December 2, 2021

Marketing to Generation Y: What You Can’t Afford Not to Know

makreting to generation y

Are You Truly Marketing to Gen Y? If So, Check Your Authenticity Rating

Generation Y. You’ve heard that they don’t watch TV, and you’ve probably been told that they don’t read that much. Your research tells you that you can’t target them through MTV anymore, and you certainly can’t tell Gen Y what is cool. So how do you reach these 71 million “Millennials” that spend over 200 billion dollars annually and will soon replace the baby boomer generation as the largest percentage of the workforce? The answer is simple—you STOP marketing to them, that’s what SEO Phoenix does. Let me explain.

First, let’s look at who they are. As a baby boomer, I can tell you that this generation—sometimes called the “Connecteds”—are our own invention. We raised Gen Y to believe that they can do anything and be anything. We made their lives easy enough that they now believe they deserve to live first and work second. (How dare them!) So the first thing we have to do is stop being pissed off at our own creation and embrace the brilliance of this Gen Y community.

This is the most optimistic generation to ever walk the face of the planet. They absolutely believe that miracles are possible. They refuse to work a job that does not bring them a sense of joy. They care about the earth and servicing their community. In Gen Y, we have created the possibility for everything that we wanted for the world. According to, we must stop whining about them being entitled and embrace the power of this generation. Once we do that, we can then begin to take a closer look at who they are, what makes them tick, and what they want from our businesses.

Let’s look at who has been successful at marketing to Gen Y: Apple, Jet Blue, Trader Joes, Jones Soda, Mountain Dew, and Red Bull, to name a few. How do these companies speak to this demographic? To answer that, we first have to understand the four areas Gen Y considers before purchasing a product or service:
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  1. Cheap cost
  2. Good quality
  3. Fast service
  4. An “experience”
  5. Company integrity

When Apple created the 99-cent download that took eight seconds to transact, they hit the nail on the head with Gen Y. Music is an experience, the quality is stellar, the cost is low, and the purchase happens instantly. What did Apple do right? They spoke directly to Gen Y and asked the question: What do you want?

So who gets Gen Y’s attention? Living in an age where information is everywhere and where everyone can reach them, the Gen Y community is VERY selective about who they listen to. Just look at their MySpace and Facebook accounts, and you’ll recognize that they get their information from one another—NOT from us, and certainly not from the media. And the information they get from each other is not in emails, which most of them don’t even touch anymore (I know you probably thought you were being hip with your 100 emails a day!). They text one another. They IM. They watch each other on YouTube. And sometimes they do all three at the same time! Most importantly, Gen Y does NOT care about what you have to say unless you have been endorsed by their friends. They care about what their community says, and they take each other and their network’s recommendations VERY seriously.

So taking that into account, how do you reach them? Well, understand that Gen Y is an “experience” culture. They do not want to be told what to like or what to do. They want to experience the world for themselves and pass their own judgment. They love to be in the trenches of life, and they want to be there with their friends. HERE is where you have to meet them if you want to be taken seriously and respected by this generation enough for them to buy from you:

· Concerts (Gen Y LOVES live music.)

· Extreme sporting events (skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX)

· Movies (mainstream as well as art-house)

· Hiking events (They love the outdoors)

· Video games and video game competitions (Cyber Athlete Professional League, GameCaster, Global Gaming League)

· Mashups (Weather Bonk, Where’s Tim Hibbard, Y! Mash, Sims on Stage)

· Social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Second Life,, DIGG)

· Tattoo parlors (36 percent of them have at least one tattoo)

Before I wrap this up, there is one more major element we need to discuss, and that is how to earn their respect when you are talking with Gen Y: AUTHENTICITY. They don’t waste time on people or companies that are not being real with them. Authentic is cool. Authentic is dorky. Authentic is hip. Authentic is truthful. This generation has seen it all, from televised wars to 9-11 to the hanging of Hussein. They know real when they see it, and it takes them all of three seconds to pass that judgment.

So what does all this mean to you? It means that you cannot directly market to them until you buy into them, until you value their perspective on life. So while other experts are out there giving you “tricks” to market to Gen Y, I’m here saying STOP marketing to them and START listening to them. Hang out with them. Experience life with them. Respect them. If you do, their outlook on life will change you. You’ll begin to behave differently, take on some new values, and begin to live more yourself. When you do that, you’ll find your audience within this generation. Then talking “with” them, not “at” them will sell your business..

4 Quick Marketing Strategies to Get More Prospects and Paying Clients

I asked a few marketing coaches last week to answer the question “What is your most effective marketing strategy you have used in your own business and/or with your clients?”  Here are a few of the answers I received:

Build a Strong Online Presence
Alice Bismut

The biggest impact I had in terms of visitors to my website came from my presence online.
Two sources in particular:
– classified ads for shows on sites like Craigs list and ticket sales sites online
– sites where I have videos online such as


Author a Column in a Regional Journal or Newspaper
Anna Jacoby

For almost five years, I wrote a bi-weekly column that appeared in five Bay Area newspapers. It was by far my biggest source of new clients and it boosted my credibility among my existing clients. It was not an advertisement, but rather 500 words about my area of expertise: interior decorating. I made the articles informational, but also personal, by writing about client projects I was working on, my own kitchen remodeling project, and design events I attended. When you share information with others, you become an expert. People trust what you say and come to believe that you are the one they should call when they need your service. Think of places where you might be able to submit articles: newspapers, magazines, trade journals, blogs, e-zines, and more. The possibilities are endless.

