BANG! The generation divide is hitting home. Are you prepared?

By Neville Pokroy

Boomers vs Generation Y—the generational divide is making an impact on business and we all need to start dealing with this reality. Whether they are our customers or clients or vendors or referral sources or employees or partners, the differences in these generations need to be taken into consideration whether we like it or not. Generation Y thinks differently. They communicate differently. They have different values. And they have power.

From a marketing perspective, the way they think and the way they communicate carry the most significant impact. Marketing is all about understanding your customer and creating products and services they need. Understanding how they think is critical to this process of creating relevant products and services.

Once created, you need to tell them about your product or service. So understanding how they receive and send communications is critical at this point. Only then can you create relevant marketing communications that will encourage them to buy.

Remember, you cannot sell something to someone who does not want to buy. What you can do is understand what their needs are and make the products and services that they want to buy available. These are opposing forces, and if you get it wrong, you will likely fail.

As always, understanding the psychology of the buyer is crucial before you can design and develop your marketing material. Many businesses are happy to just deliver marketing material (flyers, websites, brochures, advertising, etc.) with a simple listing of product features in front of the buyer. Most often, that is simply not enough and the money spent on that marketing effort becomes a total waste. Really thinking about and understanding the buyer, and what will motivate them to BUY is crucial to the development of those materials and messages. Without that—well, I hope you have deep pockets! Generation Y will make you pay dearly if you adopt this approach—more likely they will simply ignore you and pass your business by.

Digital communication, including Social Media, is the cornerstone of the new generation's style of communication. They do almost everything digitally, and in many instances, have almost lost the ability to communicate face to face. I chuckled when my daughter told me a story about her and her friends sitting in a circle at school, communicating with each other via text message—for them, it's become easier to use their thumbs rather than their tongues.

Whether we like it or not, this is the new world reality. And they are our future customers, clients, employees and bosses. If we don't buy in to understanding this phenomenon, it may just leave us trailing in the dust.

Neville Pokroy is a principal of Mastermind Solutions Inc. He runs the Marketing practice, which includes strategic marketing planning and execution, and now also includes the Digital Umbrella. Neville has over 25 years experience in corporate marketing and consulting in entrepreneurial businesses across an extensive range of industries. Neville's special skills include the ability to translate his corporate marketing expertise into a disciplined set of marketing skills ideal for entrepreneurial businesses. If you have any questions feel free to contact [email protected] or 905-886-2235

By Adam

November 16, 2011