Marketing to Generation Y

By: Shawneese Drake, Lana Maric and Dan James
Boomer Babies, Generation Why, Millennials, Net Generation
 No precise dates when Gen Y starts and ends
 1980-1995 (ages 14-29)
 Composed of 76 million members
 Mostly offspring of Baby Boomers heavily engrossed in the digital
 First generation to grow up with the Internet: music downloading,
chatting, blogging, shopping, etc.
 Younger generation is in high school/college, while older generation is
entering workforce.
 More financially educated than other generations. According to the
Diversified Investment Advisors of Purchase, 37 percent will begin
their retirement savings before the age of 25; 49% confirmed that
retirement benefits are very significant when starting a new job.
 Never lived through a prolong period of financial stability; they
don’t really understand job security or believe in social security
as a means in the future.
 Regina Manone offers an explanation in PhilanTopic stating
that Gen Y-ers “were toddlers during the great downsizing wave
of the early 1980s, were in elementary and middle school during
the recession of 1991, and graduated from college just in time
for the dot-com bust, the Enron fiasco, and the recession that
followed the terrorist attacks of September 11.
 Because Gen Y is the biggest generation since the Baby
Boomers, it is essential that marketers excel in targeting these
Internet is their communication medium of
choice; more than 3 hours a day are spent
on the Internet.
Very optimistic—anything is possible; high
self worth, value individuality.
Look for “experience” while shopping.
Defer commitment and family longer
compare to other generations
Very selective due to so many choices—
through Internet anyone can reach them, so
they carefully select their top choices.
Extremely educated about their choices.
Gen Y-ers learn about products and services
from each other the way other generations
learned about products and services directly
from the media.
“Eighty-two percent of Gen-Y employees
agree that ‘a mother who works outside the
home can have just as good a relationship
with her children as a mother who is not
employed’ versus 60 percent of Matures”
(Families and Work Institute, 2004, p. 5).
Opportunity driven; crave customization.
Echo friendly; care about their community
and good causes.
1 in 3 is not Caucasian: more racially and
ethnically diverse than other generations.
More tolerant.
3 in 4 have working mothers; 1 in 4 grew up
in a single family home.
Respond to ads in non-traditional places, for
example at a snowboarding tournament
versus TV.
They don’t watch much TV
Respond well to humor, irony and plain
truth in advertising: authenticity drives them!
They look for trust.
Gen Y-ers text. They instant message. They
chat on Facebook and follow each other on
Twitter. They watch each other on You
Tube. Even email is becoming obsolete.
Gen Y thrives on change.
Face to Face
Phone Call
Forum Post
FB and
They spend 200 billion annually!
 Gen Y likes comfortable, interesting and engaging: they want to
be understood, included, respected and accepted; shopping,
technology, and community are integrated into one experience.
Brand awareness > brand loyalty
 They regularly compare and contrast purchases online, check
for deals, read the latest reviews, blog about their purchases, and
utilize online coupon codes. User generated content is the key!
 Gen Y adults welcome healthy, well-balanced meals, recyclable
containers, and organic foods.
 According to Wayne Best, Visa’s economist, “As Echo
Boomers expand as a proportion of the American workforce
and mature as consumers, they will continue to spend heavily in
service industry retail categories such as restaurants, travel and
 Cable, high-speed internet, and lattes are just as crucial as
electricity and gas
Ninety percent in the US own a PC; 82 percent own a cell
By 2015, they will have more consumer power than any other
Generation Y is consumed by entertainment: music, internet
games, cell phone ring tones, online applications, etc.
Buys disposable versus repairable products
Buys newest models versus a products that will last a lifetime
Land Lines (or calls to 411)
Travel Agents
Specialty Books such as
Phone Books or Cook Books
Source: Under 30 CEO
 48% said they were savers
 69% consider themselves wait-and-see shoppers
 83% say they are bargain shoppers
 They eat out more than any other generation having
the highest average weekly household expenditures on
food and beverages
 Clothes, food, and technology are 3 main
Favorite Self-Rewards
A Day to Themselves
Concert or Sports Event
A Night in Town
Spa Treatment
New Clothes
Source: Visa USA
How to Market Toward Gen
New Generation of Big Spenders
How to Market?
 New generation of big spenders
 No longer the baby boomers
 Gen Y
 Frustrated marketers have
concocted their own name for
Gen Y: The Unreachables.
