Marketing to Generation Y: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

There are so many lists of what to do to market to Generation Y. But how about what not to do as well? Here is a list of what to do and not to do when looking to market to Generation Y. This list was made using various resources as research and through my own experiences since I am a part of this generation as well.


Make a public effort to better your local economy

Studies show 40% of Gen Y will personally purchase local goods even if it costs more money. As a business it is important to purchase local goods or ingredients. It is understood that buying locally also reduces material transit time, which means reduced usage of fossil fuels and gas emissions.

Focus on ways to “go green”

The going green message has been furthered by efforts from Gen Y. We would much rather support a brand that stands for a good cause than one that just looks cool. Another study shows 62% of this generation prefer companies that try to reduce their carbon footprint.

Be customer service friendly

It is important to provide good authentic customer service. We don’t want to hear a scripted question that is said to every customer in order to maybe make a sale. Instead we crave valuable relationships and memorable interactions.

Create a product or service that we have to talk about

Create all message towards this demographic to be something of interest that we’ll have to share with each other. Ads that only promote the brand name will not gain many “likes” or “shares” if they don’t relate to our way of thinking. The most rewarding way to accomplish this is to create a video that is intriguing and goes viral. (i.e. First Kiss YouTube video by Wren)

Show personality

The personality of the company has to do with what it stands for and against. Companies that can make a strong stance against violence or bullying for example will gain our business and attention more than the store next door that does not publicize their standpoint. With all information at our fingertips with one quick search, we are able to verify these claims.  So make sure there is evidence to back them up.

Don’t Do:

Have ads, products or services that do not function properly on mobile devices

It is known that Generation Y is obsessed with using smartphones. (60% compulsively check phones) Studies show 48% of consumers who come across a website that does not work on a mobile device take that as a message that the brand does not care. So when we look up a brands website, it better function properly or it has lost all interest.

Underestimate us or our opinions

Generation Y is the largest generation yet, even bigger than the baby boomers. There are 1.8 billion of us across the globe. We are expected to exceed the earnings of the baby boomers within 4 years. Needless to say the spending power in this demographic is huge. Ensuring good standing with this demographic will sustain a successful business.

Use mainstream media

Unlike previous generations, Millennials do not trust mainstream media. We see it as paid viewpoints and opinions. The only trustworthy advertisements is through social media or peer reviews.

Neglect social media conversations

As stated before, Gen Y values having a relationship with a brand. Actively participating in the social media conversations produces brand trust and loyalty among Generation Y. We want to feel that we are being heard, that we have a say and are valued as a customer. Not being present in these conversations shows us the opposite, producing a negative feeling toward the brand.

Believe the stereotypes

There are many stereotypes that are not true when discussing the Generation Y. One of them that personally gets under my skin is the thought that we are lazy. Constantly using technology to work more efficiently is NOT lazy. We also are not motivated by money, instead we work hard as a result of passion. Another stereotype that has been thrown around is that because on average we don’t stay at a job for more than 2 years, we have a short attention span. Truth is when we leave a company it is to progress our career, not leave it.


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