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Tim Peter


February 7, 2013

Who You'll Sell to in the Future. And Today.

February 7, 2013 | By | No Comments

Selling to boomers and millenials onlineI’ve been talking a lot this week about how the future is already here, with agile marketing getting lots of props and Facebook working as an e-commerce channel. Of course, there’s one other reality “in the future” worth paying attention to: demographics.

Now, for starters, I want to point out that past behavior offers a much better indication of what your customers will likely do in the future than their association with any demographic cohort. That’s one of the reasons why search marketing and behavioral targeting work so well; you’re reaching potential customers when they’re actually working to accomplish a goal.

At the same time, we’re in the midst of a significant demographic shift. Consider these numbers:

  • The oldest Baby Boomers are entering their late 60’s (the oldest group turn 67 this year)
  • Roughly half of all Baby Boomers are in their late 50’s
  • The oldest Millenials are now 30
  • Fully half are at least 21
  • Within the next 5-7 years, Millenials will account for 75% of the U.S. labor force

While plenty of economic opportunities exist to sell to Boomers (and I’m thinking healthcare or related services seem like a good idea), marketers focused on selling to Boomers, “because that’s where the money is,” must start thinking about other generations, too.

One reason I’m (cautiously, very cautiously) optimistic about the economy over the next handful of years is this generational shift. While the economic reality for Millenials hasn’t been booming lately, the size of the group and its relative wealth, education, and connectedness offer plenty of opportunities to savvy marketers and business owners.

My own kids belong to the Millenial cohort. As I’ve said about consumers generally, they don’t go online; they are online. All the time. And they, along with your customers and lots of other folks racked up $186 billion online last year, up 15% from 2011 (happily, they had help, from many generations worth of folks).

Millenials may be the future. But the future’s already here.

Of course, you already knew that.

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