Meet Generation C: The Connected Consumer

Meet Generation C.jpgRead time - 02:15 

Imagine a Baby Boomer couple searching for their next holiday destination online or a Gen X father searching for appropriate content for his child online or a millennial orderinga meal delivery service from UberEats prompted by an ad they saw on Facebook. Let's try this again. Imagine a Gen Z chatting on WhatsApp or a mid-30s mom picking up groceries at Checkers she ordered online via the grocery store's website. See, all these individuals are labelled Generation C aka the Connected Consumer simply because they all live in the digital age.

The connected consumer is complex and diverse; unlike the traditional consumer, who's not looking for 'simple and fast' but rather 'personalised and proactive.' The Connected Consumer is empowered, knowledgeable, has ample choice and high expectations towards brands they interact with on a daily. 

What does this mean for brands?
Do they now have to focus all their marketing efforts on Generation C? Well, no! Because they still have consumers who are not 'connected.' Brands need to realise that the so-called 'connected consumers' are nothing more than that, consumers. What they need to do is understand these consumers in details as they have strong implications of their marketing efforts. Factors such as diversity, inclusivity, age, lifestyle and interests are important when it comes to reaching this 'generation.'

Who is connected in South Africa?
According to Google's consumer barometer:


66% of South African consumers will search online before making a purchase ergo the internet is playing a significant role in the consumer's buying decision and of those, 15% first learned of a product that they purchased as a result of having discussions with their network on social media.
Consumers are exposed to reviews, comments and complaints posted by friends, family and peers online, these comments and reviews go a long way when they make a buying decision.

Where does this leave traditional media?
Well, it's not dying. Its shifting and evolving to mimic the things consumers love doing online. The benefits of traditional media channels cannot be ignored. Reaching millions on TV, the engaged audience on print and the loyalty of radio listeners is all too great. The key is to combine the best of digital and the best of traditional to maximize success. 

How can recruiters leverage this?
One easy way to answer this is by saying that they have to shift from traditional models of recruiting and adapting to new ones, just like marketers did and we now have connected marketing. Recruiters need to have what Forbes calls super connectors or talent curators. This 'super connector 'could be someone who has access to influential people, companies and deep knowledge of a specific industry and its characteristic.

They would have to know your company culture and what drives the brand so they can bring in the right candidates. Bear in mind that connected consumers of all ages, from different sectors spend most of their time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram et al. all these platforms enable them to showcase their skills, behaviours and attitudes and recruiters can curate content that speaks specifically to those people and lure them in like true influencers and brand advocates do.

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