How 'Generation V' Will Change Your Business - WikiLeaks (15 pages)

analysis • 0 introducing generation v • 1 generation v is unlike other generations

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Publication Date: 3 January 2008/ID Number: G00153798

Page 3 of 15

© 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved.


1.0 Introducing Generation V

In 10 years, the key influence on all business-to-consumer (B2C) purchases will be the online
experiences associated with them. By 2015, more money will be spent on marketing and selling
to multiple, anonymous, online personas than marketing and selling offline. Generation Virtual,
also known as "Generation V," is driving this transition in customer interactions.

Companies will need new skills and techniques to engage and remain relevant in this new world.
This research will help define the criteria for future CRM initiatives, and help companies
understand the most-disruptive threats to their continuous relationship with customers. To
illustrate this new virtual environment, we'll follow a typical Generation V member; and we'll
provide critical advice for CRM leaders to establish and grow relationships with Generation V

1.1 Generation V Is Unlike Other Generations

Generation V is the recognition that general behavior, attitudes and interests are starting to blend
together in an online environment. The idea of Generation X (and, later, Generation Y) was
conceived as a way to understand new generations that didn't seem to have connections to the
cultural icons of the baby boomers. Marketers use the categories of baby boomers, Generation X
and Generation Y to segment the population for targeting products and services, focusing on age.

However, as more baby boomers (who are living longer) and the younger generations go online
and participate/communicate in a flat, virtual environment, generational distinctions start to break
down. Customers will hop across segments at various times for various reasons, and are likely to
act like several generations at any given time.

Being part of Generation V and the virtual environment provides many aspects of a level playing
field where the age, gender, class and income of individuals are less important and less rewarded
than competence, motivation and effort. For example, an 11-year-old child can be the leading "go
to" person for advice on how to upgrade/hack into a digital video recorder (DVR) for the purpose
of gaining more recording space. An unpopular office worker can be a highly revered and
accomplished "40th-level half-elf" in an online role-playing game. The opportunities for reputation,
prestige, influence and personal growth create a powerful social draw for masses of people to
spend more time in a virtual world. To accomplish this, many people are creating anonymous
personas in multiple online communities, such as:

• Role-playing games, such as Second Life or World of Warcraft

• Blogs

• Online communities, such as YouTube and Digg

• E-commerce sites, such as or

Traditional wisdom has focused on customer identification as the foundation for one-to-one
marketing campaigns. However, the reality of Generation V creating anonymous online personas,
and the sheer power of their growing influence in an online environment, means companies must
change their methods of acquisition and relationship building.

CRM-focused companies, starting with the marketing department, must take notice of this change
and engage these personas, or face the wrath of "virtual mobs" and a mass-customer exodus.

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