Have you ever seen one of those signs that points to all of the different directions at one time? Sometimes, that is what I start to picture when I think about how a content publisher is going to remain successful 10 years from now.
This is why:
Today's world has four active generations of media consumers:
The baby boomers: They have disposable income and time. They have a keen interest in the news as their retirement and social security is potentially at risk in the near future. They need to keep up with the latest trends, as well as with their busy family. Many of them have adopted technology (like the iPad) in order to enable them to stay connected. That said, they are still from a generation where print ruled the world.
Gen X: These are the middle-aged working population. Managing extended families, a declining economy, and rapidly changing technology, much of which is now required for their children at school. They yearn for technology that supports simplicity. How can I get more things done faster and better than I have in the past? They grew up writing "C+" code as a first step and then living through the debut of the Internet. They love flash, and being entertained. Truly a mixed bag, they marry old-school with new-world reading habits.
The millennials (Gen Y): Their life is online, even though many of them were not born into the online realm. That said, they grew up in it. They are the Facebook generation. For them, it's all about creating the best story, and sharing stories visually through imagery. The more open and social they can be, the better. Consuming, well, everything online is the way to go. And device choice doesn't really matter as much, as long as the return is high fidelity, high engagement, and highly shareable.
Gen Z (also known as Generation M for multi-taskers): These are truly the first generation of digital natives. Ubiquitous access is key. If you can't see it on your Android, iPod, and refrigerator at the same time, it's worthless. There is still a good bit to learn about this generation, but early findings (see this study) suggest this segment may privatize themselves a bit. Kind of of like the "me generation" of the 80's - just digitally.
These four generations paint a picture of media consumption that is vastly different from each other. It becomes a fascinating challenge to determine how to build a strategy for success that will be not just sustainable, but booming in 10 years from now.
If you are in the position where you need to define strategic direction based on media consumption trends, consider these thought-provoking questions when building your plan:
We are still at the early stages of the digital revolution, yet in a race to catch up with the natives who are now in their teens.
What will you do to reach the finish line first?
Jeanniey Mullen is global executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Zinio, the world's foremost digital publishing products and services company, and home of the largest newsstand. She holds the same roles concurrently for VIVmag, the world's first exclusively digital luxury women's magazine. Renowned as a pioneer in e-mail marketing — the nascent stage of the digital marketing revolution — Mullen has employed her penchant for building active and engaged communities by architecting processes and systems for delivering exceptional customer service and relevant content across multiple media. She is widely credited for her pivotal role in ushering in a new era of digital marketing communications.
Founder and current executive director of the Email Experience Council, Jeanniey has broadened her reach to master the social, mobile, and digital publishing and advertising industries. Today, she brings this extensive experience to bear in her role as the public face of Zinio and VIVmag, defining and implementing strategies to build partnerships with publishers, brands, and consumers. These initiatives command monumental growth for both companies. She is an accomplished author with two books to her credit, as well as a regular columnist for ClickZ. Mullen is a frequent and highly sought-after speaker at digital marketing, e-tail, and publishing events around the world.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT