June 7, 2005

Adapting to the Echo Boomer

If you're already tired of hearing about the “Long Tail” this and the “Long Tail” that, get ready for next business catch-phrase: the “Echo Boomer”, which describes people born between 1982 and 2002. At SuperComm in Chicago, Tellabs Inc. was all over “Echo Boomers” with a booth that tried to show how carriers need to reload on how they will cater to consumers who will access services and applications in completely different ways. According to Doug Akin, managing partner of Mr. Youth Inc., “Echo Boomers” spend about 15 hours a week online, they have large appetites for information such as e-mail, and have plenty of disposeable income. You can already see evidence of carriers trying to pursue this demographic with wireless phones that have large amounts of memory for downloading music, and built-in MP3 players. This is just the tip of the mobile iceberg as younger consumers look to use devices for communication, entertainment, information and shopping. The challenge, however, is that younger consumers tend to be fad-driven and less loyal than us older folks who get set in our ways pretty quickly. This likely means carriers will have to become more savvy and active marketers to continue to engage their customers. It may also mean the focus on long-term contracts may not work with this demographic so other tools to reduce churn will be required. Who knows, perhaps every carrier should look at how Virgin does business. The bottom line, however, is “Echo Boomers” represents a huge opportunity that can't be ignored. Much like China, doing business will be easier said than done.

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