Thursday, January 06, 2011

Future gazing is difficult

The Marketing Society has published three lists of predictions created by The Futures Company. It is difficult to come up with 30 predictions so it is not surprising that some of them are statements of the obvious or the writer’s pet hates/desires.

These are the ones that interested/amused me.

Generational rumble. 
As over-50 Boomers confront diminished retirement prospects and under-30 Millennials face curtailed employment opportunities, both will demand a greater share of resources, attention, help and support. Neither will be willing or able to be overly generous about the hardships faced by the other, precipitating a contentious series of stand-offs and showdowns. I think that might be over-stating it a bit but there is no doubt that the generational conflict that is being whipped up by the media is creating real hassle.

Rich man, poor man…middle-man gone. 
The middle market in most developed countries will be squeezed as rich people spend again on elite luxuries and everyone else copes with continuing financial pressures by prioritizing and economizing.
This is an important one – the middle gets squeezed and squeezed. The implications of this apply to all ages but particularly the 30-50 year olds who are in the period of maximum spend.

Boomers shaken means Boomers stirred. 
In response to the volatility, angst and disappointment of the past few years, Boomers will grab at every opportunity they can afford to reward themselves. Reacting to excess and uncertainty, some Boomers will abruptly change their colors – growing more conservative, albeit with much thought, pain and regret. This sounds it written with real feeling – maybe the writer’s mum and dad have become Conservatives? Not something that should worry or is relevant to most marketers.

Boomers will reach out… 
Boomers will go downstream, reaching out to younger generations to create new opportunities relating to work, leisure, family.
…Only to be put out. Boomers will be stunned when younger generations vehemently resist these efforts. Again, this one sounds personal rather than an objective analysis of the behavior.

Finally Acting Their Age.
 Boomers will rethink aspects of age nullification and, as such, will appreciate more the value / comfort of age-appropriate behavior.
On the prowl for quiet
Boomers will put increasing value on cocoons that offer refuge from being subjected to hearing others’ incessant blather on the cell phones, from younger people murdering grammar, and from infants being dragged into inappropriate venues at inappropriate hour. I like this one – has the ring of being written by a grumpy old Boomer.

The first $100 smartphone is unlocked for American markets. 
Asian producers can already make a smartphone, which they can sell in Asian and African markets at a price point of around $100 or its equivalent. Absolutely right. There will be nothing other than smartphones - is there.

‘Brush TV’ prototype is introduced.
With the rise of touch screen enabled smart phones and tablets, it has become more common to see consumers mistakenly wiping or tapping their desktop computer monitor or laptop. Where consumer behavior goes, technology follows, so we may see the early development of ‘brush TV’. If this happens then there will be a market opportunity for TV screen cleaning products. I know what the writer means, as I have tried to poke my Kindle’s screen, forgetting it is not an iPad.

Thanks, The Futures Company and Marketing Society. Made interesting and amusing reading. Dick Stroud

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