Generation Y has become a challenging market for many businesses in the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries , and most other industries, as well. Generation Y is very different from previous generations, and, to successfully market to them, you must find ways to appeal to their unique needs and wants. TimeForge’s online, digital products are especially easy-to-use for this demographic.

Generation Y consists of those born between 1980 and 2000 and are between the ages of 9 and 29 (BusinessWeek). With over 70 million individuals, they make up 25% of the population , that’s a big piece of the pie your business could be profiting from!

Generation Y is more ethnically diverse, socially-conscious (green/organic marketing is very successful with them — making TimeForge’s paperless, eco-friendly quality appealing to them) and more accepting of alternative lifestyles than past generations. They spend $100 per week on disposable spending (money spent on wants, not needs) which accounts for $150 billion dollars annually! For the older Generation Y individuals (who enjoy the majority of this spending money,) that’s money spent primarily on things like food and drinks — the vast majority of their money is allocated towards entertainment that the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries provide.

In order to successfully market to Generation Y, you must first understand their appreciation and attachment to technology. According to a study by Forrester Research, Gen Y-ers are estimated to spend 20 Billion dollars online per year. The ability to order out, make reservations and check out a new restaurant/retail establishment online are of vital importance to Generation Y. If you business doesn’t offer this kind of online interactive capabilities, you could be losing out on a lot of potential customers. Additionally, is you don’t have an online system for employees in place, you could be losing out on a large number of Generation Y employees, who prefer the ease of features like text message reminders before shifts, online availability editing, shift-swapping, schedule viewing from their PCs or internet-enabled phones, and more. 90% of Generation Y-ers have a personnel computer, 50% of 12-17 year olds have cell phones, and 45% of 18-24 year olds have internet on their mobile devices, and as those numbers increase, their dependability of these devices does as well.

With this technology, Gen Y-ers base their decisions for making purchases on different criteria that the  generations  before them. Social media such as facebook, MySpace and twitter play a huge role in Gen Y-ers’ lives, and how they interact with their friends and family, which is why TimeForge is accessible from mobile phones, facebook and via text message. Not only will having pages on sites like these and integrating with social media and mobile phone capabilities increase your relevance to Generation Y, but Gen Y-ers are notorious for publicizing every aspect of their lives. If you have an easily linked-to facebook page or Web site, it makes it easy for Gen-Yers to tell their friends/followers about your business, and the experience they had. And, as demonstrated by the Forrester study below, clearly Gen Y-ers (as well as other generations!) are responsive to tips from friends.

Gen Y's purchase influencing

As the chart above demonstrates, nearly 60% of Gen Y-ers often tell their friends about products and places that interest them, indicating that word-of-mouth or “buzz” advertising is effective with this age group.  Additionally, nearly 50% of Gen Y-ers as well as Gen X-ers agree that price is more important to them than brand names.

As the Forrester study below demonstrates, Generation Y has a dramatically higher percentage of “Creators,” or  trend  starters, meaning that they enjoy being the first to discover new places, trends, and more. Generation Y’s percentage of “Joiners,” or individuals who hop on the trend band-wagon, is more than double that of other generations. This means that Gen Y-ers are not only eager to discover and patronize new establishments, but they’re excited about being involved in a marketing “buzz.” Where earlier generations were skeptical of marketing ploys, Gen Y-ers enthusiastically embrace and assist them.

Generation Y-ers care about the “cool” factor. Companies like Apple and Target (click the links to see ad examples) are extremely successful in marketing to Generation Y (particularly Gen Y’s “Joiners”) because they focus on marketing their brands as young, hip and fun. They use trendy indie or popular music in their advertisements, tout their green (which a paperless labor management system can help start) or philanthropic initiatives and make their brand relatable to people in the  Genera ion  Y age group.

Online Social Ladder

Online Social Ladder

So, what does all this mean for your business? It means that in order to successfully market to Generation Y, and to create and maintain customers within Generation Y, your business must institute:

1: Social media pages in order to connect with and inform Generation Y. In addition to a facebook page for your business, TimeForge is accessible from facebook, keeping your Gen Yers in-the-know, in their element.

2: Integrate with online technology as much as possible. (Ex: Online ordering and reservations.)

3: Put as much online buzz-worthy marketing out there as possible. If you post it, they will re-post/re-tweet etc.

4: Give your brand a “cool” factor. Your business should seem young, hip and fun. TimeForge manages Gen Yers in a way they can understand and relate to, more than ever before, which will boost staff morale and your employees’ opinions of the business (which this generation is enthusiastic about repeating to others.)

5: Last, but not least: Tout your Green or philanthropic endeavors. If you don’t have any, getting some should be a priority. By simply adding TimeForge to your business’ labor management, our Green product will virtually eliminate the need for paperwork and give your company something Green to add to your list of Gen Y-approved qualities.

To learn more about how TimeForge can help you get Gen Y-ers in the door, click here to learn more or sign up for a free trial today. Also, continue on to Part Two of our examination of Generation Y to learn how to recruit, maintain and satisfy Gen Y employees.

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