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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. 

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