How Generation C is turning marketing upside down

Picture credit: Lobster

Cast your mind way back into the past, when segmentation was easy. A time when marketers would safely assume a whole array of collective traits based on something as a simple as an age group. Baby boomers valued individual choice, Generation X were results-driven and Generation Y craved changed.

Compare that with today, where consumer data is seemingly everywhere. We know where our customers are, what they’re eating, what they buy and who they know. And perhaps most importantly, we know what they believe in. We can get to the heart of their values and understand their motivations. The modern marketer has abandoned targeting age groups in favour of segmenting by interests and beliefs.

This approach has never been more relevant than when we consider the current YouTube generation, or as some are calling them - “Generation C”. A generation, which isn’t defined by age, but by its mindset of creation, curation, connection and community.

This is a group who have dismissed traditional advertising, but consume digital video by the billion. If it’s not personalised, original or relevant, it’s ignored.

  • 67% upload photos to social networks
  • 85% rely on peer approvals before buying
  • 40% watch hardly any TV
  • 91% sleep next to their phone

It’s a critical group, as Generation C are the influencers - they decide what’s coming next and what their peers are buying.

The anatomy of a modern brand

So how do you target a group who are beyond traditional marketing? Essentially, you need to feel like a fallible human, rather like a faceless company.

Have an opinion: Break away from the bland masses and create/share content which actually stands for something. It’s powerful to take a view, even if that means alienating some people. For this reason, 2016 has already seen marketeers move away from planned schedules in favour of real-time improvisation. If you spot an opportunity to jump on to a topic that matches your customers’ own beliefs, then dive in with both feet.

Create transparency: People are already discussing your brand. Whether it’s face to face or over social media, you’re being scrutinised. By getting involved in this process, you create more transparency.

If you see a positive review, share it and if there’s an issue, resolve it. The whole area of fallibility is at the very heart of this new movement - brands make mistakes, they get it wrong, but that’s ok - it’s human. It can seem contrary to expose perceived weaknesses, but by doing so, you gain trust in other areas. Maybe even try to inject a little humour.

Tell real stories: Generation C values real people over products, so try and highlight stories in social media that convey the human touch. Real stories which are imbued with genuine human qualities. Talk less of the actual product and more of the qualities that it represents.

Always offer value: We know that product promotion is turning people off, so avoid it. Instead, look to create and share content which actually provides some kind of value to consumers. This could take various forms - it could be educational, inspiring or funny.

If you sell healthy soft drinks, focus on health advice rather than plugging the product every time. If you always make your content about about them, you’ll build trust - which is exactly what you need.

Generation C is demanding a new way of thinking. If it feels fake, they’re switching off. Traditional advertising methods are now consigned to the dusty history books of university libraries.

Welcome to the era of authentic content.

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