Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Generation Who?

You’ve heard of the Traditionalists (1992-1945), the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Generation Y (1981-1995), but now Generation Z is entering the our markets. So who are these Gen Zers?

According to Wikipedia, Gen Zers are the individuals born between the mid-1990s through the early 2000s. Gen Zers follow Generation Y and are typically the children of the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Another name for this Generation is the New Silent or Homeland Generation.

Gen Z, like Generation Y, is viewed as being highly connected by having multiple ways of communication through different media resources. For example, these individuals tend to use the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging, DVD’s, YouTube, and cellular phones to connect personally and professionally. Though we thought Generation Y was the most technologically advanced group, it has been said that Gen Z will be the most technologically advanced group among the other generations.

Gen Zers have grown up in a world with relatively widespread gender equality at work and in the home, as well as in a two-income home. Gen Zers are seen as needing structured activities. However, it is predicted Gen Z will develop strong social conscience and work ethic as they grow older.

It is important for marketers to understand the characteristics and behaviors of this new generation because these individuals have or will start making their own purchasing decisions to fit their needs and desires. Therefore, it is important for businesses and organizations to properly target Gen Z along with the other generations within the business’s marketing mix.

What is a marketing mix? A marketing mix has four different categories: product, price, place, and promotion (the Four Ps). When a product is being considered for marketing, characteristics like the brand, packaging, styling, functionality, warranty, and accessories help the business determine who they will be targeting. For instance; a feminine product may be packaged in pink, whereas a masculine product may be packaged black or blue.

The price decisions are encountered when the business determines the pricing strategy, whether to offer bulk discounts, bundling, price flexibility, and a suggested retail price. When marketing the pricing structure to Gen Zers, the business should understand tha Gen Zers are not very price sensitive. They appear not to care how much things cost unlike the Traditionalists or Baby Boomers.

When considering the place or distribution of a product, businesses have different avenues to choose from in order to get their product out to the customers. For instance, warehousing, distribution centers, transportation, ordering processes, and inventory management are a few items that are included in the marketing mix for the distribution of products. If marketers choose to market to Gen Zers, they will find it most beneficial to market and advertise their products online and offer a one stop shopping experience for this generation.

Lastly, promotion is the marketing communication a businesses use to get the word out about their products. This includes advertising, sales promotions, personal selling and the marketing communication budget. Of the Four Ps, businesses would need to focus mainly on promotion in order to earn the business and loyalty of Gen Zers. The main point of interest would be to advertise online on websites and social networks Gen Zers frequently visit.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gen Y and Social Networks

Gen Y and Social Networks

I was introduced to MySpace my first year in college, 2004. As we walked to class one fall morning, my sister explained to me that she had her own “MySpace”. Thinking to myself, I had no idea what this “MySpace” was or that it even existed. She later showed me this “MySpace” thing. I was thoroughly amazed at the entire idea of being connected to friends and family. Even though it took nearly two years for my sister to convince me to join this social network, I have found this site useful and valuable in my everyday life.

Generation Y (Gen Y), or better known as the Millennials, are the most technologically advanced age group capable of learning how to use new gadgets and gismos as they are introduced. They have been influenced in many ways to communicate via the internet, iphones, email and television. The boom for Gen Y has been joining and using social networks in the past few years. According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, Gen Y makes up 30% of all internet users. Because of this, Gen Y is dominating most of the internet activities – instant messaging, social networking, gaming and blogging – whereas the older generations still prefer emailing.

Unlike their older counterparts, Gen Y is actively seeking entertainment online, such as videos, games, music, and virtual worlds. Nearly 78% of Gen Y’s online activities include playing games and emailing. However, the majority of Gen Y are using social networks to communicate and to keep friends and family updated about their everyday lives. The most popular social networks include Facebook, Myspace, Craigslist, Twitter, Cyworld, and Friendster. If you are a marketer, following social networks will help you connect with Gen Y in new and exciting ways.

Marketers may know that Gen Y doesn’t watch television or MTV anymore; therefore, marketing to them on television is not going to be effective. Gen Y is more about reading blogs, playing games and being connected online. Marketers need to engage in the activities and behaviors of Gen Y to effectively market to this internet savvy group. One way marketers can better understand the interests and values of Gen Y are through social networks. So, what are these social networks all about?

According to Wikipedia, a social network focuses on building online communities for people to share interests and activities, and for those who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. A social network helps engage individuals in new forms of communication on the internet. People can add friends, send messages, update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves and build new relationships among the other users in the networks.

