A great piece of new research on Gen Y woman was released by PopSugar Media (www.popsugar.com). The two-tier study revealed that Generation Y women are the most influential age group when it comes to defining trends in popular culture. Gen Y women, in turn, are discovering new brands and getting most of their style inspiration and product recommendations from blogs and social media.
This report examines the Gen Y women’s sphere of influence of lifestyle trends, how technology and social media help them expand their sphere of influence, and how marketers can target and communicate with this group.
The survey uncovered some critical Dos and Don’ts when Marketing to Gen Y Women:
- Do realize context matters. Gen Y women aren’t likely to click on your ad, but they are influenced by advertising nonetheless. The context they encounter an ad in largely determines their trust in a brand. Trust in a site translates into trust in an advertiser’s brand, particularly for brands they’re less familiar with.
- Do be honest. For this generation, transparency is a form of currency. Gen Y women are increasingly comfortable broadcasting their lives on the Internet. This is also a generation that’s come of age the same time that reality TV, confessional memoirs, and personal blogs have become commonplace. They’ve become accustomed to a heightened level of transparency among their peers; they now expect it from brands.
- Do engage in dialogue with your audience or customers. While it is somewhat trite to call online marketing a conversation, marketers ignore that fact at their own risk. Smart marketers monitor the conversation, respond directly to tweets that mention them, and allow their customers to converse with each other. Gen Y women have already redefined authenticity, basing it on the opinions of their online peers. For marketers to connect with Gen Y women, they need to connect with their peers, rather than privileged experts, such as celebrity endorsements or third-party seals of approval. Additionally, Gen Y women respond favorably to being treated like a VIP. Engaging them in dialogue (through Twitter, contests, or competitions) helps them feel a more personal connection to a brand.
- Do integrate your media across multiple channels. Gen Y women are multimodal. They move between the Web and their mobile phones with ease, and, unlike Gen Y men (who have all but abandoned TV), they still watch television. Marketers need to be consistent in their communication across multiple platforms, since there are manifold opportunities to connect with consumers.
- Don’t get too comfortable. When it comes to their social networking sites, Gen Y have proven themselves to be fickle. They’ve already moved from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook. Smart marketers need to monitor where Gen Y women are moving toward online, and react accordingly when the next network hits.
- Don’t ignore Twitter. While there has been media coverage lately claiming Gen Y is less devoted to Twitter than their older cohorts, Gen Y women are using it differently than other generations. They understand it is a promotional platform and subscribe to the feeds of brands that provide “exclusive” info—new products, new information, links to coupons, and deals only offered to followers.
- Don’t dominate the conversation. While marketing to Gen Y women is a multidirectional dialogue, marketers need to be wary of dominating the conversation. This is a generation that expects to be heard. In focus groups, many of the participants claimed that the quickest way to get them to unsubscribe, unfollow, or unfriend a brand’s communication is to bombard them. While Gen Y women want to connect with their favorite brands, marketers need to toe the line between relevant info and spam.
- Don’t underestimate the marketing savvy of Gen Y women. Gen Y women, perhaps more than previous generations, understand the value of their personal information and attention. If marketers expect Gen Y women to share their preferences, ideas, and attention with them, they need to offer quid pro quo to those consumers. While it may take the form of discounts on products or access to exclusive products or deals, it might also take the form of recognition for contributions—using a customer-submitted photo or video in advertising or featuring customer-submitted ideas on an official blog or website.
After reading through the entire study, there are a number of critical findings.
- Gen X woman are watching Gen Y ladies
- Viewing a banner ad (not clicking-through) can be enough to build brand credibility.
- It's all about them and how cool, smart and new your product can make them.
- Personalization is the price of entry.
- A social strategy is not your 30 sec spot on Facebook or YouTube
- Be portable to their mobile phones.
- Context is king.
- Recognize their contributions to your brand and you expect future purchases.