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Gen C and the Multichannel Marketing Imperative

December 2, 2013 By Heather Fletcher
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Editor's Note: You can hear Sandy Carter, Esther Janssen and Fran Barfoot discuss these issues in more depth on Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. on the webinar "The Secret to Managing Multichannel Marketing." Click here to register, and bring your own questions for the live Q&A!

No matter what vertical their company is in, marketers need to communicate with hyper-connected customers known as "Generation C," agree the panelists at Target Marketing magazine's recent luncheon at The Union League Club of New York.

On Oct. 29, speakers from IBM, SAP, Chubb Insurance, CitiMortgage and the nonprofit Human Rights Campaign took on the subject of "The Secret to Managing Multichannel Marketing: How you need to focus your efforts for 2014."

About 77 percent of customer communication now comes through Generation C, says  Sandy Carter, IBM general manager of ecosystem development and social business evangelism, and Target Marketing Direct Marketer of the Year for 2013. Carter explains the term—coined by Brian Solis—stands for "connected." It's mostly identified with Millennials, but includes customers of any age who represent the always-on influencers who consumers seek out for advice when deciding on a purchase.

Marketers should court Gen C so its members can become brand advocates, Carter says. "This Generation C is really looking for a company who treats them as one customer across all channels."

That's why it's never been more important to understand social and mobile, agree Carter and panelist Jen Knox, vice president at SAP. Generation C "doesn't do email," according to Carter. Knox points out connected people check their smartphones 150 times a day. This year, Knox says SAP is focusing more on social selling. IBM is reaching Millennials for recruiting through Facebook, which, Carter says, translates to word-of-mouth marketing.



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