Generation Y: Who they are, and why marketers should care (Part 2)

Posted on June 27, 2014 Articles

Generation Y, also known as Millenials (those who have come of age since 2000) have taken the online markets by storm, possibly leaving some digital marketers in the dust. Previously, we talked about the whopping $1.3 trillion Millenial consumers spend annually and their preference for social media outlets and friend recommendations. But there’s more to marketing to Gen Y than posting a funny picture on Facebook or garnering shares of interest-based articles.

Timeliness in advertising
According to Business News Daily, “One of the most important things a brand can do to appeal to Gen Y is to provide timely, relevant information about its products and services. It’s important to remain conscious and aware of what’s going on, especially on social media, so you can catch these consumers right as something is happening.”

Oreo’s big win
A large-scale example of this occurred after Super Bowl XLVII’s third quarter blackout when Oreo released a very timely Twitter ad. writer Angela Watercutter recounted, “When a power outage at the Superdome caused some of the lights to go out for 34 minutes, the sandwich cookie’s social media team jumped on the cultural moment, tweeting an ad that read ‘Power out? No problem’ with a starkly-lit image of a solitary Oreo and the caption, ‘You can still dunk in the dark.’” Almost immediately, the ad was retweeted and liked tens of thousands of times. Digg later posted the ad on Tumblr with the comment, “Oreo won the Super Bowl blackout.”

The importance of timeliness with Gen Y consumers was also explained by Barry Lapides, a commercial real estate attorney, who said, “Millenials have come to expect connectivity and instantaneousness in where they live, work, and play. . . . Brands need to be timely with information and consistent with message coming through different spectrums.” Which means keeping your website, Facebook, Twitter, and other online accounts up to date is highly important.

Creativity as a marketing tool
Another aspect of marketing to Gen Y is creativity. Trying out a marketing technique because you’ve seen it used by hundreds of other businesses isn’t going to be in your best interest. If you’ve seen that tactic used countless times, so have your consumers.

James Marshall Reilly, founder mentioned previously as the founder and CEO of The Guild Agency (a speakers bureau and talent management firm), mentioned the example of a book launch campaign where his company “projected giant-sized ‘The Rise of Superman’ graphics on the sides of buildings and bridges around NYC. In many cases people didn’t even know that they were tweeting or talking aobut a book. They simply saw an image and an interesting tagline, which was enough to pique interest.” This concept targeted both important aspects of Gen Y: timeliness and creativity.

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