ANAHEIM, CA -- Seth Mattison, a renowned expert on workforce trends and generational dynamics, helped kick off the 2012 PMA Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, here, Oct. 26 with a fun and informative workshop entitled "Closing the Gap: Engaging Multiple Generations in Today's Dynamic Marketplace." During his presentation, Mr. Mattison advised attendees about how to truly understand today's customers, sales and marketing professionals by first gaining a clear understanding of the different generations that consume the marketplace.
"Generational gaps can be painful on the personal front, but also on the professional front," Mr. Mattison said, noting that oftentimes older generations and younger generations misunderstand one another simply because of the differences between the societies they were brought up in.
"I want to move us to a place of understanding," he continued. "By doing that, we'll have better relationships with our colleagues, clients and companies." Mr. Mattison went on to discuss the four generations that dominate today's marketplace: Traditionalists (pre-1946), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1981) and Millennials (1982-2000). By giving a brief background of each generation, and the trials and tribulations they went through during their formative years, Mr. Mattison brought light to their generational gap in the market, and discussed how companies can use this knowledge to cater to their clients' specific needs.
"Marketing is about speaking to people's values," he said. Each generation has its own set of values and by understanding what those are, people are better able to work together in a more effective manner. For example, the Baby Boomers are "one of the most idealistic and opportunistic generations. In order to connect with this generation, think about where they are in their life." Baby Boomers are in a stage of their life where they're not only looking after themselves and their children, but they're also taking care of their parents. One in four Baby Boomers spend on average 21 hours per week caring for aging parents, Mr. Mattison said. In order to have a successful business relationship with people of this generation, it is necessary to take into consideration what's going on in their world and what is making it difficult to reach them.
Keeping communication simple and easy is the best way to go about conducting business, he added. Each generation has it's own quirks and values. Whether it be taking the time to write a Traditionalist a hand-written thank you card; simplifying the task at hand for a busy Baby Boomer, learning to embrace a Gen X-er's skepticism by being more transparent and authentic, or getting more up-to-speed with Millennials by engaging in social media and technology, learning to understand each other and our different generations, will only lead to more productive and successful relationships, both personal and professional. "At the end of the day, it boils down to communication and flexibility," Mr. Mattison said. "If you can get all four generations engaged and active in your company, it will reflect in the marketplace."