Marketing to consumers who are a part of Generation Y can be quite a challenge indeed. A focus must be placed on them because they are the future of any business. What their behaviors are in the interaction of goods and services now will become the status quo later on in life as the generation takes over. Engaging your brand now is important because what you choose to do today for them is what you’ll be doing for every generation tomorrow.
It all begins with you you engage with Generation Y at a core level. Many in this generation aren’t going to have a lot of spending power, so speaking to their wallets or future investments isn’t going to be effective. You’ve got to reach them where they are today and that’s on the internet, creating memes, being influential in online social groups, and realizing that technology really is their BFF.
Great Generation Y Marketing Strategies
1. Become Interactive
The key to any successful marketing campaign to Generation Y is to start from the inside out instead of the outside in. This generation is more connected than any that came before it and they will very much buy into a good idea… if it doesn’t cost them a lot of money. Generation Y is very willing to volunteer sweat equity, so get interactive and encourage them to do the same. This will create a set of brand ambassadors that will improve the word-of-mouth referrals that you get.
2. Respond Immediately
Generation Y has an expectation for an immediate response because they have tools on hand that make this possible. The days of waiting 24 hours to respond to a voicemail message are long gone. Answer the phone instead of letting it ring when it comes to social media. Respond to comments immediately. Address concerns. Respond to feedback and start an online conversation. You won’t stop these conversations from taking place at all, so it is better to be part of them so you can influence them.
3. Get Creative
Immediate responses are nice, but personalized immediate responses that are creative will make a lasting impression. How long would it take to record a message on Skype that you could then send to someone in response to a concern? Or how long would it take to write a quick email to thank someone personally for their business? These little touches will go a long way toward keeping you at the top of Generation Y’s mind.
4. Know Your Mobile
All of your marketing materials that are intended for Generation Y must be able to be accessed from a mobile device. How effective is a marketing video if people on their tablets or smartphones can’t watch it when they have a few minutes? Reducing friction for your Generation Y leads means making the mobile experience smooth and effortless, so optimize your strategy in this area right now.
5. Stop the Email Campaign
Email campaigns to Generation Y can work to some extent, but they will never maximize their potential. If you’ve got 7 minutes to kill while waiting in line for a cronut, are you going to spend that time reading a marketing email or spend that time making plans with your friends for later that night? Probably the second. Get to Generation Y where they are the most: their mobile device. Text marketing is much more effective and it provides a secondary bonus: you become part of the BFF relationship with tech.
6. Be Relevant
Promises are important, but they are especially important to Generation Y. Every time you advertise the benefits of a product, you are making a promise to that targeted consumer. If your product fails to deliver as advertised in any small way, you’ve broken the promise that you’ve made and the first inclination of Generation Y when a negative feeling is experienced is to post their thoughts on their preferred social media account.
7. Get Authentic
Generation Y will not engage with you unless your company is authentic to the very core with its mission in every single detail. Tell your story and you’ll do a good job of winning over the masses if they are able to relate to it. Unique stories are even better because they are more memorable. Being unique and authentic works because this is how a vast majority of Generation Y sees themselves.
8. Make It an Experience
Allow people to interact with your goods or services so that it can become part of their life. Having something exclusive and valuable will always gain Generation Y’s attention, but making that be an inclusive brand that shares surprises and different experiences with that “something” will make you a dominant player in your industry.
9. Your Website Is Your Home
Because Generation Y has such an extensive relationship with technology, their online presence is a reflection of their physical life. When you look in the mirror in the morning, you are optimizing your appearance for everyone else to get a good first impression of what you can do. That’s how Generation Y sees your website. Make it your home, integrate your online presence, and create a user experience that leads to organic interactions.
10. Never Take a Break
Most marketing strategies fail with Generation Y because once some measure of success has been attained, the pressure is turned down on the campaign. The moment you let up from your marketing efforts, you’ll have Generation Y give up on you. It’s nice to have 15 minutes of fame, but most companies that get this fame are quickly forgotten by next week.
11. Rewards Work
Because Generation Y can best be described as “pragmatic,” showing them appreciation for their business will get their attention fast. Don’t just do the obvious kinds of things that everyone does, like a “Buy 12, get the 13th free” type of thing. Make it random and help them to do something great with your rewards, like plant a tree in your local community with a $50 purchase or donate a percentage of the profits they generated to provide clean water to remote villages in Africa.