July 10, 2020|
5 min read
How Do You Plan for 2030? And Should You?
If you’re in Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing, you are well into Three-Year Strategic Plans and next year Brand Plans. You likely have a few drafts and financial plans roughed out and pre-approved. Then the hard work begins: writing Sales and Customer Plans and executing all the details to ensure that everything goes smoothly and sales come in.
Every year, especially if you have a seasonal business, you’re directing your partners to bring new ideas that will connect and help move your brand up in share-of-mind or share-of-stomach. But this year has really thrown us a curveball. Planning right now will be extra difficult with businesses shifting to have basic presence and shelf space.
Despite the changes in the world today, there is a huge opportunity to get a competitive edge. While some brands and businesses are focused on today, savvy marketers can conduct a parallel path of strategic or open research to feed strategic development for the next few years, while others work to hang on and then catch up. It might feel crazy to think about five or ten years from now, but those insights help create the path forward and lead to creating your brand’s—and perhaps category’s—future.
How do you do this? It starts by understanding the values of your future customers. Understand what really matters to connect with them and build a relationship, until they have purchasing power.
What We Can Learn from the Millennial Shift
There are some shocking parallels to ten years ago. We were just emerging from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Millennials were graduating school and entering into the workforce. They were shaking up the workforce and the world of commerce.
Remember all those headlines about how Millennials were killing a bunch of industries? The idea was that Millennials were different than the generations before them. They’d experienced a massive shift in technology, growing up alongside the Internet.
Fast-forward, and now we’re talking about Gen Z.
Gen Z, or Zoomers, are already showing that they’re even more different than Millennials and, surprisingly, generational theories suggest … they’re more like the Silent Generation: placid, hard-working, caring, and open-minded. They grew up entirely online. They’re super-skeptical of marketing, although they want brands to be authentic with them. They’re more pragmatic, cautious, and global in their thinking. They expect brands to showcase values. And they definitely don’t buy the same way any generation before them did!
Investing in research on Gen Z and their forming habits makes a lot of sense. A lot of us ignored the growing purchasing power of Millennials until we were caught flat-footed. We want to build attributes into our brands now to ensure we’re relevant with the up-and-coming Zoomers.
Looking Forward to the Next Gen … They May Already Be Your Customer
In a few years’ time, we’re going to have this conversation all over again as another generation comes into their own. Generation Alpha isn’t on anyone’s radar right now, because their parents are still in control of buying. But here’s the thing: in 2015, Gen Z represented roughly 25.9% of the population and, with their allowances and small jobs, still had over $44 billion to spend every year. Plus, they influenced their parents’ spend. Gen A is tracking in the same direction.
We should be working to understand what matters to them now. We want to know how they react to issues, communication platforms, social media, brands, and marketing. How do they buy, and what do they value?
The Value of Open Research
If you’ve done open research, you’ve felt the value of potential consumers sharing with you authentically, without directing them consciously. Open research across generations reveals patterns and how priorities in life change people’s decision-making. This information can help Marketers plan and direct their future, ensuring relevancy by holding the brand’s essence true, even if the reason to buy changes as life priorities shift. Millennials today will have children and start thinking about issues beyond “self.” Mid-life health and wealth topics will begin to tap their Raz filter. And they’ll be reshaping what’s available for their kids based on their beliefs.
In ten years, Gen Z, now in their teens and 20s, will be entering that phase of life, so brands can expect to see further shifts. Brands that typically market to teens and college-aged people will need to prepare for the ripple effects of Gen A.
People change and grow over time, so keep your research a mile wide, instead of drilling a mile deep and getting only a tiny slice of the big picture. With open research, we can keep up with our customers as they grow and change!
And as you start planning for 2030, remember to start with the why!
Meet Margo…brand visioning & marketing
Margo Jay is a Master Brand Strategist with a career leading globally recognized brands; developing and launching a proven model that maximizes competitive sales potential and consumer appeal. She has built the model to help companies of all sizes. Her Client roster includes entrepreneurs through to Fortune 100 brands: NHL teams, Global QSR brands, CPG brands, Broadcast brands, Agencies, Non Profit brands, Hard goods…this model and process provides competitive advantage in any category.
Complete clarity. Ownable distinct selling proposition. Shared values. Brand Clarity. Brand Focus. Brand Inspiration. Brand Obsession. Unlocking brand potential is what she does.
And it all starts with why!
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