Think of a marketer’s role… they are driven to increase sales, need an excellent customer chain, and need a great amount of product and service exposure. Marketers who use social networks are given the opportunity to learn about people and have the ability to promote their products to different target markets. They can read your profiles to better understand what you like, who you know, what you support, what activities you participate in and much more. Because of this, social networks are an excellent way to find people who may be using your products or to find new people who may be interested in using your merchandise. Once marketers build their relationships with Gen Y, Gen Y is more likely to refer a friend through word of mouth or by sending a bulletin or posting information to all their friends through a social network. In turn, social networks help a marketer increase their customer base and potentially increasing their overall sales.

Advertising on social networks is rapidly growing. Because Gen Y is the main social network user, a marketer can directly target their products. Along with this advertising, several benefits are also present when advertising on these social networks; lower costs, a wider audience, credibility and trust. Lower costs exist when the marketer prescreens the potential consumers within the targeted social network. This will help the marketer to properly aim their ads at the correct audience or audiences. To post an ad for everyone to view and is assumed to fit everyone, will not work for social network advertising. When a marketer includes an advertisement on a social network, their ads could often times be construed as spam or unwanted advertisements. It is important for the marketer to spend time targeting the intended segments so the advertisements reach individuals interested in those specific products.

The following is a useful list provided by to help users of social networks to manage the noise and keep the services from intruding on the users work and privacy.

- Set your profile to Private.
- Put an end to friends who post embarrassing pictures and blogs about weekend activities. - Tell your friends not to put “tags” on their photos or blogs.
- Monitor openly accessible social networks you’re involved in.
- Contact the Web site itself if something is beyond your control.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marketing Online? Identify Your Target Market…

Marketing online can be difficult and time consuming if you are not marketing to the correct audience. Identifying the target market can help your company find opportunities and ways to market to a specific market online. The target market provides information needed to focus on the consumers who may be interested in your products. Once your target market is identified, you can save time and money in these rough economic times. defines a target market as “A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services.” These specific groups are the individuals you want to buy your products. The target market can be divided into segments that include demographics, income levels, age, etc.

To further categorize your target market, you should understand the differences among the four generations; Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Each generation have different needs, wants, and desires.

Born between 1922-1945

Traditionalists are also known as Veterans, the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation. This generation possesses nearly seventy-five percent of the American wealth and contains executive leaders from some of the most established and leading companies in the US. This group not only survived the Great Depression of the 1930s but shaped the US economic and military power.

The Traditionalists are viewed as being rational thinkers when it comes to spending money. When extra money exists, most would prefer to pay bills or spend the money on children or grandchildren. You’ll most likely see people from this generation taking their time on a purchase and thinking the purchase over. They are seen as being very frugal with their money.

Baby Boomers:
Born between 1946-1964

There are about 75 million Baby Boomers in the US, which represents about twenty-nine percent of the US population. This generation is the largest generation among the four. The Baby Boomers signify the boom of births after WWII soldiers returned home.

Unlike the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers have a different view on money. They are known to spend most of their money on health and wellness, improving their appearance, and purchasing items of the highest quality that they can afford. Baby Boomers think cost effectively and require high levels of services when making a large purchase. This generation is viewed as the most “savvy” generation among the other three.

Generation X:
Born between 1965-1980

Generation X grew up in an era of political stupidity and emerging technology. This generation included the Watergate scandal and other political fiascos that were brought to light by the media. Also, handheld calculators replaced heavy adding machines and computers were now offered as desktop appliances, unlike computers from the Traditionalists that were the size of whole buildings and whole rooms for the Baby Boomers.

Generation Xers look to peer influence, value and convenience when making a purchasing decision. Generation Xers are also brand loyal, meaning they purchase items of a particular brand repeatedly because of product satisfaction. They prefer to purchase more organic foods and environmental friendly products.

Generation Y:
Born between 1981- Present

Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, have grown up in an era of technology. They have always known cable television, cellular phones, pagers, voicemail, laptop computers and video games. Technological advancements in media and communication drive their expectations for convenience.

These young shoppers look for fashionable clothing, trends, and purchase items for entertainment value, such as the iPod. Their purchasing behaviors are very impulsive, and depend on friend recommendations and written reviews.

The following are a few questions you should ask yourself when identifying the target market:

- Are your target customers male or female?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live? Is geography a limiting factor?
- How much money do your customers make?
- What other aspects of the customers’ lives matter? Do they prefer luxury items?

In order to market effectively to a generation, you must find ways to grab your target markets attention by using a message that relates with them. The lifestyles and social values of the different generations influence their purchasing power. These can be determined by understanding factors like income, education, gender and much more. To be efficient in your online marketing, you must understand the motivations of your target market with the underlying values of their generation. You can then design your online advertisement to match and communicate to the needs and desires of your targeted generation.