Consider these coming shifts in information consumption

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My column last month ended with this: “[Marketers] continually need to revisit how their cus-tomers prefer to be reached, how they consume information and marketing messages, and how their habits for both are evolving.”The three macro catalysts behind this evolution are broadband Internet access, wireless (eventually broadband wireless) and a demo-graphic bubble represented by people who are today around 14 years old.

Broadband. Some 49.5 million Americans, or 38% of all home Internet users, now connect to the Internet via broadband lines, a growth of 27% between May and November last year, Nielsen/NetRatings reported earlier this month. During the same six-month period, narrowband usage remained flat at 69.6 million, the Internet research company said.

Given these numbers, advertisers and their agencies should start tuning their creative under the assumption that their b-to-b online targets are on broadband connections at work and at home. (See this issue’s NetMarketing section, starting on page 15, for ideas on making the most of your rich media campaigns.)

Wireless. A plethora of new handheld devices, both phones and PDAs, will erase the last thin line between being inside and outside the office. It goes beyond how your logo looks on a 320x320, 65,000-color screen. Rather, it’s about the need to build customer relationships on a 24/7 basis.

Demographics. The user interfaces on the online games favored by my 14-year-old are extraordinarily complex, with multiple feeds of information arriving simultaneously. The games’ screens, which give me vertigo, underscore a big difference in how this generation accesses and processes information. Your current assumptions about marketing and messaging don’t apply to these youngsters (who, remember, will be in the work force in less than a decade).


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