Gen Y probably hates your targeted marketing… kthxbai

[Full disclosure: i work at AusPost & i love direct mail… but all thoughts herein are my own, not my employers]

I always pay close attention to Gen Y vs Gen X discussions because i was born on the 1982 generational cusp & there’s much argument between myself and senior marketers re: where i fit in.

Last year i was a little surprised by research suggesting that Gen Y preferred to walk “all the way” to the Post Office or biller to pay over the counter, rather than use a method like BPay. It looks like the same findings may have inspired BPay’s GenY targeted Short and Sweet campaign.

Personally, i’m either lazy… or i’m a Gen X… but i do relate to the fact that Gen Ys are “mobile” and view their working and playing hours with a degree of flexibility. There’s also the social aspect of walking to the Post Office before/after grabbing a coffee… plus the bonus that mum & dad still occasionally hand over cash that can be used to pay bills.

This month i’ve only just read the Channel Y report (based on an Australian market research project conducted by Sweeny Research in 2010).

Again, i was fascinated by some of the Gen Y insights & thought i’d share some highlights… (note, Generation Y is based on 16 to 24 year olds in this report):

– only one in five Gen Ys use Twitter and only one in 20 use LinkedIn
– 80% of Gen Y dislike companies prospecting via social media (eg Facebook)… with 48% per cent “hating” the use of Facebook by businesses they don’t already deal with
– even more “hated” are unsolicited calls to their home or mobile phone
– most say SMS marketing is “annoying” (& i’ll add “invasive”)
– nine in 10 have access to broadband internet and a high proportion use both a laptop and desktop computer
– but when it comes to smartphones less than a third had one (back in 2010)… and even less in regional areas
– seven out of 10 have multiple email addresses to filter out marketing messages (the secondary account is checked half as much as the primary – the primary can be checked more than 14 times a week)
– 87 per cent said they prefer businesses to communicate with them by mail

Some other interesting findings are that Gen Y are very savvy when it comes to marketing communications… if a company uses celebrity endorsement, peer recommendations and product placements Gen Y is onto them & know what they’re up to – but they don’t really mind.

I thought the word association exercise, pulled from page 36 of the report, told the story well:

The Channel Y report - Gen Y marketing channel perceptions

The Channel Y report - Gen Y marketing channel perceptions

The report points out that there are very different communication rules for friends and family vs business… and there are even strong rules re: appropriate contact channels by family vs friends.

It seems that email and addressed mail are the most acceptable channels for comms from a business to a Gen Y individual – but with the email filtering (eg i use 6 email accounts, but some are only checked monthly) marketers might question the actual cut-through of this channel.

So… my assumptions based on this report? Direct mail isn’t dead either… even if we’re targeting Gen Ys… which makes me excited as a marketer – the more channels to play with, the better.

I still think i’m a Gen X though.

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