Thursday, May 24, 2012

Generational Perspective

Marketing experts who purport to be generational experts ought to do their homework. Social scientists and demographers are the ones who get to name generations, and specify start and end dates, not marketing agencies.

Recently a company issued a press release claiming to name the next generation after Millennials. They came up with "Plurals" but without any convincing data, insight or even argument for it. Rather than tell you all the reasons we think this is bunk, let us point you to Neil Howe, a social scientist and demographer who has posted a compelling response to this "news."

We happen to be students of the work done by Neil Howe and the late William Strauss. If you want to understand generations, start with their 1991 book, Generations (with the provocative subtitle: The History of America's Future). If you want to understand what's happening today and what to expect in the next twenty years, buy The Fourth Turning.

Bottom Line for Marketers: If all you want to do is figure out what to call the next generation, then follow our lead: We call them "kids."

In time, a moniker will be developed that makes sense and sticks. We have time.

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