Marketing Idea No. 253 -Why the youth of today is not like the youth of yesterday

There is no doubt that the new generation is different than the previous generation. There is no doubt that by belonging to Generation X, you get certain perks like internet, instant gratification, world of entertainment at your tips. There is also no doubt, like every good thing that bears a bad side effect, the youth 2.0 is suffering from a certain hangover.


I am talking about two things in particular – Attention Deficit Disorder and a sense of entitlement that seems to be like an epidemic among the youth of the day.


George Bernard Shaw mentioned that youth is wasted in young people. He might be on to something. A different way of saying it could be youth of today may not be able to handle the rapid changes and the consequences that bear. The youth of today wants everything right now. While there is nothing wrong with that attitude, a certain amount of shallowness comes with that attitude. I mean if you want everything faster and right away, where is the role of good old fashioned hard labor that you are supposed to put it in? Social psychologists inKorea mentioned a very interesting phenomenon after studying youth inKorea, and it also holds true for other countries across the globe. They found out that the youth of today thinks that their previous generation has put in a lot of hard labor for which they have not reached due benefit in due time. That’s why there is a sense of entitlement among the youth ofKorea. They feel entitled to have a lot of things – money, fame, love, gratification all in one quick convenient package – without putting in the hard labor. In a sense they don’t want to be like their parents or previous generation who has put in a lot of hard labor without reaping much out of the situation. Youth thinks they are smart worker and definition of smart worker today is doing less and getting more in return.


Now this is kind of alarming. The more youth wants to find short cuts (Read: Smart) to get to Point A from Point B, the more they will lack in depth and good old fashioned values like putting in the hard labor and waiting for good things to unfold.


Another problem is now that they have virtually a million things to do at the same time – chatting, driving, eating, texting virtual friends, meeting real friends, playing – the era of multi-tasking at all time is truly on. But the problem is multi-tasking has two serious side effects. It makes you impatient because you always feel like you need to do something else when you are doing something. And it makes you shallow, because you are not really able to focus on one thing to truly learn or enjoy it. Hence Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) sets in


Living it fast and hard seems to be the mantra of the day. Somewhere along the line the good old choice of taking it slow and smelling the rose along the way is lost in a crowded place somewhere in a place with internet 24-7.

Marketing Idea No. 252 – The Big 4 and who will win this battle royale between Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google

Once upon a time when we uttered the term “the big 4” it used to refer to the illustrious club of big four accounting firms. No more. That term is now reserved for the four new emperors of new world order – Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.  


Its pretty clear that the big four is going to rule us for a while. The more intriguing question is, out of these four, which one is going to reign supreme over and above the other 3.


A popular bet will be Apple. After all by market capitalization its already the second biggest company in the world (Behind only Exxon Mobil). With record revenues and profits in Q1 2012 and the soaring success of I-pad 3, not to mention the already crazy hype of much awaited i-phone 5, Apple is outliving the Jobs-era and set to rule from Wall Street to our heart. But what makes Apple create such fanatic following and the Steve Jobs ideals that made Apple such a phenomenon could be the same reason which could be a deterrent for the Apple juggernaut. I am referring to the tight end-to-end control that Apple has over his hardware and software. In an age where power is shifted from manufacturer to consumer, this kind of control could be a big turn off for consumers. If anything, the success of Android is telling us that consumers seem to be liking the flexibility and tinkering ability of Android much more than i-OS.


Facebook is growing at a phenomenal rate. But since they are still dependent on advertising to create revenue for them, the very definition of Facebook being a personal space maybe at jeopardy. The problem is, if Facebook stops being a personal space, than there is no reason for consumers to spend significant time there. And knowing how fickle-minded people are about changing their internet browsing habit, the continuity of Facebook as a popular space as well a huge money earning machine can be two incompatible visions. There is already significant backlash about privacy settings that Facebook is facing. The signs are there that this criticism and scrutiny will only grow.


Amazon is starting a revolution where they stop being an online retailer and start being the most dominant retailer in the planet, challenging even the mighty Walmart. Also with Kindle Fire, they are going into media and content business, and creating an eco-system that will probably rival Apple and Google. But the Amazon journey has just started and with significantly less presence in emerging world, Amazon will have to do a lot to catch up. And not to mention that through Kindle Fire, they are betting that they will earn a lot of money through content to make up for the loss they are incurring in hardware. So far, that dream is yet to materialize.


