Every marketer is looking for the “sweet spots” of marketing, and Generation Y would appear to be one of the sweetest. Yet trends come and go in marketing, and it’s not always easy to connect with your target audience unless you really understand what motivates them.
Who Are Generation Y?
Generation Y, also commonly referred to as Millennials, are people born roughly between 1982 and the mid-1990s, reaching the age of 18 between 2000 and 2008. There are about 75 million of them, equal or slightly higher than the number of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).
Gen Y and Technology
Gen Y is typically tech-savvier than previous generations, though not as adept as Gen Z, their younger counterparts. Gen Y is the last generation to grow up as non-natives to technology such as the internet and smartphones – as compared with Gen Z, who can’t imagine a world without them.
Gen Y and Marketing
Gen Y has been raised with TV and internet marketing, so they are going to be more skeptical of what they see and will not usually respond to many of the traditional marketing and sales pitches. However, it will be an even tougher sell to tap into Gen Z, as they have pretty much seen it all and are rarely impressed by it.
Gen Y and Lifestyle
Gen Y members are much more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations, though that can lead to some opinionated pushback and bias compared with Gen Z, who are generally not as prejudiced and want everyone to get along.
Gen Y enjoys TV, including cable, satellite radio, the internet, e-zines, and some social media, usually Facebook and Twitter. Gen Z rarely watches TV, preferring to watch YouTube for two to four hours per day on their smartphones. Their social networks of choice are Snapchat and Instagram.
Gen Y has a great deal less material possessions accumulated and many are not married and have no children. This trend is most likely because of going to college and then having the burden of paying back a large amount of student loans. It has been tough economically for Gen Ys who came of age in the middle of the huge recession of 2008. This made them cautious about getting into debt. If they do want to buy something, they will comparison shop and demand good value.
Gen Y, Employment, and Accumulated Wealth
As a result of the economic downturn just at the point where they were coming of age or graduating from college, Gen Y has found it hard to enter the workplace. Baby boomers who might have thought about retiring saw their 401ks take a nosedive, and the age of retirement increase.
With people living longer than ever before in the US, a lot of boomers don’t want to be “put out to pasture” and want to and/or need to keep on working. Some Millennials still live with their parents out of economic necessity or just plain comfort. They don’t have nearly the amount of spending power that boomers do.
As a result of not being married and often living in a shared household, Millennials are often interested in travel and experiences like going to spas. They do want a house, car and family one day, but not until they can afford it.
Gen Y and Brand Loyalty
Millennials are not brand loyal in many cases. They will change depending on price, style and trends if the marketing messages they see resonate with them.
It’s not as easy to market to Gen Y as it is to boomers, but with the numbers about equal, it is certainly worth it to try.