“Don’t build a brand for Gen Y; build your brand WITH them.”

Last week I attended a webinar with the topic of Marketing to Gen Y hosted by TIG Global. Being a ‘Gen Y-er’, I recognize the importance of understanding Generation Y (1977-1995). As a whole they are one of the largest demographics (approximately 80 million people) and spend more than any other generation. This post provides a brief recap and you can also download the Mp3 here.

As I mentioned above Generation Y is one of the largest generations in history. We are spending more money than ever before. Our core value is “connectivity” – especially the more recent methods, i.e. THE INTERNET. We rely on word-of-mouth marketing when buying things – which is why we believe testimonials. This generation makes up 12% of leisure travelers and we typically stay in destinations longer. Therefore, marketers have begun following the mantra: “Don’t build a brand for Generation Y, but instead build a brand with them.”

So, in order to build a brand “with them” it’s key to be REAL – to have personality, be edgy, definitely unique, and of course digital. If your marketing team is always striving to be innovative– then you’re on the right track. Jump on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp and even mobile sites like FourSquare, Gowalla, MyTown, etc.

Having a presence of social media should be a two-way street. Instead of talking about yourself, engage consumers and followers by interacting with them by responding to posts and commenting. Try letting your fans upload photos to your fan page, which will create a greater sense of community or try creating your brand’s own customized tab on your fan page – giving your brand even more personality beyond the Facebook settings. Finally, put the ‘Like” button on your own website, a completely novel idea of Facebook.  Simply stated by putting the “Like” button on your web page, it enables users to make a connection to your website’s links and share this with their friends on Facebook – all in one click. Check out the overview of this “social plugin” here. Also, see this great explanation on HotelMarketing.com of how you as a resort or hotel can leverage the “Like” button to your advantage.

Twitter on the other hand, the micro-blog allows businesses to connect very quickly to users. Here are a few ideas to ENGAGE your customers:

  • promote current events
  • local attractions
  • promotions your property offering
  • contests
  • industry news
  • local history and facts
  • Philanthropic events
  • discount codes
  • cross promotions with other platforms like YouTube or any mobile application.

Listen to the discussion. It’s a great way to keep your marketing team on its toes – giving you great ideas and lots of valuable information on how to market to Generation Y. Pay attention to their discussion on the QR codes – which are sure to be “the next big thing.”

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