Think About Tomorrow’s Audience Today

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By Jenny Kosek for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

Who is your audience today?

Who is your audience tomorrow?

You probably have an answer to the first question, but what about the second? Understanding your audience – the collective group that is buying or would buy your product – is a two pronged process. To remain viable, you not only need to understand your audience as it exists today, but you must also anticipate how your audience will change so you can serve them in the future. Industries change rapidly, and of course, technology and the Internet of Things will continue to impact the products and services B2Bs develop. Aside from industry developments, American demographics are endlessly shifting and anticipating the impact on your audience will be crucial to your longevity. Consider:

Generation Gaps

Think about the buyers you work with right now. Are most of them older than 46, or younger? If the answer is older, now is the time to begin preparing for when their younger counterparts become your new contacts. This translates to operating two marketing approaches at once: a more traditional, networking-based approach to uphold your existing relationships, and a strong digital approach to begin connecting with your future customers, the majority of whom – 68% of buyers ages 36-45, and 89% of buyers ages 18-35 – are making corporate purchases online. Your marketing approach needs to be multi-generational to support your success today while preparing for tomorrow.

Gender Gaps

Buying and selling, especially in heavy manufacturing, has historically been a man’s world. But women are becoming an increasingly large part of the general population, and although engaging women in manufacturing positions has been challenging, the continuing shift in gender demographics will impact these occupations more than ever. As of 2014, forty states host populations where women outnumber men; nearly 60% of college graduates are women; and the 2012 census reported that 51.5% of management, professional, and related positions were held by women. Is your brand speaking to them?

Changing Demographics

According to the Census Bureau, by 2018 minorities will make up more than half of children under 18. Not long after, the total U.S. white population will begin an inexorable decline in numbers due to aging baby boomers. How are you approaching this richly multicultural future? Are you preparing bilingual advertising materials? Are the images and photographs used in your collateral reflective of a more diverse population? Addressing these upcoming dramatic changes to U.S. populations early in your planning will help you proactively connect to an evolving population.

Keep an eye on the data available regarding the industries you serve and how these trends affect them in order to tailor your messaging, marketing, and development to stay connected with tomorrow’s customers.