I attended a kitchen remodeling seminar last month at Salt Lake City countertop specialists. I was amazed by all the knowledge that they share. It was nice; there you’ll find the latest in premium countertop surfaces, including Quartz countertops, Solid Surface, and Laminate. If you are interested too, visit Floform or call them directly at 385-528-3596.


Be Yourself and Give of Yourself
Kym Wong

This may sound like a cliche, but I have continually found that just being myself and sharing my life experiences has been my most effective strategy! I am passionate about entrepreneurship and enjoy being around and helping other entrepreneurs. By giving my time, my attention and my knowledge to those beginning their entrepreneurial journey, I find that I am expressing my best self in a way that is enjoyable and effortless for me.

The I Ching states that we are at our most powerful when we are at our most natural.
Knowing who you are and finding opportunities to be yourself and to give of yourself can be tremendously fulfilling and rewarding both personally and professionally.


Two Marketing Strategies Per Day Approach
Bea Fields

I am a believer that if you own a business, you are now in the business of being a marketer.  My strategy is what I call the “Two Marketing Strategies Per Day Approach.”  Every day, I take two steps to market my business…blogging, article writing, public speaking, handout out business cards, networking online and offline.  Today, I am blogging and taking a former client to lunch.  I will also probably take a 3rd step and create a little video for someone who needs a bit of help.  My goal is to take steps that always add value back to my clients and the public at large.

I hope you enjoyed these strategies.  We invite you to use the comment feature to add in your own marketing strategies to our list..

Podcast: Y Talk Interview With Terry Osborn and Ben Aronson of TAO Experience

During this episode I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Osborn and Ben Aronson, the founding partners of  the TAO Experience, a Marketing, Branding and Talent Management firm based out of Hoboken, NJ.   Listen in as we talk a bit about marketing to the Gen Y and Gen X demographics and their highly successful Break’n Through event, which showcases Gen Y talent to the public..

Generation Y as homebuyers

I was speaking last week with a realtor who was frustrated with some of his Gen Y potential home buyers. I asked him how he was communicating with them. He went into a story about how they have to call him, set up an appointment to come into the office for a “needs assessment”, and they then look at as many houses as they can that fit those “needs.” I asked him about the possibility of using a Blackberry to shoot pics over to them, the thought of eliminating the “needs assessement” meeting, and he seemed to be put out with that idea. Duh! No wonder he’s frustrated.

A great article appeared in the Seattle Times yesterday on this very topic. It discusses Gen Y’s lifestyle, commercial air conditioning, and what they want in a home, and so on. The only thing I would add to this is that as a seller, it is important to be able to communicate with Gen Y based on their communication preferences.

Text messaging, a Blackberry/i-phone/your digital phone of choice can make this whole process so much easier, would reduce frustration and would probably sell more homes (of course this is just the world according to Bea, so you can decide.) And, just remember…Gen Y’s have already done a great deal of research on the site of homes before they call you, so the whole “come to my office for a meeting” may sound like drudgery and a waste of time. A great first question would be “What homes have you researched that you are interested in?” By taking a twentysomething buyer to that home first, you can probably do a quick needs assessment just by listening and asking questions..

Why Does Generation Y Love Starbucks?

I recently had coffee with four Gen Y’s at Starbucks in Aberdeen, NC. to find out why they love Starbucks:

Great article in News & Observer

Great Zits Cartoon: The All-Nighter by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman


What Change is Generation Y Actually Creating? By Monica O’Brien

Monica O’Brien has a great post today on BrazenCareerist on what Gen Y is actually creating in our world, and here is my comment back:

As a Baby Boomer, I have watched my parents (Veterans) work their fingers to the bone, and I have now watched as Gen X went through the Dot Com Boom and Bust. I am the parent of 3 Gen Y’s, and here is what I think.

I believe that Gen Y is here to show us that the complexity we have been so wound up in over the last 20 years is ridiculous. We create death in careers through endless meetings, we stifle creativity, and we have this belief that was worn out ages ago that says “Thou must work your fingers to the bone in order to get ahead.” That is ridiculous, and it’s killing us.

Gen Y knows how to get the job done and get it done efficiently and effectively so that we have time to do what we all want to do…have free time to play and as my son says “chill.” So, let’s start looking at the lessons we can learn from this. There’s a time to work (and yes, this does mean sweating at times), and there’s a time to play…and remember…play time is productive time. We can’t do great work if our brains are fried.  So, from my perspective, Gen Y is showing us a much healthier perspective on how to work, when to work and what’s important in life…which is living!.

Y Talk Interview with Brandon Evans, Managing Partner for Mr. Youth on the Consumer 2.0 Report

Listen in to this special interview with Mr. Youth’s Managing Partner, Brandon Evans

Mr. Youth has been trumpeted by Inc. Magazine as being one of the fastest growing private businesses in the USA, and rightfully so. The company believes that marketing to a young audience should be fun, innovative and pursued with excellence. During this special Y-Talk interview, we will be talking with Mr. Youth’s Managing Partner, Brandon Evans about the new Consumer 2.0 study which explores The Five Rules To Engage a New Breed of Customer.

Mr. Youth on Y-Talk Radio Tonight

Join Y-Talk Radio tonight at 7:00 p.m. for this special interview with Mr. Youth’s Managing Partner, Brandon Evans

Mr. Youth has been trumpeted by Inc. Magazine as being one of the fastest growing private businesses in the USA, and rightfully so. The company believes that marketing to a young audience should be fun, innovative and pursued with excellence. During this special Y-Talk interview, we will be talking with Mr. Youth’s Managing Partner, Brandon Evans about the new Consumer 2.0 study which explores The Five Rules To Engage a New Breed of Customer.
Listen to the show.