Gen Y is the free-spending generation made up of the individuals between the ages of 8 and 25. Gen Y’ers are 72 million strong and therefore represent a large part of consumer spending. Unlike their predecessors of Gen X, who purchased out of need, Gen Y’ers are conditioned to spend their cash as soon as they receive their paychecks. This means great things for marketers everywhere – if they understand how to cater to this group, that is. So here are a couple key pointers to hook Gen Y on your brand and secure the billions of dollars they represent in spendable cash:
Cater to Gen Y in Their Own Environment
By catching Gen Y’ers in their natural habitat, you have a much better chance of this group giving your band a warm reception. Take Jones Soda, which has been extremely effective in hitting Generation Y. Instead of saturating the market like other soft drink brands, Jones Soda sells its products where Gen Y’ers are hanging out – side by side with surfboards, snowboards and skateboards. Strategically placing their products alongside what Gen Y’ers love to do (surf, snowboard, skate) Jones Soda is subliminally delivering a positive to Generation Y. The target audience is able to draw a correlation between the Jones Soda brand and the positive emotions they experience while hanging out at their favorite board shop.
Enlist a Group of Brand Ambassadors
Big brands such as Redbull and Mountain Dew are hiring groups of outgoing individuals to promote their products and hand out free branded swag. How many times have you seen the Red Bull trucks driving through a college campus? When spotted, these trucks attract swarms of college students anxious to get their hands on free cans of Red Bull or free promotional t-shirts. Promotions like this are pure marketing genius. Red Bull allows consumers to equate their brand with the exhilarating rush they get when handed free Red Bull items. Similarly, Mountain Dew creates a strong parallel between their brand and Gen Y’s favorite things to do. The brand can often be seen passing out free samples at snowboarding and surfing tournaments. This has worked wonders for the brand because Gen Y members express how “doing the Dew” isn’t a rush just because of the caffeine and sugar in the beverage itself, but also because of the hip places where the product is first consumed.
Bottom line, Generation Y wants YOU to come to them. Gone are the days that consumers will seek your brand out on their own. Now it takes going that extra mile to sway consumers to become loyal followers. This means INTERACTING with the consumers on their level – whether it is handing out free samples or providing branded merchandise to keep your brand in the back of your mind. It’s not about mass marketing anymore, folks. Today the successful marketers are reaching their target audience on an individual level, incorporating consumers directly into their brand. Jones Soda mastered this by hosting a contest for its users to submit their best photo and guess what the winner received – their photo printed on the Jones Soda label! Pretty much blows the old-school cereal box toys out of the water if you ask me!
What other creative examples have you seen that have effectively captured Generation Y?