3 Steps to Market – Gen Y Style
Stressed out about marketing to Gen Y? It’s easy to be intimidated by a group that’s 80 million large, with the kind of spending power that can make – or break – your business. But the truth is, marketing to the younger set is a lot easier than it seems. In fact, just three basic steps can get you started.
If you aren’t already in the online space, stop reading now. You can’t even think about marketing to Gen Y if you’re not making use of the digital landscape that so many of them call home.
This is about more than just Twitter and Instagram (although those are great tools and you’d be crazy not to make use of them)… it’s also about making your web site tech-friendly, providing content that’s versatile and interactive, and just generally being a brand that’s easy to find and use. Accessibility isn’t something that Gen Y likes; it’s something that Gen Y expects. Consider this Rule #1.
When marketing to Gen Y, communication is all about conversation. Don’t just start a social media account – use it to build relationships with your customers. It’s not enough to tell them what to buy; you also have to tell them who you are, why you love your brand, and why they’ll love it, too.
Above all, give them a reason to celebrate! Gen Yers like enthusiasm, they like to shop and they LOVE a good party. They’re twice as likely to call themselves “Born to Shop” than any other generation… all they need is an excuse. So give it to them!
Just like any other consumer bracket, Gen Y wants to be heard. This means soliciting – and then responding to – their opinions. It means taking their feedback to heart, and letting them help shape what comes next.
Consider online retailer ModCloth. The company’s popular Be the Buyer program lets customers vote on their favorite styles to dictate future production, and contests are often centered around ideas, rather than just dumb luck. The approach is really a win-win: Customers become active participants in the brand, while the company itself gets great input and finds new ways to keep its line fresh and relevant.
At the end of the day, marketing to Gen Y isn’t really all that different from marketing to any other generation. You might have to embrace some new tech and learn a little slang here and there, but when it comes down to it, as consumers we all just want a little respect. And that’s an easy thing to offer – to customers of any age.
[post for an online marketing firm, specializing in brand promotion among younger adults; written and submitted November 2012]