Today's Multigenerational Market a Challenge for Ag, Still Learning What Younger Consumers WantTue, 05 Mar 2019 12:29:44 CST
Today, both the modern workforce and consumer base consists of five different generations, each with its own unique set of values. This multigenerational community of workers/consumers has created an economic conundrum as each demographic struggles to coexist and work together while attempting to mold and shape their environments to fit their respective value sets. In an effort to better understand these current intergenerational dynamics and how they can help guide the grain foods industry in effectively marketing to them, Emily Bowers of the Bakery Equipment Manufacturers & Allieds association, has been involved in research focused on the study of how each of these demographics behave and interact. She recently presented some of the research findings to wheat industry stakeholders at an industry summit hosted by Oklahoma Genetics, Inc. where she spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays as well to share her insights. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Much of what has been seen in the decades leading up to recent years, has catered to the buying habits and purchase preferences of what is currently the older generation of the consumer base - the Baby Boomers. Focusing more on the less understood younger consumer - Bowers says those belonging to the Millennial and Gen-X or Gen-Y generations are strongly motivated by "instant gratification."
"They've been trained from a young age to have everything at their fingertips almost instantly," she explained. "With text messaging, the internet, etc.- they don't really have to wait for anything. So, what drives them is instant gratification and they tend to love specialty products. If they can see instantly that a product is exactly what they're looking for - they're drawn to that product."
In relating that back to the wheat industry, she says in order to successfully market bread and baked goods to these younger consumers, the secret is to get on their level and use the technology and communications channels they are using. This may seem foreign to those who have only experienced traditional media but insists that in order to reach these consumers the adoption of new technology and messaging is necessary as younger generations are no longer plugged into TV, magazines and newspapers - who opt instead to receive their information from social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
"You do have to give in and grab ahold of social media. A lot of messaging that doesn't shed the food industry in a good light, is often viral even if it is 'fake news' per se," Bowers said. "So, as the grain foods and ag industry as whole - you have to use the same tactics that are working against you and employ them to work for you."
In that respect, Bowers urges stakeholders to consider new technologies and open their minds to the possibilities that can come from fresh perspectives in how to interact with consumers - especially now in a time when the marketplace consists of five different age demographics that each require customized messaging to truly impact their purchasing decisions.
Emily Bowers is Senior Director of Education & Operations for BEMA, serving the baking industry as a subject matter expert on talent management and continuing professional education. Prior to joining the non-profit sector, she served in manufacturing operations and public education. She has multi-industry experience as a performance consultant, and has managed the organizational development function for a global manufacturer of packaging solutions, has earned several certifications, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Northwest Missouri State University and a Master's degree in Curriculum Development from Baker University.
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