Why you need to start paying attention to Gen Y

by | Mar 13, 2014 | Market Research

Gen Y who?

There’s a running joke doing the rounds that the people who make up Gen Y are delusional yuppies who do nothing more than waste time and space inflating their egos.

The argument goes something like this: They have an overwhelming sense of self importance and they are very ineffectual in holding down steady careers without an instant payoff. They say a lot and do very little etc. etc.

Let’s look at the facts though

Generation Y’s are finding their way into the workforce despite their reputation, and they’re also walking away with salaries to spend and save.

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of Gen Y’s (source). But you don’t really need stats to prove that people age, and retire – but your brand shouldn’t.

Pretty soon, Gen Y will be the bulk of your customer base, they will be considering everything from cars to investment products, and your brand will be on a list of seemingly endless options.

Understanding a Gen Y

The generation y consumer isn’t driven by the same triggers that their predecessors were and they may not even be swayed by your prestigious brand heritage.

They are naturally distrustful of marketing promises and advertising, and they will extensively research your brand online and through word of mouth before even attempting to make contact.

There are also some pretty important things a Gen Y will bring to your attention very quickly:

  • “You don’t know me” – So don’t make assumptions and structure products around them.
  • “Don’t tell me what to do” – They are savvy consumers, they’ll make their own minds up.
  • “Don’t hold my hand” – They don’t want you to do it for them, instead help them do it.

The three keys to your Gen Y strategy

It’s all about personalisation, customisation and in many instances collaboration with your Gen Y consumers.

1. Don’t sell them a dream, they already have one

Gen Y’s are highly individual people, driven more by inward inspiration than they are by shared goals and values.

In the past brands have received almost cult like followings because people felt they needed them to exist. But the Gen Y doesn’t need to be defined by a brand, they need usefulness and support from one.

Coca-Cola, one of the most influential brands of all time, can confirm this with their share a coke campaign, stating on their website “We’re swapping our name for yours!”

2. Start enabling your consumers

Whether it’s about paying attention to your self service offerings, or the level of customisation that your current product structure allows – you need to take a critical look at your level of flexibility.

The needs and wants of Gen Y consumers are always fluctuating and you need to keep up with their pace.

While brands like Starbucks have embraced this trend for years, it’s been viewed as something that only applies to certain industries.

But the Gen Y’s are here to tell you that they will be looking for customisation in everything from their phones and computers, to their cars, and even the way they do banking.

3. Include your consumer’s in everything

Gen Y’s don’t expect brands to be perfect, in fact they find seemingly flawless brand promises annoying.

What they do appreciate is communication. They want to be acknowledged and understood not just when they get on board, but throughout their relationship with a brand.

The best part is that Gen Y’s don’t just want to complain, they are brimming with ideas and solutions for your business.

They want to have an influential stake in a brand that is always trying to meet their needs, and constantly including them in the evolution of their company.

So ask their opinion, ask it often, and actually listen.

In the end…

Gen Y’s are not a threat to the future of your business, instead, they are the next step in your brand’s evolution.

If you don’t agree with us, then don’t just lie down and accept it. Leave a comment, debate, as long as you have your say – that’s Gen Y behaviour right there.


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