Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Teenagers only take in the here and now – so marketers must shift their thinking

We as marketers have to stay on our toes while the world is constantly evolving – keeping pace not only with technology and globalisation but with the behaviour of our customers.

Secret Marketer

Take my children, for example. They are teenagers and – God forbid – one day they will grow up into budget-holding buyers. It is therefore appropriate to keep one eye on how they behave today, just in case those traits stick with them as they mature.

One thing that surprises me is their attitude to communication – by which I mean the immediacy of it all. Though they are constant texters and users of social media, they operate only in real time. In other words, if you text them when it is not convenient, they will not bother to read or respond to your message. 

It’s the same with social media – while they are happy to write on people’s walls constantly and retweet the latest funny picture, this only applies if it is on their timeline now. They do not scroll back to see what happened an hour ago.

I have observed this elsewhere. They rarely listen to voicemails; they scroll endlessly through Sky listings for something to watch that is on TV now rather than play something they have pre-recorded; and they use music streaming sites to play genres they like, rather than individually choosing specific songs. 

Maybe this is being lazy, or maybe it is because there is just so much choice in the world they cannot be bothered to search. If you want their attention, you need to grab it here and now.

This has significant ramifications for marketers. If these characteristics follow through, we will have to be so much more precise in our timing and our targeting. Hitting one of this generation of customers at the wrong time will give us no second chance. 

Maybe this does lend itself to (a more advanced) form of marketing automation… or maybe it just means going back to a time when marketers really understood the buying signals of our customers and were able to react accordingly.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Interesting, and I'd agree that the immediate is increasingly vital; some of the live marketing around TV shows, for example, is really impressive.

    But what does this mean for brand consistency?

    Does it give brands more opportunity to re-invent if things aren't working?

    Or is it actually more important than ever to be consistent in long term brand promise and messaging, so the many, current touchpoints with the customers add up to a coherent picture?

    One thing for sure, it's unlikely to get any simpler or easier!

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  • This is very true but I wouldn't say its just for the younger generation, I find myself doing exactly the same and I am in my 30's. I barely scroll past the first page of my Twitter feed and the same for Facebook and LinkedIn. The beauty of social media is that there is something new to look at all the time and scrolling back through older post (even if they are only 30 mins old) takes forever especially if you follow lots of people, by the time you get back to the top of the news feed you've missed another 50 posts. The way to get around this I think is to have several posts geared around the same topic but with a different angel, photo or link. Is there anything wrong with saying 'just in case you missed this' or 'earlier we shared' etc etc?
    Eventually I think everyone will get fed up of the information overload. At the moment we follow whoever and accept whoever, give it a few years and we will all be (including teenagers) trimming back who we follow and who we are friends with!

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