Generation C: being forty-something may be trendy again…

Generation C. Gen C. A new buzzword, announcing the downfall of the Generation Y (which itself outdated Generation X a few years ago…). And definitely, the sign that, in our digital world, the age barrier, along with other old-fashioned sociodemographic factors, is tumbling down.

What are we talking about? The C stands for “connected”, but also for “creative”, “communicative”, “collaborative”, and its activities are driven by two other c’s, “content” and “cloud”. What is interesting in this new concept, is that it is not related to the age of the user itself. Generation X and Y used to refer to educational schemes, the X one driven by the upsurge of TV in our life, through numerous channels and dedicated programs, while the Y one was linked to the computer penetration in our homes along with the spread of an ever easier internet access and digitalized exchanges. For a parallel comparison of Gen Y and C, a very good read is “Gen C, Gen Y, Gen who?” by Jake Pearce.

Gen C is different. It is driven by usage, beyond age, education and culture. This implies at least two major consequences for the matters I like to deal with.

In the first place, this is another sign for the  lack of relevancy of sociodemographics. It is now clear that the target for marketing campaigns cannot be defined solely on the basis of age, gender, geographical location or whatever predetermined personal attribute. Target ought to be meant as a group of common interest, sharing same habits, same interests, same fads… This is Gen C vs. X or Y. How we may achieve a satisfying targeting is another (huge) question. Basically the issue may be summarized as follows: “cookie or not cookie?”, and I shall deal with this matter in future posts, showing how a long-life clustering and targeting methodology is to be performed without cookies, especially in this era of acute privacy concerns.

In the second place, then, I believe that the emerging Generation C is a sign for a new deal in Human Resources Management in the marketing area, especially where digital and new technologies are concerned. I have attended a Club Digital conference in Paris last Tuesday (Nov 5th), whose subject was “Recruitment and Career in the Digital Business: key factors of success” (more info in French on, or on Twitter with keyword #DigitalFR). One of the key learnings is that an efficient digital strategy is to be a mix of design and technique, of guidance and execution, of marketing and IT. So of course Digital Natives in their early twenties are badly needed, but on top of their knowledge, some additional experience is required… Guidance, organization, management, in a few words, alignment with the company’s strategic resources at high level (marketing, human resources, finance, sales…) is also at stake. Understanding business challenges, deciphering client needs, organizing data management may imply more than academic expertise. And for this, one needs seniority, some business acumen, in a few words, people having already lived successful challenges, as well as experienced failures, that taught them lessons…

Thus, according to the members of the conference panel, forty-something year old Generation C managers are even a scarce resource, as the need for digital resources is immense, and the share of experienced senior managers in this area very tiny. The Geek world is now ready to welcome Oldies Goldies: this is really good news!

With my Windows phone always connected to the world, an in-depth expertise in big data management, along with my digital experience,  I should be considered as a trendy forty-something year old manager. Good start, isn’t it?


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