Posted by: Laura Phillips Garner | March 30, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond!

The possibilities of cyberspace match that of galaxies far, far away. Those born digital expect infinity, according to blogger and trend spotter, Josh Spears, founding partner of Undercurrent, a digital marketing firm.

Imagine a world without limitations.

That’s what consumers who were “born digital” do every day, according to Josh Spear, the 25-year-old founding partner of Undercurrent, a digital media think tank and consultant to companies from CNN to Ford. Blogger and trend spotter Spear wrote a commentary about born digital consumers and the concept of infinity in the March 2009 “Revolution” magazine, published by London-based Haymarket, a global media company.

These digital natives, often called Generation Z or Millenials, were born in 1980 or after. They grew up with computers and the Internet. Most do not know a world without digital, and for them, the possibilities are as endless as the vastness of cyberspace.

This lack of boundaries on “space, time and energy” as a worldview could have a profound effect on companies and how they market their brands in the future. The discretionary income of digital natives will continue to grow as they age. However, it is unlikely they will turn away from the concept of infinite accessibility anymore than earlier generations (aka digital immigrants) are going to fully embrace it.

That means, according to Spears, that marketing tactics that focus on scarcity don’t have much effect on digital natives, and may well go the way of the dinosaurs. Neither do marketing campaigns with start and stop dates because digital natives live in a world that is always on. They just don’t care if marketers want them to buy products or engage services now; they will buy them when they darn well please because they know they will be able to find whatever they are looking for somewhere in the infinite vastness of cyberspace.

Marketers that do not have digital media strategies or decrease their importance should think again. It’s not hard to deduce that eventually digital media will be the main marketing channel because the digital natives as a population will continue to grow in numbers and monetary influence. Computers, the Internet, and mobile are the media digital natives innately gravitate to, so marketers must be there or miss out.

Half of the world’s population is age 29 and younger, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Database. With those kinds of stats, Buzz Lightyear’s (“Toy Story”) catchphrase, “To infinity and beyond,” just took on a whole new meaning for marketers.

–Laura Phillips Garner

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