Generation D: What You Forgot in Your Digital Transformation


Companies are trying hard to stay competitive by leveraging digital transformation to stay relevant to a generation referred to as Millennials. But companies always tried to transform their products and services to match with the buyers of their time. That’s not new but what is new is the risk to your brand that the Generation D introduces.

What Are Millennials?

Basically this term refers to the digital natives. People who grew up with the fully developed internet, with content on demand and the ability to communicate with each other whether they are in the same city or on the other side of the world. As I grew up before all these things were introduced I thought I wasn’t a millennial. However fellow TechAcutie Silvia Spiva told me that the general definition is based on the time of birth. Based on the Wikipedia article as well, a millennial is a millennial when born between 1980s and the 2000s. That also means, that you could say that a new undefined generation is already close to enter the stage.


What Is the Generation D?

In the book Build for Change: Revolutionizing Customer Engagement through Continuous Digital Innovation by Alan Trefler, he coins the term Generation D in his own definition. He splits the millennials into two groups. The older digital natives who are focused on good and relevant content are the Generation C. The younger people who are proficient in using tools such as social media to acquire information and to voice their opinion are called Generation D.

The Generation D is currently storming the markets and while they are major buyers, they also need to be satisfied a lot more thoroughly than previous generations of customers due to their naturel and abilities. The D in Generation D stands for destruction and that’s what makes them so different.

What’s the Risk?

A customer from Generation D has high expectations on services and products. If you don’t satisfy such a person by matching their expectations they won’t just give you the product back. They will make sure their opinion is heard in form of a negative review on a blog, a negative feedback on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon or they will use social networks.

So is that the worst possible outcome? No, they can take it further. If they maybe have an extraordinarily negative customer experience below a threshold they can tolerate, they are able to potentially cause a PR disaster and inflicting damage to your brand. They turn their experience into a comedic media object, such as a meme, a video or something else and it might go viral.


When you are dealing with Generation D you need to set up a customer experience that is so good, that you don’t risk such issues. Generation D won’t rant about your product or service at work on the water cooler where the potential image impact involves less than 10 people. This new type of customers can potentially cause a negative impact to your brand that can go viral and make it to major news platforms and reach millions. They know exactly what they are doing and they know how to cause you major damage.


Modern marketing preaches the requirement of social network presence. It is not optional in order to have a strong impact on digital citizen. But you need to manage expectations of your customers well and make sure they are all happy. Because Generation D will not just ignore your presence. They will not just buy the product of the competition. They will give you serious trouble if you upset them. Sounds like spoiled brats? Maybe they are spoiled and mean and unreasonable but it doesn’t make that less a risk to you. Possibly it won’t happen to you, but there is the potential for it and nobody can neither mitigate nor discard the risk just like that.

It might not be a bullet proof strategy for the future but try this:

Be innovative, be cool, be friendly, deliver your promise and add value for your customer’s day.

..And for your own sake – don’t bullshit anyone.

Photo credit: Tina Menomena / PD PicsDietmar Dorsch

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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