According to those who watch these things, strange days may be ahead in the business world. For instance, in the spirit of everything old is new again, Megan McArdle, blogging over at Bloomberg, noted recently that, well, old folks may rule. Swimming against the tide of conventional wisdom that advertisers aren’t interested in fogies, CBS (or at least CEO Les Moonves) apparently believes the young demographic is “highly overrated.” McArdle explains that this may be because “(y)oung people are a shrinking percentage of the population, and thus represent a shrinking percentage of the nation’s disposable income. And right now, a lot of them are living at home and working intermittently ….” Skeptical? You’re using your DVR to record your favorite programs for later viewing so you can speed through the commercials, right? (Don’t bother denying it!) That may be partly so you can avoid all those ED ads and other pitches that are filling the airwaves and are directed at the end of the spectrum longer in the tooth. Take a quick survey some evening of the commercials out there and you will see what we mean.
And, yet, Justine Griffin writes in our hometown Sarasota, FL, newspaper that Gen Y millennials are so important to the market that retailers are focusing on them and trying hard to please these finicky, tech-savvy shoppers. Griffin points out brand promotion targeted at this group, but it goes far beyond that. While coupon-clippers may still approach shopping scissors in hand, the smartphone set long ago embraced the digital age and now have stringent demands for barcode scanners and shopping apps.
So, who’s right? Maybe both? There’s no reason old dogs can’t learn new tricks and a brave new world of cross-generational wired and wireless shoppers eagerly awaits. The response of the market is and will continue to be entertaining.