The Mindset List for the incoming college class of 2024 provides some valuable social, economic, and cultural markers for this group of individuals born for the most part in 2002. Let’s take a look at the world through their eyes:

  • Like Pearl Harbor for their grandparents, and the Kennedy assassination for their parents, 9/11 is an historical event.
  • Thumb, jump, and USB flash drives have always pushed floppy disks further into history.
  • The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures.
  • Oklahoma City has always had a national memorial at its center.
  • Because of Richard Reid’s explosive footwear at 30,000 feet, passengers have always had to take off their shoes to slide through security on the ground.
  • PayPal has always been an online option for purchasers.
  • They have witnessed two African-American Secretaries of State, the election of a black President, Disney’s first black Princess, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • As they crawled on the floor, TV headlines began crawling at the bottom of the TV screen.
  • “Pink slime” has always been a food additive.
  • YouTube has become the video version of Wikipedia.
  • Apple iPods have always been nostalgic.
  • They have always been able to fly Jet Blue, but never Ted and Song.
  • Quarterback Troy Aikman has always called the plays live from the press booth.

In general, the Mindset List is a statement of experiences and events that shape the views of this year’s freshmen. It’s how they see and understand what occurs around them. And since most people believe their views are accurate it must also represent their understanding of the truth. Their perception is their reality.

Marketing is involved in the process of dealing with perceptions. What makes the process even more challenging is that consumers make purchasing decisions based on how light mingles with form. Light transforms our perception of the colors around us. For example, natural light, influenced by the weather, season and position of the sun (and moon), affect the intensity and hues of an object. Artificial light also alters how we discern color. For instance, a standard incandescent bulb will make everything in its vicinity look “warm,” similar to a sunrise or sunset, while modern LED bulbs can emit a much cooler light, close to that of an afternoon outdoors. These differences can help tell a story and even manipulate the emotions that influence a purchase. The positioning and intensity of light are also influencing factors.

In short, we make purchasing decisions based on our perception of reality. If your organization views the world through a product-centric position you may be inclined to dismiss the light perception challenge. Market research facts and figures convince you that the real truth is on your side and that the best product, your product, will win. Do you believe that all you need is to have the truth on your side?

Most of us struggle to get past our perceptions, that’s why marketer’s need to embrace the phrase “through the eyes of the customer.” Let the engineers at Eco Engineering help you position your merchandise in the best possible light.


Alan See, Marketing at Eco Engineering