Understanding Generational Differences: How to Appeal to Different Age Groups

Y Generation Traits

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Y Generation Traits

In the Y generation world, your brand message is passed along virally through word-of-mouth – or word-of-mouse! – via Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, direct SMS/text messages and more. What an impact this makes to your brand and to your bottom line.

So how do you form that relationship with this “millennial” customer you’ve never met or are meeting for the first time?

  1. Your reputation MUST precede you! You’ve got to get in the social media game – interact with current customers, engage them in an online format so they will tell their friends about you. Don’t fear online ratings sites; research shows that 68% trust sites with mixed reviews (rather than merely those with only good things to say). They want to know they are getting both sides of the story!
  2. Be the person you represent yourself as! It’s still about truth in advertising. Your online listings must be truly representative of your product and more importantly their real customer experience must mirror what they have “heard” about you!
  3. Remember, Generation Y wants what you’ve got if you can persuade them you’ve got what they need. They need the latest and greatest in products, services, and technology – whether that’s the newest gym equipment, free Wi-Fi connectivity, a cool coffee lounge, or simply the ease of communicating with you online 24/7.

Interestingly, the Y generation traits have NOT shown brand loyalty in buying patterns. In fact, Martin & Turley (Article International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management) describe Gen Y as a “free spending but hard to reach generation”.

Yes, when it comes to brand trust and loyalty Gen Y are vastly different from their parents. Lifetime trust in any brand just isn’t part of their dynamic. They do not place their trust in a brand, nor do they buy into advertising and traditional marketing campaigns. 62% are apathetic to traditional advertising messages. (

In sales, there is no “one size fits all”. You truly need to understand each customer’s unique needs and how to go about connecting with them in order to build the kind of relationship that inspires them to buy from you. It’s still true – people buy from people they like!

As the Millennial or Y generation has entered the market, salespeople have struggled with how to relate to this younger, ever social, collaborative generation. Being referred to as dependent on technology is not offensive to them – they like being connected: relying on a handy cell phone with Internet, chatting, and GPS ever ready for their latest query or social exchange.

“62% of young adults are apathetic to traditional advertising messages.”

Less information once made it easier to earn and retain loyal customers. Not the case today. The Y Generation Millennials are the first generation in US history to come of age long having had access to tools with which to make their own independent choices. Still, who does the Y generation trust? Family. Friends. Social Networks. And not necessarily in that order! Nobody agrees with their friends or family all the time.  Gen Y is constantly on the prowl for input even from people they do not know who share their opinions in an open forum.

For Generation Y, it’s all about the relationship, the experience, and the NOW factor!

The Y Generation trusts the opinions of their family, their friends, and their social networks. They also trust in the benevolence of someone they have never met who takes time to share their feelings online about you and your product or service.

They embrace a kind of global collaboration effort in educating each other as fellow citizens of the planet – helping all to make the best choices. Even in the absence of a prior personal relationship they feel joined with their often-massive social networks with whom they share and communicate daily via the Internet.

As such, the way to reach this Generation and ultimately be able to sell them on you and your products and services, is to give them every opportunity to connect with you even before they choose to do business with you!

 They need to know what you can do for them today, tomorrow, and in the future. It is harder to get brand loyalty from Gen Y, but once you’re “in”, this generation consistently rates its favorite brands 12% higher than other generations’ rate theirs. Their loyalty may be harder to earn, but its value is immense. They are vocal about products they love!

At the end of the day, the Y Generation is loyal to self – they will pay for the product and service that really hits home with them, but only to the extent that it grows with them and continues to be their ‘best’ choice.


BUSTING Baby Boomer Myths: Myth #1

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Baby Boomer Myth #1: Understand One Boomer and You Understand Them All

The Baby Boomers have been making waves since their arrival in 1946. History tells us that we were a country unprepared for this generation from the start. Far different than the generation before them, the Baby Boomers choose to march to the beat of their own drum. As they move through each season and stage of their life they continue to redefine who they are, what they need and set new objectives.

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Four Steps to Avoiding Generational Conflict in the Workplace

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You do not have to reach far to see or feel the stress that people are under today. Overall, Americans are just cranky and for good reason. I try to avoid the news as much as possible (due to its negativity). However, as I sat on my couch clicking channels one evening, I couldn’t ignore this CBS News headline: Workplace woes: Incivility up, morale down.

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Who Are You, Generation X?

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The generation is called “X” because the symbol connotes an unknown, a mystery. Ask most people what comes to mind when they hear the phrase “Generation X,” and you’ll hear one word over and over again: slackers. The “slacker” label has stuck with them since the early 90s, when films like Slacker (1991) depicted American youth as cynical and directionless. Does it still stand true today? Is it time to take another look at this savvy, competent, resilient, non-slacker, overshadowed generation?

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The Inside Scoop on Gen Y: Recommended Reading List

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We’ve been talking for months now about what makes Generation Y tick. The topic is both fascinating and incredibly important to the future of apartment marketing. So we would like to recommend a reading list for you to check out (maybe when you’re squeezing in a quick break between meetings).

All of these books are entertaining and will sharpen your understanding of Generation Y.

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Going Green: How Does Gen Y Perceive Your ‘Green Initiative’

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To be successful in any industry, it’s vital to know what’s trending. Clothing stores strive to sustain the hottest styles. Car manufacturers gauge the most prevailing preferences of the populace. Hollywood even caters to the caprices of their critics.

However, there is now a powerful trend that is influencing every industry. In fact, it’s more than a trend: it’s a movement, and it’s

Going Green!

Companies of every shape, every size, in every industry are launching their green campaigns.

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Generation Y: I’m Sure Not Looking for my Parents’ Home!

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I remember when he said it for the first time. My son had driven back to his college apartment after spending the weekend with me. Calling to tell me he’d arrived safely, he said, I’m home. He still treats my home like his own – filling the house with friends who take over the kitchen and living room. But hearing him say those words reminded me that he is really independent. This got me thinking – it won’t be long before he’s out of college and searching for a new home.

What will his needs, likes, and dislikes be?

Will they be different than mine? If so, why?

My son, along with many of my friends’ children, is a member of Generation Y. This sought after group is 70+ million strong – almost double the size of the previous generation.  Its sheer size will have enormous influence on the real estate industry and the economy in general – an impact likely to be as long-lasting as my generation, the Baby Boomers.

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