Age, a number that defines the years you have been alive since that spectacular day your mother gave birth to you and you instantly became; the wonder child, the little prince or princess, the apple of your parents eyes. Webster defines age as: The time of life when a person does something or becomes legally able to do something.
Age depicts us is in so many ways – for instance the term; coming of age, a phase that occurs in the teenage years, usually explained as the verge of entering into young adulthood. Then there is age and love. Two people who may be 10, 15 or 20 years apart, which these days is not necessarily considered as an issue anymore, still many people evaluate their position thoroughly in the beginning of a relationship, should there be a large age gap. The importance of our age is indeed a factor that seems to be highlighted again and again throughout our lives. People, and even society expect, judge and apply the knowledge of our age in multiple situations that the question; Is age really just a number, seems to be more relevant than ever before.
When it comes to marketing, the answer is clearly no; age is not simply a number. Your age is interesting to a marketer for a number of reasons. To be able to obtain information about the situation of the world in connection with the year you were born, as well as the following years where you were a rebellious teenager, a struggling young adult, all the way to your present life is priceless to a marketer. Age demographics gives the observer an insight that allows experts to paint a clear picture of your generations world view, values and behavior. It is no surprise that our personal childhood experiences mold us all the way to adulthood, but so do our surroundings and the state of the world when we grew up. This post will introduce you, and hopefully give you a better understanding of two of the most sought after generations in marketing today; generation Y and Z.
Generation Y consists of individuals born between the 1980s and early 2000s, they are popularly referred to as the Millenials. People of this generation are generally considered to be materialistic and self-absorbent. Whether this is to do with the fact that many of these individuals were born in the era of the yuppie is unclear. I guess it would not seem to be surprising, if a child of a Young Urban Professional should develop a taste for status and wealth if it was these very same values he or she was brought up on, but of course we are considering a whole generation here, so there are many other traits that characterize this specific generation. One of these traits, which does apply for this generation as a whole, is the fact that these individuals are the first to be more technically dependent and they tend to have a far more global mind-set than any previous generations. The technology of the day comes in handy as these individuals are noted to be far more confident and self-expressive, by embracing alternative ways of living and by being highly receptive to new ideas. They are known to be optimistic individuals who often believe in the importance of contributing to the world and working for a cause. The so-called YOLO mantra, runs through these youngsters veins as they are well aware of the possibility for the world as they know it, to change and take off in the opposite direction. It is all about embracing and taking advantage of the time and means you have today and not trouble your mind about what tomorrow may or may not bring. This generation has given birth to people who genuinely have a strong drive and eagerness to leave their mark on the world. Individualist is a key word when it comes to defining gen. Y, yet at the same time they do not fear to showcase the same brand of sneakers or jeans that their friends and peers are wearing.
Generation Y is on the verge of overlapping with individuals born between 1995 and 2012. This is the generation Z segment, a rapidly growing group, who is being brought up in the diverse environment of today’s world. This group has an even higher level of technologic skills than their infamous forerunners. The youth belonging to this group are experiencing their coming of age phase, in an extremely sophisticated media driven environment. They exceed in Internet usage and are well connected across multiple social media channels. Generation Z identifies with messages that reflect their reality rather than the depiction of a perfect life. While on one hand the entertainment of this particular generation has become much darker – often linked with post-apocalyptic tales – on the other hand more serious documentaries and real life storytelling will seem appealing to this segment as well. Their role models and icons are young, and depicted through everyday characters, making them very relatable and realistic. Generation Z will demand reliability from their chosen brands to make them feel safe from a long-term perspective. This careful mindset is the outcome of being brought up in the time of a global recession and experiencing unemployment and uncertainty,
Generation Y and Z do have one common denominator when it comes to their online behaviour and choice of content to engage with. Their lives do not seem to be real unless it is out there for everyone to see whether it be on Facebook or on Instagram. As natural exhibitionists the value of having a peer-to-peer network is of far more importance than any advertising campaign. It is crucial for individuals of these generations to be honest and perceived as being truly authentic in their expression, the punishment, if you are discovered in your attempt to be otherwise is to be ignored. In both cases, individuals stemming from these generations are quick to communicate and they do it frequently. This in turn, requires marketing divisions to become increasingly streamlined in their content and in their design layout as in today’s digital age it takes time for the message to be significantly seen and heard. Both generation Y and Z are equally multi-taskers, so if you want them to spend any time on your content, it is crucial for you to speak their language and possess the strategic ability to position your messages in their circle of channels they engage in.