Last time I wrote about this subject, I talked about boomers and Xers—people in the age group of late 30s to 60s. I tried to explain their values, their needs, and the ways to market to them. In this post I will focus on the two younger generations: Y and Z.
Generation Y: Members of the “Why Generation” were born between 1977 and 1994. They are the children of Baby Boomers. They grew up in an era of significant changes; women joined the work force and dual income households became standard, computers were widely used in homes and schools, cultural diversity and social responsibility became highly respected. The world the Yers know is one that is characterized by a fast-paced, always-connected technological world where anything is possible. Therefore, they are self-reliant and self-absorbed. They are open-minded, goal oriented, and motivated to succeed. Their need to fit in and be accepted by their peers is translated into their extensive acceptance of social networks. They are also fast learners and like to be exposed to new concepts. Gen Y members are looking to buy from businesses with a greater purpose then just the bottom line and therefore are open to green living and energy efficiency in the products they buy. As far as marketing goes, they are all about the experience. As shopping lovers, they are looking to purchase prestige items that will not only provide them with enjoyment but also increase their value in the eyes of their surroundings. As change lovers, they are always looking for the next best thing, which means businesses need to constantly innovate their products to win Yers over again and again.
Generation Z: Tweens were born after 1994. As the newest generation, they experienced all the hardships of the current period: global terrorism, economic uncertainty, and the mortgage crisis have all been a part of their lives. They did not live in a time without Internet, so they are accustomed to high-tech and multiple information sources. They value authenticity and realness. They look for peer acceptance and aspire to belong. They are also imaginative, much more so than any other generation. Cyberspace and its agility have shortened their attention span and shaped their cognition to be more visually oriented. The main way to communicate with teenagers remains television, but social networks are gaining momentum as another relevant channel. Interactive sites that require less attention and offer high stimuli and customization are also effective with this generation. Last but not least, SMS campaigns are also very effective with Gen Z, since it is their preferred means of communication.
Even though each generation is composed by individuals with different backgrounds, wants and needs, their shared history merges them into one somewhat homogeneous group that can be understood, analyzed and marketed to.