Demographic trends point to the importance of personal connection
In my reading and research this past month, I have come across several interesting discussions and articles about a topic that I have been thinking alot about lately—as it applies to direct selling as well as to all of the interactions that we have in our day-to-day lives.
That topic is authenticity.
Having spent a large part of my career in sales, I learned first-hand how important authenticity is to establishing lasting relationships, not only with customers, but with colleagues and superiors. I was very intrigued to see several stories that recently discussed the finding that authenticity appears to be particularly important to Gen Z consumers as they interact with the companies, brands, influencers and creators of today’s marketplace and social commerce platforms.
Furthermore, it seems that this younger demographic often defines authenticity in a more expansive way than the standard meaning of honesty, forthrightness and sincerity; Gen Z is also looking for things like sustainability, company values and transparency when making their purchasing decisions.
One of the new, and harsh, realities of our increasingly online and digitized existence is the monetization of virtually every aspect of our lives. From the moment we wake up in the morning until we end our day, the data from our movements, our clicks and our conversations is being harvested to more efficiently market to us. This, to me at least, feels like the opposite of authenticity.
I believe that the younger demographics are more sensitive to the impersonal nature of these these algorithm-driven sales pitches than other consumer segments, and they are acting on their frustrations by seeking out companies and representatives that truly care about improving their lives—what an opportunity this is for direct sellers!
Whether is it a major corporation that says it wants to make the world a better place while at the same time prioritizing profits over safety or environmental stewardship, or a brand representative reaching out to an old friend with no sincere interest in that person other than adding to their downline, the lack of genuineness is becoming more and more apparent to the most important consumer demographics.
I am optimistic that the purchasing habits of these authenticity-seeking consumers over the next decade will be a very positive force for the world, and I believe that direct selling companies and their distributors, in particular, are uniquely positioned to benefit from this trend if they are willing to embrace and embody true authenticity when interacting with each other and their customers.
Authentically yours, David Bland!