoxical juxtaposition of opposites is another condition for post-modern marketing. This is a mixture of our lifestyles, and there is nothing wrong or right since people started expressing thier individualism, which is termed as cool. Tolerance for change is another aspect, and people are more tolerant of other cultures and changes. This gives the marketers an advantage since their consumers expect new products and are ready to accept other products without being brand loyal. All of these conditions indicate that the key concept of marketing lies with being a vital part of the lives of consumers.
Journals & books
Lawrence P.2004. The Change Game. Great Britain and United States. Kogan page limited.
Stroud D. 2008. The 50 plus market. Great Britain and United States. Kogan page limited.
Scase R. 2001. Britain in 2010. Capstone publishing limited.
Cooper, Donald R. 2006. Marketing Research. Mc Graw-Hill/Irwin.
Keegan, Warren J. 2008. Global Marketing. 5th Edition. Pearson.
Hart S. 2009. journal of marketing management. Westburn publishers limited. Vol 25(1-2).
Blythe J.2009. the marketing review. Westburn publishers limited. Vol 9 (1) pp.1-5
Laroche H.2008. European management journal. Amsterdam, boston, London etc. Elsevier limited. Vol 26 (1).
Huber J. 2009. Journal of Marketing Research. American marketing association.
Crainer S.2007. Business Strategy Review. London business school. Vol 18(2).
Crainer S. 2007. Business Strategy Review. London business school. Vol 18(4).
Web sites & Internet articles used
Baby bommers head of India.2009.[www] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/Baby-boomers-head-for-India/articleshow/425282.cms (5,nov 2009)
Baby Boomers Have $2 Trillion to Spend.2005[www] http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Boomers/5-05-24BoomersHaveMoney.htm (5,nov 2009)
Baby Boomer Statistics and Leading-Edge Research Reveal What Drives Boomer Mindset.2008[www] http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS201390+06-May-2008+BW20080506 (5,nov 2009)
From baby boomers to boom and bust.2009[www] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/10/baby-boomers-boom-and-bust (5,nov 2009)
A website for people born between 1946 – 1964.2009[www] http://www.babyboomers.com/ (5,nov 2009)
Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers
By Brent Green.2009[www] http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HTX2Yjd2WqQC&dq=baby+boomers&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=EkaYv0tWJc&sig=-PVdg1tFjpvx-RkGA6SCURqENqg&hl=en&ei=megKS6fMCuTTjAeG67X3AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=13&ved=0CDAQ6AEwDA#v=onepage&q=&f=false (5,nov 2009)
Birth statistics: Births and patterns of family building England and Wales (FM1).2009[www] http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=951 (5,nov 2009)
Boomer Bookends.2009[www] http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/mmi-studies-boomer-bookends.pdf?SCOPE=Metlife&MSHiC=65001&L=10&W=baby%20boomers%20&Pre=%3CFONT%20STYLE%3D%22background%3A%23ffff00%22%3E&Post=%3C/FONT%3E (5,nov 2009)
Current Assessment Report (CAR)for the baby Boomer Market.2002[www] http://www.agingsociety.org/agingsociety/links/car_boomer.pdf (5,nov 2009)
Population Estimates.2009[www] http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=6 (17,nov 2009)
Key facts about the United Kingdom.2009[www] http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/LivingintheUK/DG_10012517 (17,nov 2009)
Baby boom… and bust .2009[www] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4798825.stm (17,nov 2009)
Main Historical Events.2009[www]http://www.uk.filo.pl/uk_main_historical_events.htm (17,nov 2009)