Which leaves us with Google. Google had more failures than success in the last 10 years and is still regarded as a one trick pony who gets all his glory and money through the search engine business. Even with all the popularity of Youtube, Google is yet to find out a way to generate significant money from Youtube. But despite that, smart money would be on Google to reign over Apple, Facebook and Amazon because of Android. What Microsoft has done through Windows for 20+ years, Google is about to do the same for mobile OS, through Android. And as mobile and tab is becoming the battleground of the future, few would bet against Google and its Android to win this war and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in the new world order.

Marketing idea no 251 – BYOD. A modern twist in smart phone and demise of Blackberry

BYOB. For years bring your own booze has been like music to one’s ears. But for RIM, the canadian makers of Blackberry smart phone, a new phenomenon called BYOD or bring your own device is signalling the end of Blackberry era.

Blackberry currently holds just 8.2 percent market share in smart phone category it created. its stock price has fallen by 80 percent in one year. It has lost 125 million dollar in Q1 2012. And its founders and Co CEO Balsillie and Mike Lazaradis have both resigned amid pressure last year. Its clear that Blackberry harvesting season is running into trouble.

A lot of it is due to the popularity of Apple and Android software running phones. Blackberry is a darling of the corporate crowd thanks to its tight security and enterprise sollutions. But there hasnt been a great phone from RIM for a long time and as a result executives started bringing their own phones, which in almost all cases is an i-phone or Android, and that puts pressures on the companies to allow employees use their own phone for office purpose instead of the boring Blackberry that they are giving to the employees. Eventually the tech guys in corporates, who are the biggest supporters of Blackberry thanks to the amount of control it gives the IT guys, understood that the company is better of buying a phone that employees want and use. Which is a I-phone or Android.

Marketing Idea No. 250 – Comfort marketing

In the recent Popcorn trend report, Faith Popcorn has mentioned quite clearly that “Retro is good” is becoming a major consumer trend. What it means is consumers are increasingly becoming nostalgic for the “good old days” when life was just “oh-so-simple”. Who can blame them? Nostalgia and love for the past has always been one of the most powerful of human emotions.

Whats interesting is the brands all over the world are seizing this opportunity. A huge number of brands are celebrating their anniversary and heritage as a clear way of connecting with people. It started with Coca Cola celebrating their 125 years and Oreo celebrating their 100. But now the space is jammed with plenty of brands like General Motors Truck, who are also jumping on this bandwagon to celebrate their anniversary. This has given rise to a trend in marketing called “Comfort Marketing”, where brands talk about their great heritage, celebrate them through enagegement and pass on the message that in an insanely hecic and changed world, consumers can take comfort from this old brands.

There is also another benefit from this. This kind of nostalgia-based comfort marketing is very attractive to older population who was largely been ignored by marketers. Now that everyone is obsessing with youth and the cash is drying up with young adults due to recession, attention is turned towards these cash rich semi-retired people. A very smart marketing move indeed.

Marketing Idea No. 249: The hidden benefits of e-reader and erotica for women

The rise of e-reader and e-book revolution has already some high profile victims like the mighty Borders bookstore. Not only that, even other influential  book stores as well as publishing houses like Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster etc. are feeling the digital pain. And with the launch of Kindle Fire, Amazon is about to turn up the heat.

But other interesting benefits are coming out of this e-book and e-reader revolution. All of a sudden purchase of women centered erotic novels have gone up. In fact “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the recent novel by little known writer E.L. James, has taken publishing industry by storm. In March, 2012 this book has become the highest downloaded book in Amazon as well as the number 1 best-seller in New York Times bestseller. This erotica juggernaut didnt stop at that. On March 26, 2012 Universal Studios snapped up the rights for making a trilogy out of this, after going into a bidding war with 2 other major studios. All this for a book, that none knew about when they were celebrating new year on December 31, 2011.

So its abundantly clear that the E.L.James story may have some similarities with the J.K. Rowling story, but 50 shades of Grey is no Harry Potter. So the question is why this sudden rise of female friendly erotica?

As it turns out there was always demand for erotic novels among women, but there was no way for them to hide these guilty pleasures. After all, its hard to hide the cover page of a very graphic erotic novel from the prying eyes of mother, husband or children. But with the coming of age of e-readers, women suddenly found a way to tend to their inner need for erotica without telling the whole world what they are reading.

An unexpected side benefit to Amazon Kindle? I am sure Jeff Bezos is not complaining. Neither are millions of women all over the world whose passion has been re-ignited.