Marketing Right: Gen Y Wants You!
by Daniel Houck

Spending time and money trying to figure out what Generation Y wants? Wondering how you can reach this influential and powerful word-of-mouth buying group? Got your design and engineering teams working overtime to develop "possibly pinpointed" prototypical products?

Stop it. Stop daydreaming about how your company can tap into this 70 million people plus market with the buying power of a massive military. We've got news for you, Gen Y is screaming to be heard. They want to buy your products and services. All you have to do is…

(Keep this to yourself. People pay us big money to let them in on the secret.)

All you have to do is - understand them. I know what you're thinking," Thanks brother, we'll be sure NOT to mail out a payment right away." Listen closely though - I said
U-N-D-E-R-S-T-A-N-D them. Read it again if you have to.

This does not mean scream the loudest. Nor does it mean yell in the brightest print advertisement. It doesn't mean speaking down to them and explaining why "YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ARE COOL" as if they were deaf. I can tell you that even if they are, they will ignore you quickly, with a passion, and they will tell all of their friends to ignore you too.

By understanding, we mean to truly understand what motivates them as a generation. Thinking about why they are unique, different and unlike the previous generations that have come before them, but knowing that they also possess traits of some of the generations before them as well: veterans, boomers, and Xers included.

A Glimpse of Gen Y

1. For The Love of Family
They are family oriented. Think team based, as in group workers. This is exactly why cell phones and two-way paging is so attractive to them. It's also why the U.S. Army has missed a major mark with its latest campaign - "An Army of One". Gen Y does not want to be an army of one; that my friend, was Gen X.

2. Consciously Considerate Sharers
They are friend conscious. How do fads become overwhelming marketing phenomena? Sure marketing dollars to generate awareness can help, but not always. Friends talking to friends. Word-of-mouth is more powerful here than ever before. Get your product talked about and talked up, and you may win your company's overachiever award of the decade.

3. Guerilla Warfare Works
They like to press the flesh. Sponsoring the ESPN X Games is like landing a "kick flip Ollie." If you try it, you're crazy. If you land it, you're a hero. In other words, if you spend the money on this kind of advertising - you're crazy, if you get customers from it, fantastic. However, think viral marketing with Gen Y. Go to the malls and the concerts - be where they are in order to reach them. Expensive you say? Not as much as a Superbowl commercial.

4. They Are Amazingly Optimistic
Less negative than their older Gen X counterparts, Gen Y has a very positive outlook on the world. Taint it and you doom your company. Try scare tactics to frighten them into buying your products and they'll change the channel, or laugh along with your jingle, promptly forgetting your company. Sell to their power of the positive and they will be significant allies for you.

5. They Are Tenacious Doers
They are a can do bunch like The Veterans. Offer products which help them become better, which build on their natural resourceful prowess, and you'll be in the know, and in the money. They make things happen. They want to anyway. Your wares need to help them do just that to run off the shelves, digital or brick n' mortar.

6. They Know The Tech Terrain
You know they know this too. Don't talk down to them. It won't work. They have already thought about making your product better, neater, faster, and more fun. Tell them what it can and cannot do. Believe it or not, Gen Y likes the steak more than the sizzle sometimes. Figure out when to use either in marketing your products and services.

7. Shopping With Mom Is Cool Again
Gen X wouldn't be caught dead in "your father's Oldsmobile." Perhaps that's why it's falling to the ranks of automobile history. Generation Y on the other hand would be found shopping with their parents, and happily including them in their buying decisions - in actuality, THEY are educating and pushing many purchasing decisions up.

So, stop trying so hard to entice them. Understand them, and you'll soon realize what they find interesting and valuable. Tell them what you have to offer, and let them know why your organization is the best to deliver it and they will show you a new loyalty. Lastly, if you're wondering what a "kick flip Ollie" is, just ask the closest teen!

Daniel Houck is Cofounder & Chief Disillusionsist of People Notion, Company Culture Architects! As a performance consulting firm specializing in helping people and companies determine their highest expectations and then surpass them, they have worked with some of the best companies in the world, and for many of those aspiring to be. A motivational speaker, consultant and writer, Daniel moves executives and their staffs to shatter the illusion that success, measured by joining people with ROI is not possible.

"Exceeding limits and breaking out is achievable. Your people are paramount in this."

For further information, please contact Daniel Houck at

People Notion,, 888.799.4369
People Performance · Marketing Direction · Leadership Development

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