Y U Should Care About Gen Y as an Emarketer

Gen Y is changing the workplace – resetting expectations for what’s most important for job offer packages, redefining the work day with their incessant need for work-life balance, and are quickly integrating new communications technologies into the way they go about their daily business. Given all that, it’s worth it to have a chat about how Gen Y is directly impacting the way we do business in B2B and B2C marketing . Direct Marketing with the wrong messages can be very damaging – but when correctly targeted and executed, exponentially more impactful. Now hitting the workforce with a vengeance, you need to care about this group of people for three very good reasons:

1) They are consumers, reinventing what it means to be middle class, and they are spending money. According to the Harris Interactive 2003 Youth Pulse (SM) Survey, Gen Y represents more than 75 million consumers in the US. They earn a total annual income of about $211 billion, spend approximately $172 billion per year and strongly influence many adult consumer buying choices. This is by no means a measly chunk of change and it is to your advantage to understand what is most important to this customer-base before you start marketing to them. Are you marketing to them? If you don’t know, you should find out.

2) They are super loyal and will be your best guerrilla marketer. There is an ongoing dialogue around Gen Y and their lack of loyalty. True, there is less loyalty with Gen Y, whether it be where they work or the products they use, unless however you’ve created an experience worth coming back to. Loyalty is created when a Gen Yer’s experience is elevated beyond “getting the job done”. It is here where they arguably become the most loyal consumer market out there if you can successfully position your product, service, and brand as being able to provide a mutually beneficial “relationship” that they can count on time and time again. The best part about it? You won’t have to become the super New Media techno-guru – rely on your tech-savvy Gen Y following to do it all for you. Case in point, Macy’s posts their Friends and Family link on Facebook. This post was written at 10:24 pm PT. First post to this event’s Wall was 12:01 am PT Sunday night. At 10:24 pm PT last night, 21,529 people were invited and almost 6,000 people had confirmed attendance in just 22.5 hours.

Friends & Family

3) They are the next Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. In 2007, American Express published a survey on Small Businesses and concluded that:

“In the area of risk, nearly three quarters of Generation Y entrepreneurs (72%) say they like to take risks compared to just over half of Baby Boomers (53%). Fifty-nine percent of Generation Y believes they take more risks than the average person compared to 50% of Baby Boomers. Generation Y is almost twice as likely as Baby Boomer small business owners (59% vs. 33%) to be or plan to be ‘serial’ entrepreneurs, owning or planning to own more than one business.”

For the marketer, all of this means you need to update your toolbox to make sure you are talking to Gen Y in a way that says you ‘get’ them. You need to prove that you are a company who they want to do business with. What do they want? Transparency, responsiveness, and appreciation. It’s harder than it sounds – or is it?

*This post was originally published on the PGiBlog.

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