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 We Live in a Post-Demographic World

We Live in a Post-Demographic World

Businesses have to adapt to a future where ways of living, working and playing are changing rapidly. We can no longer put people in neat demographic boxes because people of all ages in all markets are constructing their own identities more freely than ever. As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income family status and more. So, you can stop trying to figure out the differences between Gen X and Gen Y because  ‘generational generalizations’ are fast becoming a thing of the past.

Here are a few reasons why it’s time to throw out the tired and traditional demographic approach to consumer behavior:

 A Revolution in Transparency is Just Beginning

A Revolution in Transparency is Just Beginning

Thanks to the radical transparency made possible by a world that is connected 24/7 in real-time, businesses exist in glass boxes. Outsiders can easily see inside. Sure, not always with 20/20 vision. But, they can see the people, processes and values at work. And, companies that are not living up to stated values and brand promises get exposed quickly and mercilessly.

Perhaps the most extreme example in 2018 is, in a word: Weinstein. In a hashtag? #MeToo. A New York Times article revealed multiple abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein sparking a global conversation about patriarchy and gender. In 2017, Uber’s culture of sexism and bullying was exposed when one staffer’s blog post went viral, resulting in the ousting of founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. Meanwhile, an ‘anti-diversity manifesto’ by a Google employee shed light on the issue of gender diversity in tech companies.

 Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Commerce

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Commerce

Everywhere in the world, consumers are embracing the outsourcing of tedious retail tasks like hunting, negotiating, purchasing and arranging delivery to algorithms and smart devices. Amazon and other online retailers now offer “one-touch auto re-ordering” to save time. Financial institutions are experimenting with auto-money saving apps and AI-enabled payment cards. Even KFC is testing ‘Smile to pay’ face-recognition technology in Asia. And, personal assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are gaining in popularity and everyday use. The list of applications is already endless.

All of this epic efficiency is powered by a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Once the stuff of popular movies like The Matrix and Ex Machina, these technologies are now part of everyday life.

Why global trends matter to small business

As a small business owner in a rural community, you might wonder how global trends apply to you? You might also be so busy and overloaded that you simply 'switch off' anything that isn't urgent. Trends come and go, you say. Who has the time and brain space to stay on top of them?

But finding time to keep up with global trends and issues is critically important. Your customers are not just shopping locally. They're exposed to global trends, so you should be too. Doing so gives you the field vision to see what's coming before it gets there. It exposes you to different perspectives that can drive innovation. It alerts you to emerging opportunities you can capitalize on. It keeps you fresh and ensures your business doesn't become outmoded. And, it helps make you more sensitive and in-tune with different people and viewpoints.

Contact Us

Community Futures Network of Alberta
Box 753 – Cochrane, AB T4C 1A9
T: 403-851-9995
Toll free: 1-877-482-3672


About Community Futures

Guidance, support, and financial help for small businesses. Community Futures has been helping rural Alberta entrepreneurs for over 30 years with guidance, business loans, training, and free resources.
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