The Global Generation

Written By:
Phil Goodman, President and CEO of Genergraphics; and Susan Negus, Ph.D.
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Generation-Y is the 72 million people born in the US from 1977 to 1994.  They are also called Gen Y or the Echo Boomers because they are (mostly) children of the Boomers, and almost “echo” the number of births of the Baby Boom generation of 76 million.

Generation-Y got their name because they came after Generation-X and Y follows X in the alphabet.  But don’t let this simplicity fool you.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the year 2015 they will be 34% of the population.  Size is of great importance when talking about marketing to generations, and Echo Boomers are one of the largest groups.  This generation is so large it is going to be critical that the marketer understand their mindset.  If you don’t understand them you will lose a lot of potential customers for your business now and in the future.  With Echo Boomers, it’s their way and their language, or you’ve lost them.  You don’t want to lose this large generation.

Echo Boomers were given great influence with the family.   They were reared by their parents to be seen, heard, and featured. These children took a front seat in everything and played a big part in decision making with the family.  Because of this they are used to getting things their way.  This strongly influences marketing, as these Boomer children now have strong buying influence.  They were brought up in a family group environment making decisions, so Echo Boomers group together unlike their independent Boomer parents.  Thus when marketing to them, you must appeal to them as a group in order to sell them something including health products.

The Role Of Technology

Technology has made this the first global generation.  The internet and social media allow this generation to interact with people all over the world – instantly.  YouTube, Twitter and Facebook give them instant access to see what their “friends” are doing anywhere in the world.  They therefore relate and blend in with other cultures better and are globally and culturally adaptable.  Echo Boomers can more easily move to other countries or cultures and feel comfortable because they are more used to communicating with people around the world.  Considering this, it’s no surprise that people of this generation from other countries adapt to the U.S. culture much more easily than prior generations.  This creates a significant change for marketers.  No longer do they need to separate different ethnic cultures and market to them separately.  This entire generation is adapting and blending into each other’s ethnic cultures.   

Remember, they are group oriented.  They live with a new way of communicating, using social media, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and texting (rather than talking).  They are texters and social media marketing fanatics.  Marketers need to talk their “tech” or they will never reach this large generation.  

Echo Boomers grew up with their smartphone and Internet as their source for news, information, music and entertainment.  Their way of communication is through these devices.  So it makes sense that a marketer must reach them on these devices.  Their sources of music, videos, communication are from their technology devices. 

They prefer texting as a way of communicating and stay in constant contact with friends and family with social media and mobile devices.  Remember, we said they operate in groups, but it doesn’t mean the group is necessarily with them.  Their group members can be anywhere.  Texting makes it easy for them to stay in touch at any time.  Also by using social media they can let more members of their group know what they are doing or find out what their friends are doing and buying. 

The Echo Boomer Mindset

Echo Boomers are highly adaptable to change and capable of processing information quickly.  Since they are constantly being exposed to great amounts of information they are used to absorbing and processing information quickly.  Since things are always changing, they too are used to changing and adapting to the new pieces of information that are quickly coming in.  In fact, they adapt to new situations quicker than any other generation.

Because they are used to a quick exchange of information and many things happening around them so quickly, they are excellent at multitasking.  They are so used to multi-tasking in their mindset that this is second nature to them.  They can be quite comfortable texting, talking and watching a movie at the same time.  They can be in a meeting texting and will still know what their boss is talking about.  It’s not that they aren’t paying attention – they are.  They are just able to process information quickly and at the same time they are doing something else.

How Your Company Can Reach Echo Boomers

You need to market and advertise to Echo Boomers with the mindset that they are very special.  They were always told how special they were when they were growing up and thus believe they are quite special.  As a result, they are highly confident and expect praise.  This attitude of feeling special began when they were in Little League and other things they participated in. It seemed like they would get a medal just for showing up and get lots of praise and recognition for it.  Not only did they get and expect a lot of praise, they need it.  This is a lesson for Human Resource managers and business managers; give Echo Boomers a lot of praise (if they deserve it). 

This generation finds institutions (of any kind) irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter what kind of corporation, institution or organization, they simply find it irrelevant.  Y’s think about what they want rather than what the company wants – thus the institution is irrelevant.  Gen-Y’s are confident in themselves and who they are so you’d better hold fast to their way.  It’s their way or the highway.   For human resource managers it means they can’t be threatened about their job or they’ll just leave.  Remember, they saw the corporate greed scandals of Enron and the likes and their parents’ lack of security from the companies they worked at. Because this generation is technology driven, it is probably no surprise that they do not respond to traditional marketing methods.  Any traditional methods (radio or print) must be backed up by electronic methods because that’s the communication method they use.   

Gen-Y (Echo Boomers) will soon be the largest working generation in history.  Because of technology, they are the first truly global generation.  They are group oriented, very adaptable and good at processing information quickly and multi-tasking.  They are very confident in themselves and they are who they are.  They won’t change so it is imperative for marketers to utilize the tech and social media methods that they understand and use.  When it comes to Gen-Y, a marketer needs to go with the flow and join them.

Too often they are mistaken as having a selfish personality.  It’s important to realize that their “what are you doing for me today” way is their mindset.  If you don’t understand them and market to them using their technology, you will not ever reach them.  The potential for buying health products is enormous for this generation.

About The Author:  As President and CEO of Genergraphics, Phil Goodman and his company believe that demographics are not as important as strategies based on the psychology of marketing. Having began his involvement in advertising and marketing in 1955, Goodman has become one of the foremost experts on the Baby Boom generation, considered to be the most active group of American consumers. In addition to forming the Western Media Corporation in 1974 and Generation Transitional Marketing in 1995, Phil has served as a consultant to countless television, radio, and print media companies, including Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Goodman is also the author of the book “Boomers: The Ageless Generation,” and look for his new book “Genergraphics: Sales and Marketing for the 21st Century,” being published by Hannover House in 2014.

Published by WholeFoods Magazine Online, 6/18/2014

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