Presenting at a conference recently, the opening keynote began by saying: “we are living with six generations of human, who all have different tastes and needs”.
In marketing speak, he classified them as:
- Traidtionallists (the World War II Generation);
- Baby boomers;
- Generation X;
- Generation Y;
- Millennials; and
- Generation C.
I hadn’t heard of Generation C before, but he defined this generation as those born into the connected world we live in today. An example case in point:
The baby girl in the video always gets a huge ‘aaaaahhh’ from the audience when I use the video in my presentations, but the point is that each generation was fired by a technology view that is different.
Traditionalists grew up with computing in its early days and most business done face-to-face;
Baby boomers similarly may have seen early computing, but their views would have been dominated the emergence of large scale mainframe processing engines;
Generation X were in their teens in the 1980s, and so they were the first to get into PCs;
Generation Y challenge those gone before by being the first connected generation via the internet;
Millennials are just now entering their teens and will be the most demanding technologists ever; whilst
Generation C will wonder what the world was like without 24*7 connectivity.
That does not mean you can necessarily treat each generation as distinctly dichotomised by their technology capabilities however.
Millennials may just as easily reject Facebook as Traditionalists who find it indispensable.
Therefore, we may generalise and stereotype across these generations, but the one thing that is core is that all the generations are incorporating technology into their lives.
As I recently noted, when reviewing UK habits, we now spend more time with devices than we do with each other.
So when someone says to me that branch is for the older clients whilst mobile banking is for the millennials, it really gets irritates me.
Banking is for everyone and everyone will do banking in the way that suits them.
If some find it easier to do online or by mobile, they will naturally drift towards that channel
of usage. If some want branch reassurance, then that’s where they will go.
So it is incorrect for people to delineate and state that this channel is for that age demographic or that gender.
Surely we need some categorisation of consumer preference to target the customer experience appropriately.
We sure do, and so I don’t deny that point.
What I do deny is that you can delineate technology preferences by age.
It is far more appropriate to delineate technology preference by aptitude, education, occupation and location.