Marketing To Young Buyers

y_zThere are 93 million millennials – otherwise known as Generation Y – in the US.  That group now represents the largest segment of the American workforce.  With the oldest members being in their mid-30’s, they will be a dominant force for a long time.  But right behind them is Gen Z – with 70 million members in the college and high school scene – which will soon be a factor for any company looking to promote and sell to that market as well.

As with any customer demographic, there is a unique dynamic to these young buyers.  Marketing through emails and videos; giving youthful products that appeal to this tech- savvy group; and keeping the retail styles in mind when picking out headwear and apparel are all solid guidelines for appealing to the under-40 crowd.  It’s a matter of giving something that is “cool enough”- the latest and greatest – and not something that they have received multiple times in the past (swap the white cotton tee for a bella+canvas black heather tee).

The stats – courtesy of Pew Research Center – that support the theory:

  • By 2020 40% of all consumers will be from Gen Z
  • About 40% of Gen Zers say corporate offices are their preferred workplace
  • The average GenZer has the attention span of about 8 seconds
  • By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce
  • 90% of millennials check their emails, texts and social media accounts before getting out of bed
  • More than 60% of millennials stay updated on brands through social media
  • 77% of millennials participate in loyalty reward programs
  • Millennials consistently spend more than other generations on fitness-related products

Young buyers are the future – prepare to understand what they want, and avoid what they don’t – if you don’t, someone else will!

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Gen Y and The Corporate Brand

Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) is now estimated to be the largest consumer group in US history.  That age group provides an astounding 80 million potential buyers, referred to as Millenials, who are confident, connected and open to change.  (Source:  Pew Research Center)

This generation is well-educated, digitally saavy and more passionate about causes they care about.  With a generational personality like that, corporations need to embrace the idea that free t-shirts and branded sling bags alone are not going to drive the desired behavior.  In terms of product choices, there are numerous options that will appeal to the Gen Y consumer.  But without a focused marketing strategy aimed at truly engaging the recipient, that giveaway alone will be just another piece of swag (“stuff we all get”).

Consider some of the following characteristics about Generation Y when designing a brand strategy aimed at this group:

  • Embrace all things digital – 90% use internet; 75% use social networking
  • More highly educated – 54% have at least some college education
  • Eco-consious – 53% buy green products; 36% buy organic foods
  • More likely to exercise – 68% of men vs 48% of women
  • Support consumer activism – 34% buy a product when they agree with the company’s social values

Source:  Pew Research Center

Companies like Apple, Red Bull and Toms have been enormously successful in marketing to these young consumers.  They market through appealing product design, high energy engagement and social awareness.  Regardless of the product, the concept is the same.  Give a gift that appeals to the tech saavy recipient; sponsor a local marathon, bike-a-thon or walk-a-thon; or tie in a campaign with a social cause.  The corporate logo can be attached to almost anything – just be sure that the message that logo inspires promotes the action your company intended!