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Pikemen at a recreation of the Battle of Bosworth Field

The Battle of the Ages… Literally

  |  October 11, 2013   |  Comments

Who should you publish for in order to gain both short and long term success, Millennials, Boomers or Swipes?

Pikemen at a recreation of the Battle of Bosworth FieldDid you know that 78 percent of teenagers ages 12-17 own a cell phone? How about the fact that teen girls use their smartphone as their primary access tool to get to the internet?

Pew Research shared these statistics and many more over the past few months, as they produced research surrounding technology and lifestyle integrations.

Additional research from Pew and others shared one more very important point to ponder: Baby Boomers currently have the highest amount of disposable income (compared to other generations). This group is the ultimate consumer, happy to spend on items they feel add value to their lives.

However, Generation Swipe (also known as Generation Z), just as large as the Baby Boomer generation in numbers, has their own discretionary spend that is close to one-third of the Baby Boomers. They also have items purchased for them by Millennials and Boomers (partners and grandparents) that collectively exceed the spend of the Boomers alone. Generation Swipe also has a much stronger and growing social voice than the Boomers online.

These insights open the door to a very tricky question that anyone in publishing has to face immediately: Who should you publish for in order to gain both short and long term success?

Baby Boomers and Swipes have very different needs as they relate to published content. They process information differently. They share experiences differently and make buying decisions differently. Boomers can impact the revenue stream of today, yet Swipes can have partial impact now and lots of social buzz for later (as well as loyalty).

To help you get a clearer picture of the potential opportunities/divide within your own company, try this exercise. Pretend you are the CEO of your company. How would you answer these questions to ensure you have a successful business plan/roadmap for the future?

  1. How much revenue do Boomers contribute to your business compared to other generations?
  2. In 3-5 years from now, will your content be relevant to the now current Boomer generation?
  3. How important is social engagement to your business model?
  4. Do you offer a product that can be purchased for others, or primarily for yourself?
  5. Do you have the runway to spend the next 12-18 months to build relationships with a new audience?
  6. Do you have the right staff to reach a younger audience?

Answering these questions will enable you to understand where and how you should focus your time, to maximize revenue today and prepare for the future.

We are all in a challenging spot right now, as we live through the first true technology-driven battle of the ages.


Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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