Friday, April 07, 2006

Millenials In The New Millenium

How To Use Generation Y Against Themselves
By Stephanie Carino

A growing number of postings have been surfacing on Craigslist recently, regarding the need for individuals to participate in focus groups as companies are realizing more and more how much importance can be put on a general consumer’s opinion. Who better to know what a consumer wants than the consumers themselves? There are certain tactics that seem to work better than others as far as getting Generation Y consumers to buy into products.

The era of advertising is losing its’ battle with the buying group of Generation Y. With all the images that young individuals are exposed to everyday, and the lack of their attention span due to their exposure of our now visual society, it is no wonder that traditional advertising does not get any attention. I

n recent times, public relations firms have been credited for successful launches of new products due to the build-up of credibility, using tactics such as, product placement in movies and television and celebrity endorsement. In order to listen to these messages, they need to be subliminally placed so the consumers think it was their idea to buy the products in the first place.

Generation Y is an army of multitaskers, talking on their cell phones while they instant message their friends about what they are watching on television, as they are commenting on their best friend’s MySpace wall online, and listening to the songs they just downloaded from I-Tunes. If a company tunes into these outlets that are used most frequently, then their message will be heard. Otherwise companies’ messages are falling on deaf ears.

Time Warner’s magazine targeted to early ‘tweens to teens, Teen People, was on to this trend early on and started a group called the Teen People Trendspotters almost nine years ago when the magazine premiered. The trendspotters target that elite group of individuals who have an impact on others’ buying patterns around them using the best advertising -- word of mouth.

The organization constantly polls the trendspotters to see what they think about certain topics, and asks what they think of certain products and news in the media world. The company also uses a monthly email called LiveWire to highlight certain products or events that they think these teens will enjoy. If the teens take notice of any of these items, they tell their friends and the word spreads like wildfire. Other magazines and outlets soon followed suit with this idea.

Another appropriate tactic that companies are using now to reach their target demographic of Generation Y, the largest buying entity, is placing products where they know these individuals will be. For example, magazines, such as Teen People, have in the past teamed up with radio stations, such as top 40 station, Z100, for their semi-annual concerts, hosting free pre-events.

These events include different vendor tables offering chances for free tickets if consumers give in their information, free products, contests, among other aspects. The concertgoers will have these free products and samples, try them out, and if it turns out they enjoy the product, again, the word will spread. Since the consumers stand behind their favorite radio station, and their favorite publication, chances are they will buy into the companies that are intertwined in the event assuming that the radio station and publication are behind the products at the event.

The thing is, Generation Y knows what they want. They know that they want the new Cingular hot pink Razor cell phone with the I-Tunes included, the one-ounce Vivitar Vivicam 3301 digital camera, and the new MacBook Pro from Apple. However, they still need someone to tell them they want it.

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