 The question I am going to
answer is…What’s a marketer to
 When it comes to Generation
How To Market…
 It is important to first understand Gen Y
 Four areas Gen Y considers before
purchasing a product/service:
Cheap cost
Good quality
Fast service
The “experience”
 Taking this into account, how do you reach them?
 You need to come to them if you want to be taken seriously
 Concerts (Gen Y LOVE live music)
 Extreme sporting events
 Movies
 Hiking events
 Video game competitions (Cyber Athlete Professional League, GameCaster,
 Social networking sites (facebook, MySpace, Second Life,, DIGG,
 Tattoo parlors (36% of Gen Y have at least one tattoo)
So Basically…
 How to earn Gen Y-ers respect?
 Gen Y-ers do not waste time on ppl that are not being real with
 Authenticity is cool
 You cannot directly market to them until you buy into
them (value their perspective on life)
 You need to:
 Hang out with them
 Experience life with them
 Respect them
 You need to talk ‘with’ them not ‘at’ them!
How To…
 They ignore traditional advertising
Rely more on word-of-mouth
 “We want it now” generation
Interested in immediate gratification
 Less brand loyal and always looking for a good value
 Believe their products should be customizable
Loves products that let them show their individuality
 Multitasking
 Technology is the major influencer in Gen- Y buying behavior
 These qualities require a marketing approach that is both Sensory &
How To…
 Sensory
Five senses:
 Sight
 Hearing
 Smell
 Taste
 Touch
 Must be sold on the great taste, texture,
aroma, look and quality of a food
product (taste, smell, sight, and touch)
 Ex: They would be attracted to a new
electronic music gadget by its overall
design, sound quality and features
(sight, touch, & hearing)
 Knowing this, what would be a natural
media channel for Gen –Y?
 Social
 Satisfy their need for social
interaction & being part of social
 Gen- Y-ers are social animals
 Marketers must incorporating
social elements into the design of
their bus.
 whether it is a website, retail or
eating establishment.
 Bus. are no longer just for shopping,
eating, etc.
 Places to meet friends
 Hangout
 Read a book
 Surf the Net
 Socialize & exchange gossip
 Again Facebook, YouTube, etc. are
excellent examples
Most Effective Marketing Channels
 Internet Advertising
 Gen-Y spends more time online than watching TV, reading publications
or newspapers.
 Popular sites:
 Online Social Communities: FaceBook, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter, Etc.
 Video Sharing: YouTube, Break, ManiaTV, Hulu, & MetaCafe
 Online news: Diggs & StumbleUpon
 Blogging
 Marketers need to target websites where Gen Y-ers are likely to congregate &
 Has helped take the power away from marketers and give it to the consumers
 Powerful tool for this gen in spreading opinions about products to their peers
 Social Networking sites:
 Host the lgest grouping of gen Y consumers that marketers will ever be able to
find in one spot
Give marketers wider reach in the # of consumers they can connect with
Make it easier for marketers to find the subculture segment they wish to reach
Promotions on these sites
Joining a group - Friends can see you are a supporter of this brand
Sponsoring of groups which enables them to create and control forums within
their group
 Allows for immediate feedback
 Blogging
 Online diaries
 A lot of topics from celebrity gossip to politics
 Another way to hear what customers are saying about your brand or a
competitor’s brand
 Could have someone from your company blogging about your product
 Advertising on blogs is becoming one of the best ways to reach target
 Blogs are popular b/c they are a stripped down approach to getting info
and opinions.
 If marketers want to use the blogging world as a way to reach their
customer, they need to do so in a way that follows the way the blogs run
and not use brash sales or PR pitches
Generation Y
 They rank the highest in joining social networking sites,
viewing & uploading online videos, downloading music,
playing online games, reading online blogs, & sending text
Effective Marketing Channels
 Viral Marketing
 Contest & Sweepstakes
 Crazy about winning a contest or
receiving a gift
 Ex: iPod, concert tickets,
vacations, cell phone
 Ex: Southwest “Ultimate
Gamer” contest
 Paid search
 90% of Gen-Yers use online
search engines to find online info,
news and entertainment sites
 Ex: Google, Yahoo & MSN
Live Search
 Vital for firms to have a great
 Fully optimized for search
engines and listed in all the
major search engines
 Should have a promotional
page on popular social
networking and video sharing
sites (link to on their website)
 Adding a section to their
website for consumers to
write reviews of their
products (Likes & Dislikes)
 These consumers are more
likely to value what is written
by their peers b/c they believe
them to be more truthful
Effective Marketing Channels
Mobile Advertising
 Gen- Y are the biggest users
of iPhones, Smartphone's, &
portable multimedia devices
 Gen- Y prefers text message
over email
 This is a great way to reach
them but you must be careful
 Marketer must be certain
to get permission from
consumer before sending
them a message
 No more than one text a
Experiential Marketing
 Values their life experiences
 A company that can help them
enjoy their experiences may be
more able to win their loyalty
 Sponsoring an event
 They want an experience with
their products, something that
will stimulate and touch them –
something that is meaningful
 Ex: Coca Cola – “Happiness
 Southwest – sponsored the
Midnight Gaming
Championship in 2008
Effective Marketing Channels
 Cause Marketing
 First established in 1983 by American Express in a campaign to raise
money to refurbish the Statue of Liberty.
