As I was enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, I happened to notice a table of 20-something women sitting across from me. While they ate and chatted, I couldn’t help but notice the constant use of their phones. They were consistently texting and flipping through their phone screens in between bites. I started to wonder if they were even texting each other messages like ‘how’s your salad?’ and ‘are you going to eat the rest of your fries?”
My encounter with the Gen Y Lunch Club started my target market mind churning. As the first generation to be raised with technology, it’s pretty much a given that companies can connect with these potential customers on almost all of the social networks. But just because they live their life with techno-gadgets, it’s not the true definition of who they are.
The Millennials or the traditional term of Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1995, have found a way to completely integrate their lives with technology and social media. Many brands are trying to fight for their attention as this target audience ages and will soon become a stronger buying force then the Baby Boomers. While many companies are attempting to connect with the Gen Y crowd with Facebook ads and placing Google Adword campaigns, the research shows the best way to reach this group is through word of mouth marketing.
The influence of their friends and family means more to them then a free offer from an online banner ad. They get their information from their friends’ Facebook posts, not the TV commercials we run on MTV. And email marketing? You can forget that one too. Most just have an email account to setup their social networks. They text each other. They message each other on Facebook. They tweet to each other about where they are and what they’re doing. Gen Y will only pay attention to your marketing message if its been recommended by their friends within their social community.
Let me throw in a few facts and figures from Mr Y (Mr Youth’s report Meet the Class of 2015) for my stat-loving readers:
- 66% would look up a store after learning their friend had checked in. (Mr Y)
- 52% have over 300 friends on Facebook. Top 10%, over 1,000. (Mr Y)
- 58% use Twitter “all the time” (Mr Y)
- 40% visit Facebook more than 10 times per day. (Mr Y)
- 67% access Facebook from their smart phone (Mr Y)
- 59% visit Facebook during class (Mr Y)
- 80% use 2 or more devices simultaneously while watching TV (Mr Y)
- 38% of students surveyed said they could not go more than 10 minutes without checking their digital device—about the time it takes to walk to class. (EMarketer’s report on College Students)
- Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. (Pew Internet)
The Millennials have the tools to reach and be influenced by a larger group of people then any other generation. They understand the power of social media. They’ve seen revolutions take place on YouTube, news breaking on Twitter and even joined a movement to get Betty White to host SNL from a Facebook post. If your company is trying to market to the Millennials then your team needs to throw away your old marketing rule book. It seems there’s only one real marketing rule to follow when connecting with Gen Y: Learn to listen more and broadcast less.
Are you marketing to the Gen Y audience? Let me know what campaigns have worked and what didn’t.
Photo credit: And then Victor said