Malleable Musings

November 29, 2008

Gen X, Y and Z

My wife works every other weekend which means I have the pleasure of looking after my two little monsters sons, Malachy (4) and Ciaran (3) on my own.  Today they woke up at around 6am.  They have a sense of irony – they wake up early every weekend but are impossible to drag out of bed on a weekday.  The boys bounced on my bed until I got up and came downstairs to find them wanting to play computers.

Anyway whilst they were pottering about on the superb CBeebies website (well worth the TV license fee) or playing Purble Place, I was getting breakfast sorted.  However having seen them connecting with technology I started thinking about some recent articles and posts I’d been reading about Millennials (Gen Y) and I also remembered a photo that had been in our local newspaper some 28 odd years ago of my then two year old kid sister playing some simple recognition games on a Commodore Pet.

Now I should say that although I’m in higher ed marketing, I probably don’t take this sort of stuff as seriously as some in the industry do.  Not yet, anyway, because most of the potential students I’m trying to reach are more likely Gen X rather than Y – and indeed they are probably more likely to be Baby Boomers or Joneses or whatever names suit the 45’s-70’s than Gen Y.

There are bound to be some commonalities between people who share similar upbringings but I really don’t think you can take too much for granted, especially when you market internationally as I do.  People are individuals and should always be treated as such rather than being labelled, categorised and processed accordingly.  However such thinking leads to the “segments of one” CRM approach that seems so elusive.

Anyway much later on in the day after I’d done my chores, having decided it was too cold to go to the park we went off to Jam Jam Boomerang, a thoroughly excellent playcentre by Coventry Airport, and whilst the kids were playing in the ball pool or on the slides I remembered a summary of a speech by Neil Howe at AMA’08 that talked about Millennials and parents.  Karlyn – thank you for extremely interesting post.

Although they all seem very sensible and valuable, personally I was less interested in the lessons for colleges and universities.  Instead what I was thinking about, over my coffee and later crawling through the climbing frames after the little monkeys, was what events are going to shape my kids’ lives, what values and traits will I help to instill in them and will be these be typical of Generation Z?  I also couldn’t help but thinking should they want to go to college, how much of a help or hindrance would I be to them.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


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