Gen Y feels a greater social responsibility
They are more likely to buy products from companies that support the
causes that they support
Gen Y believe it is their duty to make the world a better place
78% of Gen Y believe that it is companies responsibility to help them do
In order for cause marketing to be effective, it should be used as a
loyalty strategy by aligning their brand with a cause that is:
should be true to the company’s core brand identity.
 Green Marketing
 EX: Stony field Farms yogurt co.
Effective Marketing Channels
 Street Marketing
 Gen-Yers enjoy new experiences
 Can reach them face-to-face
 Ex: neighborhood promotional
stunts, free product samplings,
rollouts in venues lie street fairs,
college campus, bars, etc.
 Student Fans
 Can enlist students for
promotions and hires teens
to hand out product on the
 Ex: Red Bull
 Can place your logos on popular
computer games
 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Least Effective & Don’ts
 Direct Mail
 Publications
 Newspapers
 TV
 Long waits for a product
 Hard sell from marketers
 Have to make their decision on their own
 Dishonesty
Compare and Contrast How Competitors Target
Gen Y
Nike’s emphasis was on celebrities advertising their
brand; Gen Y doesn’t care about what celebrity is
using Nike. They care about what their peers are
saying about it.
According to USA Today study of 1,800 Gen Yers, “83 percent will trust a company more if it is
socially/environmentally responsible” and 69
percent of Gen Y consumers consider a company's
social and environmental commitment when
deciding where to shop.
Exploitive sweat shops and child labor
controversies tarnished Gen Y’s view of Nike’s
social commitment.
As a result, Gen Y dislikes Nike’s business model
Gen Y’s social networking represents a threat to
Nike’s business practices; Gen Y’s combination of
social awareness and social networking can reveal
the truth about Nike’s employment practices and
further tarnish the company’s image.
Website Link: Here
 is currently the biggest online shoe
store; founded in 1999.
Built on quirky culture: laid back atmosphere,
individuality, fun and happiness at work, and no
dress code. The culture transcends to their
customer service—which is their driving force.
Gen Y loves Zappos: choices, innovative
environment, and community involvement (they
blog about their community involvement and
engage with the public through videos and
comments). They respect and relate to the way the
company operates and treats its employees. The
CEO only makes $36,000 a year and has a cubicle
just like the other employees.
They invite customers not only to share their
reviews about shoes, but to post videos about their
Zappos experience right on their Web site.
Zappos continually innovates their image to keep
up with change. Gen Y values individuality.
Zappos transcends that individuality through their
company culture.
Website Link: Here
 Gen Y relates to Vokswagen’s
 Volksvagen was rated on of the “12
Most Respected Gen Y Brands.”
Gen Y describes VW as simple, yet
Volkswagen recognized Gen Y’s
drive for lifestyle
VW created GarageMaster electric
guitar enabling young drivers to
plug directly into VW vehicles and
have a concert wherever they
pleased; VW understands that Gen
Y is passionate about music.
Guitar is free with a purchase of a
new car
“fun to drive” motto
 They consider VW a trendsetter
in green initiatives
 Volkswagen has a reputation of
being real and authentic: two
things Gen Y-ers value
 Volkswagen ad: Link
Milleanials don’t aspire to car ownership the way
other generations do.
A lot of them see a car as a liability due to high
fuel costs, insurance costs, and environmental
Zipcar is a car-sharing company that enables its
members to rent a car per hour or per day.
Zipsters view the availability and reserve a car
through their cell phones, internet, or iPhone
Zipcar encourages cycling, walking and offers carsharing when the vehicle is needed in a big city.
Gas, maintenance, parking and insurance are all
included in $8.50 per hour cost—it is a lifestyle.
Zipcar focuses on accessibility, affordability, techie
applications, and environmentally friendly car
features: a recent survey revealed that 40% of Gen
Y-ers care about affordability and styling the most,
followed by environmental friendliness.
