Villing & Company

Why Gen Y? Attracting Them, Speaking Their Language, Telling It Like It Is

Due to the type of clients I currently have, I find myself completely immersed in the happenings of the financial industry. A major topic of discussion these days, besides the economic crisis, is attracting Generation Y. And I know the financial industry is not the only industry trying to figure this out.

Gen Y (born between the early 1980s and 2000) is the largest U.S. generation since the Baby Boomers. They will earn $3.4 trillion in income and will represent 28 percent of the U.S. population by 2018. Although they may not be the customers that make you the most money right now, they do spend over $200 billion annually. And, if you do wait until they are more profitable, you may find that the Gen Y train has left the station. They will have already established relationships with other companies and it will either cost you more to get them or you won’t get them at all.

Most Gen Y-ers have never known a world without video games and computers. They are extremely tech-savvy and have very different expectations than any other generation before them. Following are a few of their preferences:

  • Efficiency – This generation is on the go and extreme multi-taskers. They appreciate fast, efficient service and want results NOW.
  • Customized, Targeted and Tailored – Products and services that are “one size fits all” and generic do not appeal to this generation = focus on opportunities and dreams.
  • Tell It Like It Is – They do not respond well to corporate jargon. They prefer brutal honesty, the truth and authenticity – as well as an authentic experience. This generation has seen it all. They know real when they see it, and it takes them all of three seconds to pass that judgment.
  • Doing things because they make sense – They do not react positively to statements like “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “because I said so.” Generation Y grew up questioning their parents and will continue this behavior by questioning the companies they work with as well as the products and services they use.

According to Bea Fields, a Generation Y expert and President of Bea Fields Companies, Inc., Gen Y considers four areas before purchasing a product or service:

  1. Cheap cost
  2. Good quality
  3. Fast service
  4. An “experience”

Marketers who have been successful marketing to this generations, such as Apple, Mountain Dew and Red Bull to name a few, have first listened to Gen Y, respected them and then provided them with a great brand experience.

For those of you whose products and services may not lend themselves to Gen Y, stay tuned for future blog posts on attracting Gen X and the Baby Boomers. Subscribe to our RSS feed and you will receive these posts automatically.

Filed Under: advertising

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