Thursday, April 15, 2010

The on-demand, now generation

One would theorize that younger consumers are passionately opposed to paying for content--that the generation raised on YouTube, Facebook and now Hulu does not want to shell out any dinero for the content they seek.

In a new white paper issued by Advertising Age, the publication's researchers have found that's not necessarily the case. A variety of research techniques were used to explore media habits, preferences and expectations from this young adult, media-consuming segment. What they found was a group who spends, on average, seven hours and 38 minutes with media per day, which is up more than an hour since 2004 data.

To this young adult group, the value of content online can be just as worth a price tag as cable or network TV shows...and they're also not averse to advertising. However, if it IS advertising it had better be good advertising and it should not take a long time to load.

Here are three things the white paper noted as key expectations for those who plan to market to this segment:

Instant gratification. This generation is used to getting what it wants and it wants it now. They text instead of talk. They download instead of buying CDs. They DVR live TV and then fast-forward through commercials. They look up any information they want on the internet.

Free is good...but will pay, if necessary. This group is used to getting content for free (see YouTube and Hulu) but they also understand that there might be a price to pay for more desirable content. That price might be the need to view advertising or it could be paying a small fee (e.g., iTunes.)

Best quality with no compromises. Ad Age calls this group "digital natives." And, that audience grew up during a digital technology revolution. Everything is small, shiny, beautiful--digital TVs, music and video players, smartphones, laptops and on and on. The consequence for marketers and industrial designers is that the standard for technology and design is very, very high.

In sum, not only we as marketers need to understand these insights but it also pays to understand this when interacting with this group. This is the age of "now" and technology and applications are being designed every day to help us live in the now.

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