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Are You Ready for the "Digital Natives"?

Ken Hughes Consumer & Shopper Behaviouralist, and CEO, Glacier Consulting, IRELAND

They make up more than 50% of the market in most countries, and they are forcing clubs to change the way the market, communicate with, and serve members and customers. “They” are the Digital Natives and were the subject of Ken Hughes’s opening keynote address, sponsored by Technogym®, at the annual IHRSA European Congress.

Born between 1980 and 1997, Digital Natives grew up with technology. The oldest of this cohort are raising families. The youngest was born the same year as Google – 1997 – and everything changed after that.

“For Digital Natives, their cell phones and ‘devices’ are like oxygen,” said Hughes. “They can’t function without them. 

Hughes offered the following advice:

Be reading for the “always on” consumer: Digital Natives are “on” 24 hours a day. This has implications for your business.

Learn the art of ‘conversation’. Don’t just try to tell them about your club. Engage them in a two-way dialogue. 

Create personal experiences. Digital Natives are used to everything being personalized. They know that their purchases are being tracked and they are fine with that. Use the data you gather about them to give them the personalization they want.

Deliver on instant gratification. Have personal trainers with their own dedicated You Tube channel where they regularly post new videos.

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