Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The iPod Generation Isn't A Generation.


While participating in a panel at Mondays's VRM conference, I made a comment about the need for all businesses to recognise that the iPod generation were accustomed to having an entirely personalised music experience and that this technologically-driven expectation would spread into every area of their life.

I was bemused by some of the audience's accusations about my use of a generational generalisation and their insistence that they were more technologically-aware than their kids. No doubt they are. For me, it was not the make up of the generation, but the behaviour that was the issue. The reaction, however, was based on traditional segmentation thinking which defines all "generations" as age-ranges.

The iPod generation is the first "generation/group" who've experienced iPods. They are purchase-defined, they are behaviourally-defined, but they are not age-defined. Indeed, I've always doubted that any segments really were.

It may be correct to infer that the younger members of that generation will have a greater sense of entitlement to personalisation because they have known nothing else. It is not correct to assume that the older ones think very much differently, both because technology is agnostic and not ageist and because that sort of thinking is predicated upon a chronological definition of generations.

If you insist on simplifying this complex world by putting individuals into boxes, then do so based on how they behave and how they think. Not on what it says on their birth certificate.


Image via kristabel.

12 Comments:

Blogger Rob @ Cynic said...

I don't know if Apple are the sole reason we have a 'we-want-it-now' society, however there is no doubt iPOD is a good demonstration of how the influence of instant gratification has changed [or should be changing] all aspects of brand delivery.

Saying that, I do belive a counter trend will also arise - if it hasn't already - because 'immediacy' comes at a price and that includes depth of experience.

There's a great interview in this months Classic Rock magazine [don't ask] with the lead singer of AC/DC who says the reason the band refused to sell to iTunes is because they want people to go on a journey with the bands songs, not just get to the destination - if that doesn't sound too ambigious. [Or Wank]

I've done alot of work regarding the impact of iTunes on the record industry [by that I mean musicians, not record companies] and for all the benefits, there's a shit load of negatives which in 20 years time, will make the 80's look like a golden age of music in comparison.

4:43 AM, November 05, 2008  
Blogger Rob @ Cynic said...

You look young in that photo ...

4:50 AM, November 05, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

Younger than you, you mean?

5:08 AM, November 05, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

I know it's your fear of Bazza that prompted your point about the want-it-now mentality, but the iPod is just the dominant version of the technology, it is the technological capability that is driving the change. And I said personalisation, not immediacy though both are increasingly important drivers of behaviour though I'm far from sure that immediacy automatically aligns with a shallow experience in all cases.

As for AC/DC, I agree with you but others such as Bob Lefsetz argue that they're burying their heads in the sand given the existence of bit torrent. Seems to me that this is saying you have to give people exactly what they want otherwise they'll steal it but until the theft is punished, he's not wrong.

5:15 AM, November 05, 2008  
Blogger Rob @ Cynic said...

I was agreeing with you - I don't think it's the iPOD that has driven this change, but I do think it's mass distribution has possibly caused a disproportionate speed of attitudinal change in society.

Saying that, I still think there's a counter trend that will develop - not of the iPOD device but of the quest for instant gratification - because as much as we can say it's all about customisation, I don't know if I totally agree with that because whilst people may believe it's what they want, their lack of willingness to be exposed to the total experience means their judgement is limited from the start.

How many books/songs/films/food would we not of given a chance if we based them purely on our first 5 seconds of experience?

Hang on, I'm confusing myself - am I undermining what I just said or endorsing it? Probably a bit of both ... but in essence I guess all I am saying is that whilst brands have got to appreciate there offering must be tailored to the specific requirements of their customers, they should appreciate that customisation and instant gratification are not always the same thing.

Does that make sense? Probably not but it's too early for me to ensure my brain is working. Heck, who am I kidding, my brain only kicks in every leap year.

Hang on, I'm

2:07 PM, November 05, 2008  
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