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... those who fail to reach the next generation of consumers may find themselves left behind.

The Digital Native Generation

The Digital Native Generation

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Just as our parents grew up in an age when the automobile had long replaced the last horse and buggy, our children have grown up in a time when the internet and related technologies had already replaced older technologies their parents had taken for granted.

The children and teenagers alive today have never known a world without cell phones, and for many of those kids the idea of a world without the internet seems ludicrous.

Even technologies like email, which were groundbreaking for those in their thirties and forties, may seem old fashioned to a generation of young people who grew up on instant messaging and text enabled cell phones.

Many old line companies – and even some newer ones – are finding that reaching the digital generation requires a completely new set of skills and tools. Digital natives generally do not respond the same way as their elders to television commercials, radio ads, newspaper classifieds and other traditional forms of marketing. In order to reach the wired generation companies need to think out of the box and embrace the new technologies that young people are using. That means having a presence on social networking sites like Facebook, putting videos on YouTube and tweeting from Twitter. In order to reach their customers companies will need to adapt and expand their marketing messages beyond old stalwarts like TV and radio ads.

One of the chief challenges companies face when marketing to digital natives is that even the youngest members of this new generation tend to be savvy and somewhat jaded customers. Perhaps more than any previous generation digital natives are bombarded by advertising messages no matter where they go, and they have learned to tune out much of that marketing hysteria. From banner ads on their favorite websites to embedded ads in their emails, digital natives are constantly surrounded by marketing messages, and it can be difficult for companies to break through the noise to find a way to reach this important segment of the population. Companies who are able to tailor their messages to those who could not conceive of world without text messaging and Twitter should enjoy bright prospects, while those who fail to reach the next generation of consumers may find themselves left behind.

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