As a marketer, one thing that I’ve always found fascinating is how different businesses approach different age groups with marketing. One of those age groups is the up and coming generation. Now I’m not just talking about Millennials here, although that’s obviously the up and coming generation at this point in history. No, I’m talking about the fact that there is always (and has always been) a younger generation that knows and understands very little about what happened prior to or just after their birth. While you may think that this just correlates to big moments in history (Watergate, The Challenger disaster, and 9/11 come to mind) the truth is that things which may seem overwhelming or revolutionary at their time are usually seen as par for the course about twenty years down the road. This not only changes society drastically–it changes how we market to society.
At least, that’s the thinking behind The Beloit College Mindset list which is a 19-year look at the frame of mind of America’s youth the year they came of college age. The Mindset List is a compilation of both historical and chronological events about the time college freshmen were being born. The list was first released in 1998 and is updated annually. Though it serves as a roadmap which outlines today’s modern youth, its intended target has always been adults. In fact, The Mindset List was (and still is) geared toward college professors. The list doesn’t just include sweeping moments in history as mentioned above, it also includes information about consumer trends, prominent brands, and even changes in technology. What is more, The Mindset List has identified that marketing has had a large impact on culture, especially over the last two decades.
In an article by Zach Brooke, the creators of The Mindset List, Ron Nief and Tom McBride, share the following findings in their most recent Mindset List:
“This is a big marketing issue. [Millennials] are not an ownership generation. They’re not interested in owning things,” says McBride. “They’re interested in having experiences and using things. They’re into sharing things. One of the things that studies are showing is that millennials will save to go on a trip. Once upon a time you saved to buy a used Pontiac or a used Oldsmobile. They’re not saving for that.”
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the purchase of a car is obsolete. Rather, it means that marketers who work to sell cars must sell them differently. I think you’ll find the next time you watch commercials (and who really does anymore? Though that’s another blog) fewer and fewer car commercials are speaking to the status of owning a vehicle. More and more car brands making a name for themselves refer instead to making memories and the experiences you’ll have all because of the car you invest in. This is The Mindset List–and marketing with a customer service edge– in action.
Ultimately, The Mindset List stems back to good marketing, which is linked to a good customer experience. Purple Goldfish, and the ability to give those little extra things that matter to your specific customers, means you know your customers. It means that you understand them. Knowing your audience and catering to their needs is what marketing–and Purple Goldfish–are all about.