Marketing to Gen Y might sound scary, but understanding what kind of consumers they are and what motivates them will help you build a marketing plan that will have the younger generation pulling out their wallets to support your brand. You can do this.
Word of mouth still works on these tech savvy digital natives. They’ve worked in groups their whole lives, are comfortable with collaborating, and guess what, they do it when they shop too. Over 44% of decisions made by Gen Y result from word of mouth recommendations, that includes decisions about what to buy. If the Millennials like your brand, they’ll tell their friends and family about it.
Get the Millennials talking about your brand. To get to this very basic analog form of marketing, you should definitely use the latest technology.
Now is not the time to ignore your online marketing. Social media is a must. Millennials build relationships online, not just with their friends, but with brands as well. Interacting with them in a genuine and engaging way online will keep you at the top of their minds when it comes to spending money.
According to Digital Marketer, 84% of Millennials look at social media reviews of products and services before they buy. Fifty percent of them take advice from social media when it comes time to making purchases.
And do not forget about your website. Gen Y wants it now and they want it to be easy to interact with your site. Make getting information and buying products online a simple, enjoyable and fast experience. Navigation should be clear and information easy to find. Also, give them an easy way to communicate with you if they have questions about your products.
When we talk about online marketing, we also need to talk about mobile marketing, because Gen Y is mobile. Millennials are shopping on the go and you need to take that into consideration. Marketing plans need to be mobile.
Make your mobile marketing interactive, brand correct and be prepared to deliver on demand. That means your website is responsive so when Gen Y pulls it up on a smartphone they don’t have to squint to see the details. If you’re offering online coupons, they should be redeemable from a phone screen.
Gen Y’s approach to consumerism is completely different from the generations before them. Growing up with technology in an information age means they want it now and they want to interact. That’s not always easy, but companies must be utilizing the latest online tools to reach Millennials. The good news is, if you can provide them what they want when they want it, they’ll do your marketing for you by telling their friends and family about it.
Want to know more about who the Millennial consumers are and how to get them to buy from you? Check out our latest white paper “Getting Gen Y to Buy.” This paper takes you into the mind of the Gen Y consumer and gives you examples and tips for getting their attention and creating loyal customers.
In many ways, it’s symbolic that Generation Z is named after the last letter in the alphabet because their arrival marks the end of clearly defined roles, traditions, and experiences. After all, Gen Z is coming of age on the heels of what has been referred to as the most disruptive decade of the last century. America has become an increasingly changing and complex place.
Members of this generation have undoubtedly been shaped by crisis and disruption. This generation will largely be responsible for confronting the aftermath of the Great Recession, high youth unemployment, the effects of climate change, terrorism, energy sustainability, and more. These dark events have undoubtedly made this generation more cautious and pragmatic, but they have also provided this generation with the inspiration to change the world – and their grit will likely allow them to do it.
Coming of age during disruption means that most Zs will be comfortable being the disruptors. While Millennials tend to be collaborative and innovative, this generation tends to be sincere, reflective, thick-skinned, and self-directed, and will likely approach work in much the same way.
In the era following World War II, Boomers (1946-1964) were born and eventually became the wealthiest, most prosperous generation in history. Raised to aspire for the American Dream, this very large generation moved into positions of power and influence, and served as the workforce majority for 34 years.
With the American Dream alive and well, Boomers had no reason to teach their children, mostly Millennials, about competition. Instead, they taught them to focus on academic achievement and to be team players because if everyone works hard, everyone can win.
Enter Generation X (1965-1981). In contrast Boomers, Xers came of age during a time when change and economic and political uncertainty began to take root. They have lived through four recessions, struggled with debt and economic decline most of their lives, and watched the best educated and accomplished generation of all time (Millennials) graduate during the Great Recession and become the most debt-ridden generation in history.
Gen Xers can be defined by their independence and anti-status quo approach to life, and they have taught their Gen Z children to be competitive, believing only the best can win. They have encouraged their children to be realists, finding something they are good at and aggressively pursuing it.
Xers have raised their Zs with an intense focus on competitiveness -- in academics, sports, and other activities. This approach to parenting has many implications, but one stands out in terms of business: Gen Z is likely to lead.
Millennials in the workplace created and aggressively advocated for collaborative work environments. In fact, their aversion to leadership has been so strong, some Millennials sought out companies that boasted boss-free or team-managed workplaces.
In contrast, Zs have been raised with an individualistic, realistic, and competitive nature. They have been taught the skills to successfully defy the norm. This means we’re going to see the pendulum shift away from collaborative workplaces towards a widespread demand for, and pursuit of, leadership development.
While Millennials have been criticized for their “delayed adulthood”, Gen Z is showing signs of “early adulthood”. Educators and parents often describe this generation as being more serious and contemplative about the world. Zs are thinking about their career paths and exposing themselves to career training at an earlier age than Millennials. It’s probable that some of this early onset of adulthood is caused by parents, who are pressuring their children to be competitive and successful and to avoid the debt that plagued both the Gen Xers and Millennials.
The numbers from our global research found 46% of Gen Z said they know what career to pursue and 51% have taken a class at school focused on their career interests. Forty percent joined an extracurricular program (team, club) based on their career interests.
Zs have been shaped by the aftermath of the Great Recession. They watched Millennials become debt-ridden and are concerned about falling into the same trap. XYZ University’s survey results show 66% of Zs said financial stability is more important than doing work they enjoy, which is the exact opposite of Millennial survey results. Also, 71% of survey-takers have a paying job.
When presented a list of leadership traits, Zs ranked positive and trustworthy the highest. While Millennials and Gen Zs both value trust in a leader, Millennials usually cite collaboration and vision as most important. In other words, Millennials focus on the outcomes leaders inspire, whereas Zs are more likely to consider leaders’ attitudes and personalities. To Z, what leaders encourage others to do isn’t as valuable as how they make them feel.
Both Millennials and Gen Zs place a very high value on feeling challenged and appreciated in the workplace. However, according to our survey results Millennials rank appreciation slightly higher than challenge, whereas Zs rank feeling challenged slightly higher than appreciation.
Time will tell how Zs go down in history, but we know this generation’s influence on history will be unlike any other.
Does your organization have what it takes to engage the next generation? Take this quiz to find out.
Sarah Sladek is CEO of XYZ University. Our generational intelligence can assist you with engaging and retaining young talent and members.
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