Youth Marketing Insights » Gen Y Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 en hourly 1 The real insight from 15-year Morgan Stanley intern – LISTEN Tue, 14 Jul 2009 07:40:59 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg

Yesterday it made international news that a 15-year old intern at Morgan Stanley has “shocked the industry” by reporting on the “real” media consumption habits of teens. By around the world – I mean Tokyo, New York, London and Sydney. Not sure how this is breaking news but the report by Matthew Robson titled How Teenagers Consume Media found “Twitter is for old people, teenagers do not listen to the radio and a mobile phone is used for talking to girls”. Mr Robson researched via his networks of friends and says he believes the data represents the collective wisdom of about 300 teenagers. His research method — “I texted a few friends to get ideas,” he told the Financial Times. Edward Hill-Wood, executive director of Morgan Stanley’s European media team said: “His report was one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen – so we published it.”

As we know Mr Robson’s “network” are probably all kids like him, so in reality provides more of an insight into his specific demographic than the world as a whole – in fact read the barrage of comments on each and every news site and everyone apparently has an opinion about the validity of his findings. Groundbreaking stats to shock the world, I think not. But I do think that it is great that this report has generated interest in Listening to Gen Y. Listening with Capital L and Big Ears.

Often we make our market research overly strategic, and in reality it is often framed by people outside of the target which therefore influences the results. Mr Robson’s view – straight from the horse’s mouth. I think a really interesting insight that comes from this is not the media habits, because (hopefully) most people in Youth marketing would have a grasp of that. More it’s that you can spend $200 and give a kid a camera and it will give you more insight than $25,000 worth of data. Insight is funny like that – it needs to create that “aha” moment for you to make it relevant.

My point is if it’s you are in Youth Marketing and it’s been a while since you have spent a day at a music festival, chilled out on university campus or even chatted with a teen-something at a local Surfing event – maybe you would be better placed to spend a day in the life as a bit of a reality check then spend another day reviewing market research in your boardroom. This is why Youth brands such as Red Bull – which are on the ground with kids every day – get it. By get it I mean youth marketing but also marketshare. And really, is this only a “youth” thing or could all marketers take a page from this manual?

One final note – and to no discredit to Mr Robson who I could only imagine is a very confident, well spoken and interesting kid – but not sure why exactly he is labeled a whiz kid? Why do the established always fail to recognise the potential of the unestablished – aka their own workers? This is not a Gen Y versus “old people” argument – this is a theme throughout history. Why do companies not harness the value of the insight that younger generations bring to the table as opposed to groan about their attitudes and expectations?

Hope this an “aha” moment amongst all my 50-something CEO’s CMOs, Recruitment Officers, etc.

PHOTO CREDIT, Financial Times: Matthew Robson, 15, says teenagers don’t read newspapers, use phones to make calls or go to the cinema.

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10 Things Millenials Could Teach CMOs About Marketing Tue, 23 Jun 2009 04:17:11 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg

I am a firm believer that understanding and listening to Gen Y, millenials, youth or whatever you call them is not about just reaching that demographic. Rather it provides valuable insight about the market as a whole. Youth are leading a rapid transformation in consumer marketing and brand engagement, and that is why we should all pay attention.

That said, I have put together a list of 10 Things Millennials Could Teach CMOs About Marketing.

  1. Provide a reason. We want to buy into more than “this latest product/service is best”. And the latest technology upgrade 6.18 or new Orange Raspberry flavor isn’t going to cut it. Think more deeply about the rationale, what is the bigger picture.
  2. Thrive does not equal Survive. You must evolve and grow with us, with the market. Otherwise you will lose relevancy, no matter how big you once were giants fall.
  3. Be authentic and have values. We spend our money in an effort to support brands. The companies that walk the walk will have our support – in dollars.
  4. Elusive isn’t the word, just stretched. Think broadly in terms of where you can reach me– and remember I only spend 1 of every 11 minutes online on a social network.
  5. Entertain me. Consumer experiences matter, that is what we remember and talk about. And think about the whole marketing cycle because my experience with your brand extends well beyond purchase point.
  6. Brands aren’t friends. But you should think more how to socialise with me then to sell to me.
  7. Inspire. Lead us by example.
  8. Empower me. We feel entitled because we grew up expressing ourselves online, how can you help me spread the word for you?
  9. Quickly bored. It’s not ADD, it’s just that we are all inundated with massive amounts of brands messages. Keep it simple or loose mind space – quickly.
  10. The age of Here and Now. I prefer to lease my car, pay as I go on my mobile, and expect real time help from my online bankng service. My sense of immediacy directly relates to who I interact with brands.
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Gen Y Mocks Twitter Users: The walled-gardens of social media Wed, 01 Apr 2009 21:19:18 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg This is pretty much truth – not all social media sites are created equal. Well, maybe a bit more accurate to state that not all social media sites were created or used with equality of purpose.

So, that in mind, watch this video from “SuperNews!”, an animated sketch comedy series airing on Current TV. it features some ‘young adults’ battling an addiction to Twitter….the social network Gen Y just doesn’t get.

As you can see by the video, as well as the comments below, Gen Y not into Twitter. As Gen Y love social media and played an important role as facilitators in the growth, it’s obviously not an adoption issue. Recently however many ‘adults’ have also come to crash this at one time exclusive party. In fact Facebook states that it’s fastest growing user base is 50+ women, and the highest percentages of people on Twitter are 30-40somethings. With the exception of the mother who Facebooks her kids to spy a little bit, there is not much cross-generational communication happening online. Why?