Zipcar is not just about renting cars; it focuses on
the Zipcar community experience.
The company hosts local Zipcar parties where
Zipsters network and chat.
They don’t make their own ads; their advertising
comes from Zipster’s comments and videos.
40% of new Zipsters are friend referrals.
Cars include in-vehicle Wi-Fi and access to social
network sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Zipcar iPhone Application Launch: Link
-Has a successful formula with its
combination of spotlighted merchandise,
edgy photographs and contemporary music
at its stores
-The floors are cool, the displays are cool,
even the fitting rooms are cool
-Constantly changing clothing and keeping
up with the phad
-Facebook Fans over 500,000
-A lot of photos, coupons, videos,
music and events listed
-Twitter followers 15000
-Didn’t keep their eye on the hip hop or “phat”
fashion trend
- Sales fell 13% in 2005 and has continued to
-Had to close half its plants and layoff over 6000
-They plan on spending 15 million on music tie-ins
-Their site included a music area where
browsers could sign up to win a guitar, but the
guitar didn’t draw more shoppers b/c it lacked
an affinity with the rest of the site.
-Have no stores of their own now
-Facebook Fans 150,000
-Twitter followers 3600
Mountain Dew Got It Right
Mountain Dew just launched a new site called ‘DEWacracy‘ inviting consumers to create the
next Mountain Dew flavor.
Gen Y strives on creativity and self-expression. They like to feel involved.
Another recent campaign was Green Label Art. They advertised on Deviant Art: an
extremely popular user-made artwork site. Mountain Dew invited users to create a label to
be featured on their “limited offer” bottles.
Mountain Dew encourages user advocacy and energizes user experience.
Gen Y is involved in action sports more than any other generation. The sporting events are
more than just sports; they involve around music, gaming and apparel—core engagement
activities for Gen Y.
Mountain Dew takes on those same core activities in their branding.
Their Web site (Link) targets Gen Y culture: gaming, sports, video, music features available.
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube applications on main site further invite user engagement and
user generated content.
Mountain Dew doesn’t talk to Gen Y; instead the company talks with Gen Y. Gen Y-ers like
transparency and straight talk.
 Community centered clothing store started by two guys
who won $1000.00 online for a t-shirt design.
Threadless markets itself as a community—not an apparel
Membership is free-members submit t-shirt designs. The
designs are voted on by the community and the ones with
highest votes get printed into t-shirts, which are then sold
on the site.
In May of 2009, Threadless partnered with Twitter enabling
users to submit Tweets, which then get voted on and
printed into t-shirts.
They have over a million followers on Twitter.
This is How the World
Ends by Travis Pitts
 Their Web site is engaging users into
an experience: shop, rate t-shirts,
submit designs, participate in design
challenges, threadspotting, forum, tee-v,
etc. The entire business concepts is
based on what people think.
Threadless is great at creating buzz.
 Gen Y generation loves to express
through clothing—through Threadless,
they feel directly involved.
 Threadless strives on choice, feedback,
self-expression, advocacy and
experience—these core values answer
to everything Gen Y craves.
 Initially, Jones Soda was only sold in shops that sell surfboards,
snowboards and skateboards and a few tattoo parlors. (1996)
 “They discover us in environments where they hang out,” founder of
Jones Soda states.
 They shun conventional paths like print ads…its most effective
marketing campaign relies upon word of mouth.
 Street Credibility – wouldn’t use media advertising, even if they
could have afforded it in the beginning
 Even have a wild RV with orange and dark grey teeth on it that
goes with them to these events such as snowboarding bringing
product samples to ppl at sporting events, etc.
Jones Soda
 When you buy a Jones Soda, its not because you’re thirsty.
Its b/c you want to make a fashion statement.
 Josh Sundquist – Jones Soda sponsors him
 Sundquist is spreading the Jones Soda gospel
 Cancer took his legs and almost killed him
 While spreading his personal message that life is still cool, he
wears Jones sweatshirt and drinks Jones Soda.
 Jones Soda is now sold in Starbucks, Panera Bread,
Safeway, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Jones Soda Website
 They are now tying their retail products back into an online
community which offers users the chance to participate through My
Music, My Videos, blogging and message boards
 So they created a virtual community of fans who gather at the website
to chat, blog, enter contest, share movie reviews, and download
 So fans can follow the activities of the Jones team, watch videos, listen
to music and buy merchandise. They can get to know company
staffers through breezy, self-written bios.
