Industrial Age marketing worked on Baby Boomers simply because they needed stuff.
During the post-war years, materials were scarce, money was tight and nobody had anything.
Stuff was shiny and new and needed.
One of the reasons why Industrial Age marketing is falling apart is (at least in the western world) we are now living in the opposite environment – stuff is cheap, plentiful and wasted.
We no longer need stuff.
We want stuff.
As a society we have all moved up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Today we buy stuff (and buy into Brands) no longer for Physiological or Safety needs, we are buying for esteem, perceived love/belonging and occasionally even Self-Actualisation needs.
And this is the absolute limit to where Industrial Age Marketing can take Brands.
But in his later years, Maslow himself realised there was one need even greater than Self-Actualisation, and so he added one more tier to his hierarchy: Self-Transcendence – the giving of the self to a higher goal outside oneself.
And in here, for those who see it, lies the real opportunity for Brands in the new Connection Economy we live in today – the ability for us to connect with others (including Brands) as we take a shared journey up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs towards self-transcendence.
In a Connected Economy where we no longer need stuff, we will ultimately buy into Brands that help us change our world.
The Brands who intend on lasting the distance in this Connected Age, will be aiming for Maslow’s top tier.