The Most Important Thing in the World for Marketers to Understand

On October 23, I gave the keynote at the (very fun) Arts Reach 2014 conference in (very fun) downtown Los Angeles. The talk was called “The Great Jump Ball” because my point was to explain that the cultural and business and societal norms of the next 50 years or so are up for grabs right now.

The reason for this is that we’re handing off the torch of power from one massive generation (The Baby Boomers) to another (The Generation Known as Gen Y or Millennials). This isn’t merely numbers. It’s about what kind of assumptions and norms will dominate a culture. My point is simple: We are now already in a Gen Y world. Boomers still (for just a couple more years) outnumber the Gen Y, but morally and in terms of cultural strength, the battle’s over. The default position of our culture on any issue is the default position on that issue for Gen Y. Since the ’60s, it’s the been the Boomers in charge.

(As a Gen Xer, I just want to say, in true Xer style, whatever. We’re used to being ignored.)

Not convinced? Fair enough. Let me share a visual with you that might help. I call it “The Most Important Thing in the World for Marketers to Understand”:

GenYchartThe red line is the population of Boomers and the Green, Gen Y. The crossover point is upon us: 2015, but the real crossover point, in my opinion, was 2008. Why? Because the financial crisis of 2008 was the point where enough of the Gen Y generation were adults, and we had the ultimate failure both economically and morally of the Boomer generation.

Boomers shouldn’t feel bad about this. It’s how it’s supposed to be: sunrise, sunset. You had a good run and made a big (sometimes actually even positive) impact on the world.

But you’re not in charge anymore. Not really. Marketers, including live entertainment marketers, need to come to understand that.

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