Generation Y is already revolutionizing the way that businesses market themselves. This generation, roughly defined as being made up of people born between 1977 and 2002, consists of over 70 million people and is also known as the Echo Boom or as the Millennial Generation. Almost as large as the Baby Boom generation, Gen Y promises to completely change local marketing.
The Bad News
Generation Y makes decisions differently from the generations that come before it. They have grown up with an ever-present Internet connection and use it constantly. Gen Y customers will form opinions of your business before you ever get to speak to them. They will also have access to your competitor’s pricing, making it harder for you to charge higher prices. Like Generation X but to a higher extent, members of Gen Y can be disloyal and extremely me-focused.
The Good News
Quite possibly the best thing about Generation Y is that it is so large. As they continue to enter the market place and move into their prime spending years, the amount of opportunity in the market will significantly expand, creating an opportunity for you to make more money than ever. Generation Y’s connectedness leaves them open to businesses that do a good job connected with them, and those connections can have the same customer retention effect as traditional loyalty.
What To Do
Businesses looking to tap into the Millennial Generation need to repurpose their local marketing expenditures and activities. Many of the new marketing that you will be doing will be an addition to what you are already doing to attract Generation X and the Baby Boom generation, meaning that you will be drawing new customers without alienating existing ones. Here are some strategies that you can implement immediately.
Remember that internet marketing is local marketing. Today’s customers, especially Generation Y’ers, use the Internet in the way that past customers used yellow pages, local newspapers and recommendations from neighbors. However, your internet marketing activities should be tied to your neighborhood or city to ensure that you focus on local customers.
Take a careful look at your traditional marketing budget. Yellow pages and newspaper advertising are prime areas to trim as customers of all age cohorts stop reading and using these types of media. You can then use the savings to pay for your other marketing activities.
Engage in an ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) campaign to get as much “free” advertising through search placement as possible. Maintaining an active blog, implementing link building strategies and ensuring that you continually target appropriate keywords are all great ideas that are becoming even more valuable with the increasing role of Gen Y in in the economy.
Spend quality time with Generation Y on their social networks. Building a Facebook, Twitter and other social network presence will let you keep connected customers up to date on what you are doing. More than an opportunity to share marketing pieces, it also lets them feel like a part of the team. This collaborative and honest communication will largely exclusively draw Generation Y and should not significantly impact your marketing to older customers.
In some ways, Generation Y’s unique characteristics make local marketing less local. Even so, meeting these new people on their turf will assure your ability to bring them into your business and make them your customers.
This guest post was written by independent journalist Joe R. Powell who frequently blogs about SEO and inbound marketing.