Social Networks and The Lost Generation

by Patricia Hewitt 0

This past week I attended an industrypayments conference and had the opportunity to sit in on a sessionthat presented some ideas on how social media and social networkscould be used to promote epayments. The case study focused on howsocial networks were leveraged by a college campus housing companyto market online payments for monthly rent fees.

What struck me about the session was that the focus and discussionwas entirely around Gen Y demographics. So, during the Q&Aperiod I asked a question about social media/networks and some bestpractices around using them to reach Baby Boomers, who represent asignificant portion of the U.S. population. The panelists respondedby telling me that most of this group uses e-mail and that would bethe best way to reach them. Yes, you hard me right – usee-mail.

More than one audience member jumped in to politely point out thatmany members of the audience fell into this category and are activeusers of social network sites (visualize lots of head nodding). Thepanelists seemed uniformly uninterested. Note to self: big marketgap exists to create social network market and communication plansthat address the tens of millions of individuals who are not partof Gen Y.

With all the attention paid to segmentation, relevance, dataanalysis, and personalization, I find it puzzling that there is somuch information being gathered about how Gen Y uses online toolsand so little about how Baby Boomers use these same sites. Dataanalysis and segmentation should be as agnostic as possible inorder to understand the characteristics of products and servicesthat have both broad and specific appeal.

This is the age of specialization, and as specialists, nogeneration should be left behind. In all fairness, there may verywell be work being done in this area. Stay tuned for an update as Ipursue this line of thought. I welcome information on this subject- email to phewitt@mercatoradvisorygroup.com or @paymentgal.