It seems almost everyone wants to take a shot at Generation Y, whether it’s criticising their elevated expectations, demanding nature or their so-called preference for $22 smashed avocado on toast over saving for a home loan deposit. Yet few can deny that this much-maligned segment of the population— born in the 1980s and '90s – is all grown up, with real disposable income to spend.
It's this aspect that makes Gen Ys or Millennials extremely attractive to marketers. According to U.S. Census Bureau’s International Database this often-misunderstood group has both the population and the spending power to be one of the most powerful and influential generations.
Gen Y outnumber and outspend other generations
As an example, they already outnumber Baby Boomers and make up almost a quarter of the world’s population, while accounting for over 20% of total consumer spending. This power will only rise as their careers progress into more senior, highly paid roles
High social media use among Gen Ys makes them even more influential. This influence is transforming the consumer, marketing and media landscapes. For the first time, consumers are now seen as the primary source of information on products and services, as opposed to traditional media channels. Citizen influencers on social media are perceived as more genuine and trusted than advertising messages.
Expecting all things on demand
Most importantly, this is a generation that’s grown up interacting with rapidly evolving technologies – they’re also the first to grow up online. As a result, they hold an expectation that all types of information should be available quickly and conveniently.
Today, a constant flow of unfiltered news feeds is generated by everyday consumers. Their opinions and product experiences are documented and shared freely via their smartphones. Add in the fact that Gen Ys are very brand conscious and there are many challenges that businesses need to understand fully if they are to successfully target Gen Ys.
Here are our three tips to tap into the Gen Y mindset and market to them successfully.
Be subtle and be real
As we mentioned, social media is the channel of choice for Gen Ys to learn about products. In fact, they’re more likely to buy from a brand that’s been endorsed by a friend or acquaintance, rather than one seen through advertising. Trust is the issue here for marketers.
Gen Ys have rebelled against the establishment and the status quo. It’s probably the reason services like Uber, Airbnb and user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor are so popular with them. For marketers, it’s all about building genuine relationships and delivering authentic experiences. Overtly selling to them is definitely out.
Timing is everything
Providing timely, relevant information to Gen Ys about your products and services can be one of the most important things. Gen Ys expect connectivity and instant gratification in every aspect of their lives, so it’s important to be conscious of what's going on, especially on social media. Brands need to be ready to act as and when something is happening.
Agility and fast response are key here, which can often give smaller businesses a huge advantage over the bigger players. This also plays into the mindset of Gen Ys demanding greater convenience. So keep you messages timely, consistent and delivered creatively through different social channels.
As one of the more tech-savvy generations, Gen Y are overwhelmed with ads everywhere they look. With so many advertising messages seen each day, there is a huge need to stand out from the crowd through creativity. It’s important to communicate any innovative product attributes or social causes your brand may support, as this greatly assists with personal validation.
The potential rewards of successfully targeting Gen Ys can be huge. It just requires marketers and businesses to take them seriously and to get to know the real Generation Y, rather than the stereotypes portrayed in the media.
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