I began my discussion of generational marketing with Talking ’bout My Generation:

In short, generational marketing recognizes that the different generations make purchasing decisions in different ways from one another.

The different life phases we are in presently, coupled with our upbringing and societal norms, provide us with different perspective than those we follow, or those who follow us.

I immediately got an email from my friend and legal marketing peer, David Bruns. He recommended I download and read “I Would Die 4 U:  Why Prince Became an Icon,” by Touré.

In short, the book discusses how Prince, a Baby Boomer, became such a huge icon for Generation X.

No icon is so talented that they don’t need the right generation to receive their message. Of course, some icons transcend their time, but that’s nearly impossible without first connecting deeply with the generation that’s consuming culture when you’re at your peak. The difference between being famous and becoming an icon is, in part, having the good fortune to have a generation that’s interested in your message. Pg. 17

It’s the Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, theory of 10,000 hours of experience to achieve mastery, plus the luck of timing when that knowledge/skill is needed, the audience is ready, as in the case of Prince.

The author goes on to discuss Prince’s less than welcoming response when he opened for the Rolling Stones on October 9 & 11, 1981, here in Los Angeles. He was pelted with garbage and drinks, and literally booed off the stage. Twice. (FYI. The Sports Dude and I were at that concert. He even saved the ticket stubs).

Controversy was just too controversial for the crowd of hippies and boomers. We up and coming Gen Xers got it, though … we were waiting and ready for the Purple Revolution that was about to come out with “1999.” And we were really confused why the adults in the crowd didn’t get it.

So what does Prince have to do with legal marketing and generational marketing? It’s all in how we interpret his experience to our industry.
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Prince – The man, the music. What you want to enjoy

What does Prince have to do with legal marketing? Keep reading, I promise to tie it all together … If you haven’t heard, Prince (the purple one himself) is hosting a 21-night stand of shows in Los Angeles. Ticket prices begin at $25 (with no fees). Each show has been unique, including special guests (Sheila E, Chaka Kahn and Stevie Wonder) and celebrities to wow the crowd (Halle Berry, Whitney Houston … before getting shipped off to rehab for erratic behaviors at Prince concerts last week). If you’re not in L.A., or don’t have friends in L.A. who are over 40, you probably haven’t heard much about it. Why?? Because Prince won’t go social. Prince has declared war on the Internet and taken down his website, and he’s hired a Web Sheriff to come after those daring to share the purple love. He goes after anyone and everyone who posts a video to YouTube. There is only a limited selection of his music on iTunes. And I am not even going to comment on choosing a location with the crappiest 3G access EVER. We had friends all over the arena and we couldn’t connect because we couldn’t get on Facebook.

Security going after the crowd – Not so enjoyable

To throw some salt on my wounds, at last night’s concert (my third attendance :)), security was all over the audience, forcing people to put away their iPhones and Blackberries, making people delete pictures and <<gasp>> videos. In this new social world, sharing our experience ENHANCES our experience. It’s also FREE marketing and advertising. I promise, if Prince had a Facebook page, he’d sell out each show. People would fly in from around the country to see him perform. But the tickets quietly go on sale, and through word of mouth, we local fans are spreading the word amongst ourselves. I can’t help but compare my experience seeing Prince with my favorite band, The Airborne Toxic Event, which actively uses social media to build and engage their fan base.
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