Marketers learned how to sell to Generation Y and the Millenials from the time they picked up their first Nintendo controller. The same generation has now moved behind desks in the corporate world and has given them a paycheck, giving them more buying power than ever.
The marketing once used to sell to your grandfather will not work with these youngsters. There are large differences between Gen Y and past generations in how they were brought up and what they expect out of life.
How they’re different from older generations:
They are digital natives. They have grown up with computers, cell phones, the Internet, Nintendo and mp3 players attached to their hands at all times. And, they can usually use all of them at the same time.
They watch less TV. Rather than watching TV, you would most likely find Gen Y in front of their computer, watching videos online or playing a video game.
They think advertising is full of lies. They would rather know what their friends think. This generation has grown up with marketing being thrown in their face wherever they go, almost becoming immune to it. They also don’t have brand loyalty and will move on to whatever the next big thing is.
They’re environmentally friendly. They care about what’s happening around the world and want to do their part to help. News is read not on paper, but on a computer screen complete with interactive polls and video.
How marketing will change:
Because of how skeptic Gen Y is about marketing and advertising, marketers must work to build a level of trust between the two. Those marketers who succeed will have an open dialogue with customers, admit when they have done wrong and become more transparent.
Web sites targeting Gen Y will adopt more Web 2.0 practices. Social networking and blogging will be the main way Gen Y learns about products and the main way companies will reach customers.
You may think you’re ahead of the game now by using Twitter to update customers, but that could change tomorrow. Gen Y will choose what will be the next big thing to hit the Web marketing world.
Web sites will also have to cater to short attention spans. Long, boring and big paragraphs of text will not be read. They shift topics quickly and multi-task like pros.
This generation is anxiously biting their nails, waiting for the next version of the iPhone to hit store shelves. Web sites must adapt to a culture that is increasingly comfortable with mobile Web.
The future of the Web is whatever Gen Y wants it to be. While they continue to land jobs in the real world, business to business marketing will be changing along with it. Before long, these young employees will be running the show and Web marketing must follow suit.