I was asked to do an interview for CRM magazine earlier today, where they questioned me on a variety of topics concerning Generation Y.
It really got me thinking about what we are and what we stand for.
After mulling it over in my head, it became clear that this generation is more laid back than previous generations. We don't feel the need to do the whole suit and tie thing and by and large stand by our jeans. We may choose to dress up later, but for now we are not ready to grow up.
Hollister's success stands as proof of this model. They sell clothing that can only be described as slacker wear. Although a spin off of the much more preppy Abercrombie and Fitch brand, Hollister prides itself on a relaxed, day at the beach look.
I think that's an ongoing theme in this generation. Content is now incredibly accessible to us and we don't have to try hard to find anything. We expect to be catered to. That's not to say that we don't deliver. We still work hard and will deliver results but we expect them on our time.
As I dove deeper into thought I kept turning to the iPod and Apple's marketing. Apple's latest ads have the PC in a traditional, boring suit, white button up and slacks. Whereas the Mac is in a hoodie and jeans. I think that's a great representation of our generation: the hoodie and jeans generation.
A lot of marketers think that we don't like big brands. It's not that we don't like them, it's that were sick and tired of big marketing. We've had years of crap marketing campaigns that really don't have anything to do with the product being sold to us.
We trust our friends and our own sources much more than we trust big companies. That's why great marketers will find a way to identify with us by speaking our language. Some of the movie studios are starting to get this by creating MySpace pages and creating viral campaigns. Great companies will capitalize on the viral effect and dominate over those that can't adapt.
One of the brands I mentioned during my interview is Threadless. I heard about them through a friend and thought I would check out their site. They have a simple yet great community driven business model: users submit designs, designs get voted on, popular designs get printed. I quickly found a great shirt that I loved and purchased it. I also signed up for their email newsletters and can honestly say that I am actually excited to receive them, because they're designed in a way that keeps me intrigued, always focusing on the newest designs.
I received my shirt a couple weeks later, with an address label ready if the shirt didn't fit. It also had a few stickers, which is more free marketing for the company. Since I've purchased the shirt, I've received a ton of compliments on it and spread the name of the business to those that commented on it. I was so happy with the way that I was treated as a threadless customer that I would gladly give them referrals.
Combining technology and old fashioned good customer service is the best way to get to this generation. Let's hope more companies start getting it.