 They use their company website as the primary marketing focus
 Jones Soda has figured out what Gen Y wants. Its Web
site urges fans to send in ur own personal photos for
possible use on Jones Soda labels. (Your photo could
 It creates an emotional connection
 You can send in your pics and
buy a 12 pack as well
 Meeting that desire for customization
 Constantly switching photographs
 Keeps their appearance fresh & interesting
Jones Soda
Link: Jones Soda Link
 “I wanted to make the computer look so cool and so
attractive that Gen Y would want to lick the screen,” Steve
Jobs stated about the Apple iBook.
 It is important to look Cool & Hip for Gen Y
 When Apple created the 99-cent download that took eight
seconds to transact, they hit the nail on the head with Gen
Y. (Cheap, good quality, fast service, and new experience
all in one)
 One of the largest cause marketing endeavors to date is the
RED (raises money for AIDS)
 Obviously with products like iPod, iPhone, etc.
 Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – one of the largest
Hulu Got It Right!
Hulu is a collaborative effort between ABC,Fox and NBC
Providing “On Demand”, commercial supported, TV shows and movies
Allow embedding of their videos to other websites
Provide outlets for content suggestions and feedback (blogs and discussion areas)
Works well for Gen Y-ers who do not watch a lot of TV and want control over what they watch
and when they watch it
Overall goal is to create a subscription model in order to increase revenue
Allows users to set up a profile and share opinions and view status updates (similar to Facebook)
Added a “Friends” feature that allows you to watch and comment with friends while watching
Perfect for Gen Y because it allows them to stay “connected” with their friends while viewing
Website design is Gen Y focused
 Clean (no blinking boxes or advertising all over the place)
 Easy to use (sort, click, enjoy!!!!!)
 Authentic…perfect for Gen Y….provides an accessible viewing experience
 We only have a Web 1.0 website
 No interaction on website. All content driven by
Site is cluttered--not what a Gen Y’er would notice
Large market of Gen Y…ignored
No connection to Facebook, Myspace or any other social
media outlet from the website
Only has 3700 fans on Facebook….mostly people who
work for us
JC Penney targeting Gen Y, but
reaching their moms
McCain tried unsuccessfully to “beat” Obama at his own game.
Gen Y’ers dislike negative ads and Obama won overwhelmingly in
this category of voter.
 Toyota’s first effort to connect with generation Y was a flop.
 Launching a marketing strategy team called Genesis, Toyota
committed millions of dollars to advertising.
 But the imagery and the cars that Toyota decided to sell to the Gen Y
crowd never matched up
 Celica, the Echo, and the MR2 Spyder
 With Genesis, they had a chance to see if marketing was
enough…obviously it wasn’t
 They learned from their mistakes
 The cars needed a lot more emotional appeal and advertising would
never be as important as radically designed cars focused on lifestyles.
 Needed more flexibility (customizable)
 They realized they needed a new brand with new cars (stay fresh)
 Price needed to be lower as well
 Creating the brand image
 Keep the respect
 You need to care about Gen Y opinion
 Keep an array of options
 Don’t choose actors or models you think represent Gen Y.
Gen Y consumers want to see an array of personalities
 Keep it quiet
 Gen Y like to discover brands on their own
 Marketing to them has to be on their terms and in places
where they hang out
What Gen Y offers, what they want,
and their tendencies
How marketers can reach
them and earn their
76 Million Members
Be Authentic—Understand this market
$200 billion annually
More financially savvy, bargain shoppers, wait and
Offer comparisons of your products vs
Crave customization
Allow consumers to customize their
products and get into more consumer
generated content
“Experience” is important
Create an experience for the customer
through music, internet or social media
i.e. themed concerts, geocaching, or
live “cause” events
Keep everything positive; negative
attitude drives these consumers away
Don’t watch much TV—On internet more than 3
hours per day
Utilize social media networking sites
and internet to reach these customers
What Gen Y offers, what they want,
and their tendencies
How marketers can reach
them and earn their
Prefer Instant Messaging, Private Messaging, Email,
Facebook, Twitter and texting as modes of
Utilize this info—User generated
content, IM and Pm’ing, FB and
Twitter accounts
Brand awareness>Brand Loyalty
Create awareness and brand loyalty by
responding to these customers
suggestions and feedback; you must
win their trust
They want the latest and greatest and they want it now
Stay on the front of the technology
curve, utilize feedback and react
They want respect
You must “authentically” know this
group, go where they are, see what they
see, and experience what they