The iPod generation looks for honesty, not marketing spin

Richard Scase

Is the growing dominance of an online business culture an opportunity or a threat for the marketing and PR industries? The shift to B2B and B2C from conventional offline channels offers huge opportunities, but only if marketing and PR experts reinvent themselves. There is still too much complacency among senior marketing professionals who have been brought up in the 'old school' and who are predominantly male, pale and stale.

For too many of them, the online world is a niche. Certainly they regard it as growing and important, but they still interpret it as one that can be incorporated within the old, fixed and taken-for-granted marketing paradigms.

If only the 21st century were as simple as that. The consumer market is being revolutionised by the radical new psychologies of Generation Y and, within this category, what I describe as the iPod generation. These are the highly educated and talented young men and women of diverse ethnic and national cultures who will make up a growing proportion of the affluent, high-spending consumers of the coming decades. How do they decide which goods and services to buy? What channels of selection do they use? How do they research what is available to them?