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Gen Y: A Study In Contrasts

Marketing to the masses has gone the way of the dinosaur - even direct marketing is taking hits from those in the know, these days. The value today is in personalization or behavioral marketing.

With that in mind, I try to keep up with the latest and greatest in marketing relevant to women, and today I'm going to talk about young women. The Gen Y set. Those wonderful, darling girls trailing behind their sisters in the Gen X age group, are a unique and distinct group of females. I hesitate to call them women as that seems so dated. They are women - they are adults and proud of it. But, their expectations in the world are so vastly different than any who have gone before, this particular group is sometimes hard to qualify.

First of all, my understanding from talking to many of them is that they distain labels. The Gen Y label, the Millennium label, and certainly the Echo Boomer label, describe 'things' , not people. And these girls are people, through and through. They're opinionated (much the same as their boomer Mothers and Grandmothers), they're demanding - having been taught that the world is their playground, and they're outspoken - especially about world affairs, which they believe all comers before them have screwed up, royally.

Gads! How do you market to such a group? Well, in the September 24th issue of Businessweek, a sidebar attempts to explain Gen Ys in a way that I think can help marketers market to them. To whit, it says they're "authentic." We know that - most of them are bloggers.

It says they're eager to teach others how to be social media experts (my words, not Businessweek's words; they merely mention that this group is ready and willing to teach their peers whatever their peers don't know).

It says, "There is a strong, strong millennial dislike of ambiguity and risk, leading them to seek a lot more direction and clarity from their employers..."  In other words, be specific.

And, surprisingly, they say, "...boomers are having an easier time mentoring millennials than Gen Xers. Boomers may feel very paternal (let's say maternal) about the millennials. They may have some at home." There's an opportunity - get Mom involved.Thumbs_up

But, the most important thing said in the article is that millennials feel entitled. The magazine compares them to the quarterback... because the "whole team has been blocking and tackling for them" they have come to see themselves as special, and "they feel entitled to have others support them in their efforts to accomplish and achieve."

Whew! That's a lot to digest. Here it is in a nutshell... these girls are into accomplishment, and they expect you to pave the road ahead for them. Show them you're into green, that you're socially conscious about something, that you respect them for their differences, and you will reel them in.

After that, it's another new ballgame. Stay tuned.


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