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Cutting Through the Noise to Reach Gen Y

August 4, 2009

Speaking from experience (I was born in 1988, right in the center on Gen Y), my generation is as likely to click on your banner ad as we are to not have a cell phone. We have grown up multitasking, and constantly surrounded by noise so we have learned to very easily drown it out. I ignore ads so much I don’t even notice paid advertising on Google anymore, it doesn’t even register. This has made it very difficult for marketers to get through to this very powerful segment of the population that is just about to start making more and more purchases for themselves for the first time.

But just because the traditional digital media doesn’t get the attention of Gen Y, doesn’t mean you can’t get to us. On the contrary we are ready and waiting for a brand to convince us to use them. We read review after review, we interact online constantly, so if a brand is able to get through the noise then they have very little competition. There is two major ways of doing this. One being have an absolutely kick ass brand/product. Apple has done this by having superior products as well as a very strong marketing campaign. The other way is actively engage us, key word being ACTIVELY. Any brand can have a one great viral video, or a sweet promotion that everyone talks about for a while, because just like a banner ad, you will be forgotten in a few days.

This is exactly why Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint did a study of the brands using social media the best, and there two major categories were engagement and number of channels. Starbucks came up number one, and I can’t remember any videos they had with 10 million hits, or some insane online giveaway. They just place themselves everywhere on the Web, and constantly put themselves out there. Stiff ol’ Microsoft even sat solidly at number five, because of things like @microsoft_cares (blatant rip off @comcast_cares but besides the point) who answered an angry tweet I had about Windows within 10 minutes at about 9 at night. To me, that means ten times more to me then giving away then iphones by whatever that company was called a while ago (look I already forgot). Granted Starbucks and Microsoft are huge, but they have the right idea of sticking real people all over the place online to make sure every time they have an opportunity to make an impression on a Gen Y’er (or anyone else) they don’t miss out. And THAT is how you get noticed by someone as distracted as me.

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