During the 80s and 90s, youth marketing was simple. Radio and television were a big part of teen’s lives; and to reach them advertisers just had to find creative ways to interrupt popular TV shows or the top 40 hits on the radio. Today, research shows that Generation Y, 8- to 23-year-olds, are much less accepting of traditional marketing methods, proving to be more skeptical and difficult to reach than any other generation before them.
The key, however, to capturing and holding the attention of Gen Yers is by taking an integrated approach by blending compelling content and creative storytelling with traditional, new and social media across all channels. In addition, you must also understand who they are and what’s important to them. As challenging as this may sound, it is possible.
We know that Gen Yers like the internet, and because of it, today’s teens are savvier than their predecessors. We know that they like to be talked to and not talked at; and they are more likely to get involved in the conversation through social networking sites. Most importantly, we know that they like to be heard and they like to share information that they believe is important to them and their peers. The challenge is figuring out how, when and where.
In 2003, MySpace was the popular teen scene. From 2005 until early 2008, MySpace was the most visited social networking site in the world. But soon after, MySpace was replaced by Facebook. Now, according to the Global Social Media Impact Study, Facebook has faded in importance for most teens, because Facebook is where their parents and teachers are. Then there was Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Exhausted yet?
So the question remains: how do you reach what seems to be the most fickle generation in history? It’s still relatively simple: get up and out of your office and go interact with them. After all, they may act like aliens; but they are still right here on earth. In other words, attracting loyal youth brand ambassadors means speaking their language on their own turf. To do this, you must first speak to them.