Advertising to Generation Y & Why You Need Social Skills to Get Their Attention

This generation, also called Millennials, is sometimes referred to as the Boomerang Generation or Peter Pan Generation because they’re known to delay the rites of passage into adulthood longer than most generations before them. Because of this they tend to live with their parents for longer than recent generations.

This penchant to stay at home is primarily due to economic crises, including the dot-com bubble in 2000, and the United States housing bubble that led to the current financial crisis. But members of Gen Y are also delaying the transition from childhood to adulthood as a response to mistakes made by their parents and are reluctant to rush into a situation – i.e., marriage, career – that they fear will make them unhappy. They believe in living first, working second; and they won’t work a job that doesn’t give them a sense of joy.

Other characteristics of Gen Yers include:

They are a “be anything, do anything” market because this is how they were raised: to believe they could do and be anything they wanted. Their parents have made their lives easy.

They’re also the most optimistic age group and believe miracles are possible.

They care about the earth, and don’t waste time on people or companies that aren’t being real with them because they know reality when they see it. Because of this, a company cannot hope to capture their attention until you come to value their perspective on life, and their concern about the earth and community.

Gen Y, like other generations, has been shaped by the events, leaders, developments and trends of its time. Most importantly, the rise of instant communication technologies made possible through use of the internet, such as email, texting, and IM and new media used through websites like YouTube and social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, has made Gen Yers more peer-oriented.

As the most socially oriented generation, they tend to get their info from one another. Understanding that their world revolves around friends and online social media will help in advertising to this market. Because, unless your company has been endorsed by a group of friends on social media sites, the Gen Yer’s typically won’t buy from you. Getting peer buy-in is a must when targeting this age group. Their life motto is “If the whole group is doing it we will to, if not then we will pass you by.”