Well many tools are used differently by different groups. While some may use Twitter for random status updates (“I am eating dinner with my cat on the couch”, “I just ran into the bar, it said ouch”), most use it for information spreading, personal branding and a whole lot of networking. As the video clearly points out, Twitter is for people ‘who have no friends’, another way to state that it is not about hanging out but participating in open, public dialogue…with no one in particular. On the flip side, research supports the Connected Generation uses social networks more of an extension of what they do offline, that is socialise with their existing group of friends. So these places that ‘adults’ have invaded and are networking…Gen Y not interested.

So varying social networks, varying user groups with varying interests. It turns out that social media is actually just a huge set of walled-gardens. It is important for marketers to keep this in mind. Next time we casually throw out “leveraging social media”, we need to challenge and be challenged on understanding not only the functions of social media sites to distribute information, but the role it plays in users lives as well. Kids don’t want to be friends with brands on Facebook, and branded content on YouTube doesn’t just “go viral” because it is on there….not that I was born understanding this either, but after several years of working with Youth brands in the digital space, it is all becoming a bit clearer.

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What is your “freesumer” business model? Mon, 16 Mar 2009 01:34:27 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg Saw this Kutiman music video flying around twitter last week, it’s amazing, not just for the concept but because I think it encompasses some of the key pillars of youth marketing – it’s creative, collective, and just cool.

Really it just comes down to talent, Kutiman is obviously a good musician in his own right, however this ultimate sampling remix is the manifestation of how youth consume in general — streaming, sampling, and SHOCK even pirating.

Whether we like it or not, the internet  model of giving “things” away for free is steering a major consumer macrotrend, and those in the connected generation are the captains of this “Freesumerism”. This YouTube sensation highlights how free doesn’t necessarily mean giving up quality, free can be premium. With more than 1 million views in 1-week (no advertising, no marketing, so SEO), it also highlights how value-add offers drive WOM – they got it for free, why not share it with friends.

So how does this materialse into revenue driving business models? There are heaps of examples that capitalise on notions of “free”. For example McDonald’s and Telstra have announced plans to provide free WiFi in 710 locations in Australia by March 2009, making it the country’s largest distributor of free internet. What a great example of brands combining forces to provide a value-add for customers. Or the subscription services model, which we are seeing emerge surrounding music distribution. With Nokia’s Comes With Music, for a few dollars per month you get access to millions of tracks for free.  Even the good old fashioned Gift With Purchase is getting a face lift – there was a recent promotion with the Commonwealth Bank and offering $20 per month of downloads to account holders of CBA’s new Smart Access card. This may look like a GWP promo and is in a lot of ways, but it extends the GWP concept of a throwaway token item to provide real value and good experiences to customers.

There are many more models, and many more creative examples, and as I don’t work for any of the above mentioned companies can’t speak on the business success of these specific examples. What is important however is to recognise is there is a shift in the notion of value, especially when marketing to the uber-consumers of Gen Y, so if none of these will work in your business structure no worries, sure there is one that will.

So, what is your “freesumer” business model?

NB for more information on Freesumerism check out LS:N (paid subscription required). I recently attended a Future Trends Lab they put on and discussed this macro-trend in detail, really insightful.

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Global Financial Crises not just for grown-ups Thu, 12 Mar 2009 03:58:33 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg What does the Global Financial Crises (GFC) mean to you? Well, probably a lot. You have probably been following the stocks, the interest rates, the stimulus packages; you are probably concerned about job security, know people who have been made redundant, or maybe even putting off retirement.

What does it mean to the 18yr old in uni, or 21yr old just out? Well a lot more then they apparently seem to know.

As part of the voxpop series for this blog, I hit the streets to interview 18-25yrs old on the GFC and what effects it was having on them personally. Here are a few of my favs which I think provide interesting insight.

What does this mean to me? Not that teens aren’t affected by the GFC. They are, their families are, and in their lives there has never been a more important time to get on top of finances, be wary of out of control credit debt (not speaking from personal experience…), learn about savings and investment options. In fact in a recent article in the London’s Daily Telegraph, research conducted by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK suggests “16 to 24-year-olds are the most at risk”, particularly with regards to planning ahead and choosing financial products.

Many pessimists argue this lack of understanding is due to Gen Y’s “irresponsible optimism”. However if you look a bit deeper much research suggests that while, yes, Gen Y are optimistic, they are also realisitic. This video highlights they are actually eager to hear about the ground rules, they agree they need to know more.

That said, I would suggest the heart of the issue is that the conversation hasn’t yet become directed to Gen Y – WHY they should care, and therefore they haven’t listened. I know I don’t listen when someone is talking, or even shouting, to the person next to me, why would I? (that is unless of course they are whispering and it is gossip)

So here-in lies a huge opportunity for banks and/or financial services – utilize this inherent interest in the economy to extend your brand out to them, educate through dialogue, and in turn build a trusted advisor relationship…the holy grail…usually we usually we are trying to create conversation and force ourselves in, well here it is, on your doorstep, just jump on in.

Who knows, as my colleague Helina Lilley (a Gen Y in our Corporate Services team) very cleverly pointed out to me, maybe with the right guidance, these Gen Yers and their optimistic outlook will no longer be criticized, but instead become known as Gen Yield – the ones who steered their way through the recession and emerged with handsome high yielding portfolios. And let’s face it – it isn’t a hare-brained theory to think these cashed-up Gen Ys could potentially save the economy — cue to many major organizations that are counting on exactly that business strategy.

In my humble opinion, Helina, you have nailed it – educate Gen Y and convert to Gen-Yield.

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