NAMIC Conference: Futurist Has Tips For Reaching Young Consumers

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New York --The communications industry has to be prepared to serve a very diverse group of young, emerging consumers looking to communicate globally on their own terms, according to Parag Khanna, geo-strategist and futurist.

Speaking during the NAMIC Conference's opening panel here Tuesday, Khanna said the industry needs to be ready to reach a diverse audience of "stakeholders" -- people who have a vested interest in a society whether they are legal or illegal citizens -- that are representative of various ethnic groups.

He said these stakeholders are getting global information from new technologies such as the web and mobile smartphones, which Khanna said over the next decade will emerge as the dominant device to receive and send content globally.

"The industry will face a hardware competition and a software competition in the mobile domain," he said.

Also, as a more youthful demographic emerges globally and in the U.S., telecommunications companies will have to learn how to capture their attention, particularly in the social media space.

"If you think of yourself as just providing American content for them, you might be falling short of what young people think and consume," he said. "Also [among younger viewers] there's a growing awareness of the issues of globalization and global culture. If you can become mediators of the [social media] conversations, you will be very relevant to the young technologically connected and politically motivated audiences."

With more people migrating to and living in cities, Khanna said companies also have to be able to capture the dynamics and diversity of urban life to better serve that audience.

Marketing needs to be completely multicultural and not focused on one particular group or ethnicity. "It has to be inherently multicultural - you don't just cover one community at one time," he said.

Also, management has to be on board with diversity and be flexible to adjust to the changing global marketplace, according to Khanna.

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