Do You Know Your Customers’ Technographics?

I’ve been a passionate proponent for business adoption of emerging social technologies . In my previous role at a major US retailer, I led the charge into Second Life and set up blogs for insight sharing between employees. Spending time in the the Social Media echo chamber can lead to the belief that Social Media’s time is now, but the truth is, the majority of US consumers don’t get Social Media.

Forrester’s Sr. Analyst Jeremiah Owyang shared their Groundswell tool this evening on his blog. The tool allows you to look at the Social Technographics (how people use social technologies) for different segments of the population. This is valuable information to consider when creating a social media strategy. Creating a blog may be of little value if your core customer segments don’t read them. Looking at the different levels of participation across age groups, I’m struck by two things:

  1. Just over 10% of the US Boomer population (45-54) are “Creators” or “Joiners” Over half of the Boomer population falls into the “Inactive” category. This may explain the blank stares I get from friends and business associates when I talk about Twitter or blogging. It also says a lot about the unwillingness of business executives, many of whom fall into this demographic, to allocate funding to social media.
  2. The level of participation by US Millenials (18 24) is off the charts. 62% of this group are “Joiners” and 39% are creating social media content. These people are totally engaged with social media. It’s often their primary means of communication and creating relationships. In a way, their are defined by their online identities.

Owyang asks if this a generational thing. Will Gen Y continue to communicate this way for the rest of their lives? Or is this a life stage experience where only the young participate online. I agree with Owyang that it is the former. This demographic is quickly becoming the target market for most companies making it more important than ever for companies to begin a regular evaluation of their social media strategy. It may not seem important today. The ROI case may not be obvious, but in time it will be. Getting involved now better positions you to compete for these customers later.

Data from Forrester Research Technographics® surveys, 2007. For further details on the Social Technographics profile, see


3 comments so far

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