Do Not Market To Gen Y

As a member of Gen Y, I am pleading with brands around the world to not market to me.

Do not create a single video you think will go viral.

Do not think your brand "gets it" because you've got one million Facebook Likes or Twitter followers.

I've moved on to the next big thing.

We moved past MySpace, we're scrambling for invites as brands move towards Pandora and my friends vote for and then buy their T-shirts from Threadless.

I love that Thompson Hotels uses Instagram to not only post photos of their hotels on Facebook, but also photos of what's going on around their hotels. I don't stay at their hotels just for the room.

Entertain me. Make me laugh. But not in a fake way. I can see right through that. Look at what Snapple did on "30 Rock." Now that was funny.

We're the generation that made cool profitable. We buy our shoes from Tom's and glasses from Warby Parker. Helping others and helping ourselves don't have to be mutually exclusive.



My iPhone is never out of arm's reach. I don't think it's weird that I would check in on GetGlue to tell my friends that I just saw "Beginners," and I appreciate that a movie studio would reward me with a special sticker. We grew up with gold stars and think they're swell.

I love that AmEx rewards me for using Foursquare. I wanted to tell my friends what I just got anyway, now I saved a few bucks by doing so.

Give it a rest with the billboards and radio ads. I don't want a Big Mac -- I'm somewhat health conscious -- and I just buy my gas at the station closest to me when I need it. If I am looking to make a bigger purchase, I've likely already done my research online before I head to the store.

I'll decide what I need and when. You just have to keep me coming back.

I'm loyal to the brands I like and, while I'm interested in having a conversation, let's not pretend we're friends.

Just be cool and we'll be good.

7 comments about "Do Not Market To Gen Y ".
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  1. Christi Pemberton from GC Style Magazine, July 15, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.

    This article was not very helpful, and the tone sounded more like a kid having a hissy fit of "I hate this, I want that". Not all Generation Y'ers...and I know plenty, are like that.

    Since marketing is "bad", what do you we call "marketing" now? You don't want a Big Mac, but I know plenty of Gen Y'ers who don't like billboards, but it may take more than your "likes and dislikes" to take them all down or ban them from the marketing line up of tools to spread the word about a product.

    All marketing is to spread the word about what a company offers. So, if you don't like to be marketed to, then you don't like a company spreading the word about what they have..that you might like or not like. If they don't spread the word, then you don't know what they have.

    I am a younger Gen-X (35 years old) with a lot of Gen-Y'ers in my family and also those who I connect to as consumers. You mentioned your generation made cool profitable. My generation made it cool to go against what everyone thought was cool, which actually made that same thing cool and profitable (remember the grunge rock?). So I can relate a little.

    Generation Y'ers are not all the same, a lot of them still like Big Macs, still like Myspace, are fine with billboards, and don't mind marketing as long as it fun, clever, and is a product that they like....and offers a few freebies sometimes. What you are stating are some things that some Gen-Y'ers like and dislike, but they are the feelings of "a" group of Gen-Y'ers, which again are not same nor do they all walk in lock step.

  2. George Parker from Parker Consultants, July 15, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.

    You give me all that Gen Y "truthiness," then you ask me to "Like" it... As Merri put it so well... If you don't like being marketed to, why are you asking me to "Like" your hissy fir? Sounds like more bullshit to me.

  3. Patrick Evans from STA Travel, July 15, 2011 at 10:17 a.m.

    Thanks for reading Merri. I think you're spot on that the main takeaway is there isn't a specific one through five steps to market to our generation. We're aren't classifiable and the above article is based on key takeaways from several surveys of our generation to create a general profile.

    On average, our generation is more health conscious, we did move on from MySpace and millions of us check out Threadless. I think Tom's and Warby Parker, which give the less fortunate people shoes and glasses, is a little different than grunge rock.

    I'm not saying we don't like being marketed to, I gave several examples of marketing that does work - on average - with our generation. Relevant brand partnerships, branded stickers on GetGlue, product placement, cultural marketing, etc.

  4. Dena Becker from Prep Sportswear, July 15, 2011 at 11:07 a.m.

    Can we stop with the "don't market to Gen Y" nonsense. This article is full of brands that have a healthy marketing program (Apple, Tom's, Snapple, AmEx) and obviously Gen Yers didn't just find these brands and products on their own. They were marketed to! Maybe these brands aren't using traditional broadcast advertising, but it's marketing nonetheless. Every generation has it's nuances but as a marketer, our job is to evolve our tactics to best target that group.
    So please stop with mantra. I can't take it anymore.

  5. Kate Lafrance from Hartford Woman Online Magazine, July 15, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.

    Ah stop yelling at the kid. He is calling it as he sees it. He's still young - that's the point. BTW - anyone want to tell me why new commercials think it's so cool to have 25 year old "kids" worrying over their parents who are "so old" they are driving around with their "old" friends listening to the Cars??? When the heck did that happen? '80's people are now elderly? Led Zepplin for Cadillac was cool but to skip 15-20 years of music and use the Cars to market to "old" people is a reach ... just sayin' ...

  6. Jim Shanklin from Festival Transaction Services, Inc., July 15, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.

    Well, Patrick, let's be clear: you are speaking for all Gen Y'ers who blog for mediapost publications who have strong opinions about HOW to market to them who think they are each and all exceptional who like GetGlue, Tom's, Warby Parker and a select number of other effective marketers. Very helpful for us wanting to reach you as a microsegment of Gen Y.

    But speaking for all Gen Y'ers? Perhaps not.

  7. Kevin Horne from Lairig Marketing, July 17, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.

    "We're the generation that made cool profitable." I couldn't believe you made that claim, until i got to this: "We grew up with gold stars..."

    You can say that again.

    "I'll decide what I need and when." It has always been that way, Patrick. Seems like you don't understand the real role marketing really plays...

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