Generation Y

As one of the youngest members of The Brandon Agency, I feel it is my duty to touch on the subject of my age group, Generation Y. There is some speculation as to where this age group starts, but for simplicity’s sake let’s just say it is people born between 1980 and into the 1990s. Most of the Gen Y’s are currently in their 20s and are children of the baby boomers – hence the other name for our generation, the Echo Boomers.

Generation Y is a group of people who grew up with the Internet. Technology is something this generation has been constantly “plugged in” to. There is a want, A NEED, for constant connection with others. This need for connection is only enhanced by the capabilities of technology. For instance, I can be using 3 or 4 different types of technology at any given time. Here’s a scenario:

I’m sitting in the living room watching TV, and doing some work on my laptop at the same time. My phone buzzes to let me know I’ve got a new text message so I read that, but hold on just a sec cause I have GOT to change this song on my iPod first. Then I see I have a new comment on my facebook page….yeah yeah you get the idea.

So, as a marketer, how do you break through all the distraction and get a message across to this generation? You may as well go ahead and forget about newspaper ads. With the news readily available online and with up to the minute news stories, Gen-Ys don’t have time to sit down every morning and read a newspaper cover to cover.

Television is not as powerful with this generation as you may think. One hundred percent attention is not given to watching TV. Commercials are either muted or missed altogether due to flipping channels, walking away, you name it! Not only this, but even when the actual show is on, TV has become more of just a background noise. Many other types of media are causing distractions – see scenario above.

Social Media – this is where Generation Y’s attention is focused. The main reason is because they care what their friends think. Social media is the perfect avenue to find out exactly what your friends think about just about anything. Do they like your new haircut, as shown in your profile pic? Would they go see that movie that just came out in theaters, or would they tell me not to waste my time? How about that new product, I heard they had a really cool facebook page? With the capabilities of social media and the Internet, my friends can heavily influence my opinions and purchasing behavior.

Generation Y doesn’t want to be sold a product. Let me explain. They don’t want to see an ad in the media saying, “Here’s my product, here’s the price, and you should buy it!” They want to do their own research on the product or service, and then they want their friends to give them their own personal reviews. If I’ve done my research and I am considering Product A or Product B, if my friend likes Product B better, that’s the one I’m getting. Bottom line, have a good website and get their friends to like you. Don’t make it hard for them to find out information about your product or service. Generation Y is used to having information available at their fingertips. As for getting their friends to like you, well… (flashback to high school anyone??)