Generation Y: A Giant Market You Must Understand
Let’s start with a few quick facts about Generation Y or a group also known as “The Millennials.”
- They outnumber the Baby Boomers and are 80 million strong.
- They were born between 1981 and 2000 and range in age between 12 and 30.
- They spend over $200 billion annually.
- They are the most technologically advanced population group ever.
- And they are the fastest growing segment of the workforce.
One last quick fact…they aren’t the same as other generations before them. Here are some of the key characteristics that you should consider when you market to this important group.
Technology Integration: It is a transparent part of their lives. Gen Y thinks of technology as an extension of themselves. It is a shopping device, a friend finder, a communicator, a job helper, a safety guard, a memory playback, a GPS, a music machine, and a portrait of their personality. Research has shown that print, radio and TV ads initiate Gen Y product search behaviors which are then followed by online search patterns. Make certain you are seen or heard first, and then have an online strategy in place for the close.
Young Social Networking Achievers: They are looking for products and services that can make them better. They are confident, ambitious, and seek out the real value in something. If something works…they tell their friends about it on Facebook. If the service is exceptional or if the service is terrible, they tell their friends about it. They text, they Tweet, they IM, they YouTube and sometimes they do all four things at the same time. Find out if your product is talked about positively or not. If it isn’t…then you better find out why.
Quality, Style and Cheap: Seems like a contridiction in terms. But here’s an example. When Apple created the 99 cent download, they hit the Gen Y hot button. It is slick, cheap, stylish, high quality and the transaction takes place instantly. Cheap isn’t everything for Gen Y. They want value, performance, and instant gratification. Do you fit into these categories?
Family Oriented: Gen Y is willing to take less pay for more personal time with their family. They are looking for a life/work balance. They have different expectations from a workplace that recognizes human values and loyalty. They are looking for environments that foster team spirit and affirmation from others. Positive feedback is critical to their generation. Those companies that recognize these differences will prosper and grow as the Gen Y’s begin to dominate the workforce.
Listen for the Answers: It is true that you either have to get accustomed to change or learn how to accept irrelevancy. If you stay connected to this giant population boom called Gen Y, then they will tell you how to drive your brand. Talk to them. Listen to them. Research their thoughts and attitudes, and find out the real value for your product. Remember…it’s right there in front of you if you take the time to listen.