Generation Y Guy

We get a lot of mail. My two daughters, ages thirteen and sixteen, chorused ‘Anything for me?’ I thumbed through the stack, determined that they both had received letters with coupons from their favorite clothing retailer, and passed the envelopes to the backseat, where they were ripped open.

That’s how Kenneth W. Gronbach, author of The Age Curve, describes a typical run by the mailbox in his household.

Then begins the drill: ‘Dad, can you take us to Bob’s?’ This is not a real question, because they know I’m trapped. How else will we save all the money reflected in the coupons? I am very familiar with the process because the retailer keeps these snail-mail incentives coming with train-schedule regularity.

Gronbach goes how direct mail is extremely effective for reaching Gen Y, as shown by his daughters love for mail, But he also says that direct mail is often underutilized by marketers (if at all).

Being at the front edge of the Gen Y generation, I’ve found my that experiences echo Kenneth’s analysis.

I have a love for mail. I’ve learned that a lot of cool stuff can come in the mail: presents, catalogs, magazines, cards, notes, and stuff purchased online. But most of the direct mail that I receive is clearly targeted at someone twice my age. It’s very rare that I receive something in the mail from a brand, permission-based or not.

Why do marketers shy away from sending direct mail to Gen Yers?

If they have the ability to reach their consumers online, then that is a much more cost-efficient method of communication than direct mail, but I think there is a bigger reason. Being that direct mail is one of the oldest forms of marketing, I think marketers just lump into the TV and radio pile and say it doesn’t work with Gen Y.

Big mistake. This shortsightedness eliminates some big opportunities to connect online efforts with the offline world.

Don’t forget the physical experience.

Yes to connect with Gen Y you have to go digital. But don’t forget to give your brand an advantage by adding an offline physical touchpoint/experience.



Fast Facts about Gen Y (From The Age Curve)

  • They will be 100 million strong by 2010–the first twenty-five-year generation in over a hundred years.
  • Gen Y contains a huge second-generation Latino contingent, especially on the young end.
  • They are consuming at five times the rate of their Boomer parents in adjusted dollars.
  • Gen Y will have large numbers of unemployed, and because of that, crime will spike.
  • Because of their sheer numbers in the high-risk age demographic, sexually transmitted diseases will spike, as will teen pregnancies.
  • Gen Y will have a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit because of overwhelming unemployment.
  • Gen Y will have a disproportionately high number of skilled technicians because of the huge demand and big salaries.
  • They will own homes at a very young age because of high-paying tech jobs, successful businesses, and help from Boomer parents.
  • Gen Y will embrace everything green. Green will be the legacy and calling card of Gen Y.