Canadian small business owners must market to Generation C

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In a digital age, traditional marketing materials fail to appeal to internet-savvy consumers

This year, the Quebec Retail Council's annual convention will take up the issue of how to best reach an online pool of potential clients. For many council members, this is a particularly difficult challenge because these same consumers are often more familiar with search engines and social network sites used as advertising venues than companies are.

The Montreal Gazette reports that the growing number of consumers who create and post their own content on internet sites is commonly referred to by small business owners and marketers as Generation C. Marketing to Generation C is a difficult - but essential - task for many Canadian entrepreneurs.

A survey of 4,000 Canadians suggests that many Generation C consumers feel they should be capable of co-creation with the companies they patronize. The news source reports that IBM's recently released study shows that 69 percent of respondents would readily work with retailers to co-design new products.

Thus, Generation C is not just changing the way businesses must target consumers, but it is also changing the nature of human resources and corporate operations. Companies that once banned Facebook and Twitter from the workplace are often encouraging workers to use the tools frequently to promote products on the social networks.

Business owners might be well-advised to look for tech-savvy individuals when making new hires to help them get their marketing strategies up to speed. In a trend that will likely spread to Canada, a study from BIA/ Kelsey's User View Wave VII consumer tracking project shows that 90 percent of American consumers use online media to decide which local business to support.


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