Mark Kooyman
4 min readSep 5, 2022

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Prelude to 2023… The Workforce Is Driving the Marketplace

Today is Labor Day here in the U.S. and in a short bit, I will use it as the catalyst for this blog post.

I have also worked hard this year and plan to enjoy part of this Holiday so this blog is shorter than most.

It’s nearly a year ago that I put together the 2022 forecasted trends.

In the blog post next month, I will provide an update of the status of those trend forecasts. At this point, it looks like at least 7 of the trends forecasted are actually emerging and driving the marketplace just as forecasted.

There is a market force that is emerging that few media and resource groups have yet to acknowledge.

The media and marketing mavens are still hanging onto the mobile, Digital market that they preach is driving the American marketplace.

A culture that clings to their smartphones and lives off an IV of texting, social media, digital videos and online retail. One that shifts from their MacBooks to their iPads to their iPhones in a constant stream of conversational posting.

My residing in a University town only magnifies the bias even in some of my market perceptions.

But not only have the high techs suffered loss on Wall Street, but that past stardom is fading on Main Street too!

Despite what the U.S. Census declares are blue-collar and trade jobs, more than half — just over 54% — of Americans work conventional labor jobs. This is up from 37% posting back five years ago.

In terms of specific jobs and the percentage of the American workfoce working those jobs…

* 3.8% work in conventional janitorial and ground maintenance jobs

* 5.1% work in construction jobs

* 5.7% work as cooks and waiter/waitress jobs

* 6.1% work healthcare support jobs — not the docs nor the nurses

* 11.4% work administrative support jobs

* 5.7% work production and manufacturing line jobs

* 6.2% work retail sales jobs

* 2.8% work personal care jobs … many assisting seniors live out their last few years

* 7.6% work transportation and trucking jobs

The past blog highlighted the gap shortage in the American workforce.

It further showcased dynamics of the issue that the Mainstream Media, MBA-degreed management and Washington refuse to acknowledge.

But the purpose of this Blog post is not here to make political commentary.

Instead, this Blog post highlights a trend that is about to reshape the marketplace … a 2023 Trendcast … that few marketers even understand is taking place.

One of the brands whose television commercials I highlight and applaud ran a commercial over the weekend in some of the top prime time college football seasonal kick-off games.

The first time I saw the ad — a 60 second one — I did not know initially who it was advertising. But what jumped off the screen was the way the ad highlighted the American workforce.

The ad did not showcase fancy cars, trendy dressed professionals nor individuals checking their social media posts on their iPhones.

The setting wasn’t in any HGTV trendy houses, high-tech home offices nor professionally landscaped backyard pools.

Instead the ad showcases families around a kitchen table and parents coming home from work literally taking off their work boots. Friends interacting with one another across a conventional family room. Moms showcased making homemade ice cream sundaes and empty nesters actually reading cookbooks.

Folks in ad taste new concoctions they made from old family recipes and foods that celebrate their roots. It’s an ad centered around common people doing common, every day things.

And in the end of the ad a brand appears.

Publix.

There is no voice over but common people saying common things using common words.

The working class common man — and woman too — have returned.

When I gathered with friends this morning over coffee we talked about the ad and we also talked about both the marketplace and politics.

All but one of my friends gathered sport Ph.D.s or M.D.s. One of my friends actually has one of each.

In the dialogue we cited how manufacturing is coming back to the U.S. and how the dot.coms collapsed on Wall Street.

We all agreed that Biden made a miscalculated decision on forgiving past student college debt and not reinforce trade school degrees and workforce training programs.

We noted how people are back to cooking at home vs. dining out and when they do dine out, they are not going to the high-brow nor chain restaurants, but instead to local restaurants where they are welcomed back and everyone at the restaurant knows their names.

At least half of us sharing coffee reached out and thanked the cashier and stocking crew at the grocery stores in the past week.

By the way, we were gathered at an Indy coffee house and not Starbucks.

As many know, I am a first full generation American. I can remember back when I was a kid how much my parents showcased those who worked the 9-to-5 jobs.

Today, our workforce is diverse…. And not just in terms of their ethnic or cultural roots. It’s diverse in terms of age, gender, urban vs. rural and whether just-entry or just-gained citizenship.

Moving future-forward, Mainstream, working class America will drive as much market change as the Millennial family unit. Perhaps even more so.

Brand teams that misperceive the trends as pro-American or a trend being driven by inflation and economics will fail to reap much reward.

Leadership that believe mass market brands like Walmart and McDonald’s and Budweiser will reap the rewards also fail to understand what drives the emerging groups.

What I can say with a degree of certainty on this Labor Day 2022 is that we are in for some surprises as brands like Publix get it and many other brands not only don’t get it but fade into history.

If you want to embrace this trend and join me on the journey to understand it more, call me at 404.245.9378 … or Email me at mkooyman@experiencediscovery.com and let’s take the journey together.

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Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.