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The iGen

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Saturday, 24 July 2010

Gen X, Gen Y … Creating Havoc for Marketers

“Whatever you've got to tell me, I'll find out through the natural course of time.” – Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future (1985)

We hate kids…O.K., the word “hate” may be a little too strong.

We’re jealous of ‘em!!!

There, we said it…we’re glad…we’ve got two of our own!!!

We’re part of the Baby Boomer Generation--(there are two parts -- 1946 – 1964).

Then, there are the Gen Xers (‘65 – ‘78).

Then Gen Y (‘79 – ‘89).

Now, it’s the  iGen (1990 – 2009).

No, that isn’t the “i” Jobs would like. It’s the “i” as in instant, immediate, individual.

They’re creating havoc with business because we simply cannot figure out how to monetize tomorrow’s hardware, software, service solutions.

We loved the old CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) chart of technology adoption:
-        PCs took 21 years for 50% household penetration
-        Color TV took 13 years
-        Cellphones took 12 years
-        Cordless phones took 15 years

Notice anything?

Yeah!  Mainstream adoption is taking less and less time.

The younger groups start out with a clean slate.  They’ve never known a world without their toys and they’re a natural part of their lives.

Or, as Marty McFly said, “Which... is what makes time travel possible.”

Just look at what it took for our newer technologies to gain critical mass.

Faster Learning – The day of the slow, steady introduction, acceptance, mainstream usage of technology is speeding by us.  The younger generations seem to have no difficulty in  absorbing multiple technologies, applications in almost no time at all.  They individualize the offerings to their specific wants/needs.  Source – Rewired, Dr. Larry Rosen

And the little dwerbs?

Crud, they are light years ahead of us because so many of the really neat things were “just” introduced when they were learning to crawl and talk.

Today’s iTools
Just since 2000, look at what we introduced for them:
•Flash Drives
•Satellite Radio

No wonder our daughter is comfortable going back and forth with three screens texting, tweeting, IMing, skyping, blogging.

More Tools, More Access – iGen and GenY kids not only get the technology tools sooner, they also put them into use more quickly to stay in touch with everyone.  Privacy and security are of little concern to them, since they believe “everything” is out there and available to them.  Source – Pew Internet’s American Life Project

She can’t believe the little girl down the street has her own mobile phone and she’s only seven or eight.

Doesn’t bother us.  What bothers us is that the little urchin can text like crazy, and we have a tough time even using the pre-programmed quick notes on the phone.

Text or Talk – While kids seem to be getting mobile phones earlier and earlier, many will use the units to text more than  make phone calls.  Of course, spelling is still a challenge but…

They just seem to be getting the communications and creative tools earlier and earlier.

 Staying in Touch – Kids are getting mobile phones at an earlier and earlier age.  Whether it is the challenges of the world we live in or the parent’s need to give youngsters more than they had, whatever it is …it’s working.  Then too, there’s the fact that families are increasingly freeing their homes of old-fashioned landlines.
Source -- MRI

iGeners really do believe Dr. Brown’s words, “Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.”

According to a Pew Internet study:
-        one-third of kids under 5 have a television in their bedrooms
-        two-thirds of children, pre-teens and teenagers have bedroom TVs
-        half the school-aged children – up to the early teens – have a video game console and a handheld video game player
-        half the pre-teen students have their own cell phone and iPod
-        only one in four 9- to 12-year-olds have a computer in their bedrooms Hits: 1694

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