article writing · blog writing · marketing copy · writing

3 Steps to Market – Gen Y Style

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.

1.     Connect

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.

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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.

2.     Engage

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.

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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!

3.     Listen

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.

GenYimage3Consider 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]

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article writing

Austin.com

I wrote several pieces for the re-vamped Austin.com web site this year, and more might be coming! Check out my inaugural post about the Zilker Park KiteFest…. other pieces cover outings to InnerSpace Cavern, Central Market’s North Lamar Location, Kiddie Acres and the Old Gruene Market Days. Stay tuned…

kites

article writing

CultureMap: Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo

Today you can check out my latest piece for CultureMap, about a roadside attraction called Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo. There were a few edits to my original text, but overall I’m happy with the piece and still super glad to be doing work with CultureMap. It was also featured as the Editor’s Pick!

They used stock photos for the article, but here are a few  took on the trip, too. Enjoy!

Me and Sam, at the entrance
Sam and Sophia with a zebra
Making friends with piglets

article writing · reviews

Concert Review: Howard Jones ACL

Written June 28, 2012

Howard Jones: A Little Too Moody at the Moody

I’ve always liked Howard Jones. He’s not the love of my life or anything (Simon le Bon’s the lucky recipient of that honor), but songs like “What is Love” and “No One is to Blame” helped provide a lovely backdrop to my 80s-era childhood, and I’ve always thought Jones’ insightful lyrics and catchy synthpop melodies were some of the best to come out of that time. Besides, his youthful look and signature spiky blonde hair made him adorable, and for a starry-eyed tween in the 80s, adorable went a long way.

So when the chance came around to see him live at the Moody Theater for Austin City Limits Live, I jumped at it. Ticket prices were reasonable and the venue’s a perfectly intimate setting, so it seemed like a no-brainer. With a couple of girlfriends in tow I arrived last night, ready to rock.

Well, okay, not so much rock as sway. It IS Howard Jones, after all.

The usual sense of anticipation set over me as the Welsh singer entered accompanied by only two band members – one taking his seat behind an electronic drum set, the other manning a musical control panel. As Jones and his signature hair (now gray but still spiky) took their place behind the center stage synthesizers, I felt a few goosebumps and leaned in a bit.

But, here’s the thing. This wasn’t your typical 80s retro show, where the headliner covers all the major hits with a few duds and (and maybe some covers) sprinkled in, then exits stage. Instead, Jones performed every song – every song – from the two albums that made him a star in the 80s and as it turns out, a large percentage of the audience (myself included) had no memory of most of them. Add to this the fact that both albums (1984’s Human’s Lib and the 1985 follow-up Dream Into Action) were decidedly moody and introspective to begin with, and you’ve got yourself a pretty low energy show overall. There were a few exclamation points when the trio rolled around to crowd-pleasers like “Things Can Only Get Better” and “Like to Get to Know You Well,” but for the most part this was a show of commas and semicolons. Not a lot of oomph.

To be fair, I don’t think the show was really designed for oomph. With minimal equipment on stage, static players and a backdrop display of streaming graphics that I swear were stolen from my 1996 Windows screen saver, this show was never meant to keep people on their feet. Jones’ running commentary between songs was often reflective and sweet, and after a fairly long break between sets, the second half’s more upbeat songs of Human’s Lib did offer a badly needed boost in energy. And with the encore performance of the super catchy “New Song,” it all ended on a definite high note.

Still, I felt a small tinge of sadness as my girlfriends and I left the theater. Jones still sounds just as good as he ever did, and if you listen to his critically acclaimed 2009 album Ordinary Heroes you’ll find that his songwriting skills haven’t suffered over time, either. The decision to play two older albums in entirety, excluding his newer material completely, left me feeling a little lackluster about the experience. It felt a little like a missed opportunity.

But, hey. Last night was a chance to see an 80s icon perform some of his biggest hits, and I’m still super glad I went. I remain a proud Howard Jones fan, and if he comes to town again I’ll gladly give it another go. Besides, as Jones himself would tell you – from here, things can only get better.

article writing

CultureMap Austin

I’ve recently joined the ranks of contributors at CultureMap Austin, a daily digital magazine that publishes news, reviews and other content that’s centered around Austin and its surrounding areas.

My first piece was published a few weeks ago… a quick list of old school, kid-friendly Austin fun spots the whole family can enjoy.

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Another piece about New Braunfels “staycations” will be published later this week, and several more are on the front burner. So stay tuned!