Generation Y1 and Y2
Making the most of Marketing to Millennials
As the largest cohort with the most spending power, Millennials are the apples of marketers’ eyes. Just don’t assume they’re all alike. Gen Y comprises two distinct subgroups: generation Y1 and Y2. Failing to understand the nuances of each category could undermine your marketing efforts.
To help you make the most of marketing to Millennials, here is a look at the makeup of the largest and most complex generational cohort.
Generation Y Overview
In our last blog, the introduction to marketing to Millennials, we discussed how Generation Y holds the most buying power of all other generations—which makes them the primary target of most brands.
This is one of the most interesting generations yet. Says management consultancy, Roland Berger,
They are…known as the freest spending, hardest to catch and most powerful trendsetter generation in history.
Generation Y is the largest cohort to date, and the group is sub-divided into two.
They go by many names: Millennial, Generation Y, Gen Y, the content generation, or Eco Boomers. When it comes to subcategories, you’ll most often hear the terms “Older and younger millennials” or “Generations Y1 and Y2”.
What Are The Birth Years of Generation Y?
You’ll find varying opinions on this question as well. Some research firms say Millennials are born 1982-2000, and others say 1980-1995(ish). In South Africa, we agree with the latter as generation Y ended nearer to where Born-Frees began.
Common Millennial Traits
Before we look at the difference between Generations Y1 and Y2, here is what they have in common:
Two Types of Millennials
There’d obviously be a difference between older and younger Millennials with such a large age range. Some are seeing their children go into high school while others have barely started working.
Two events, namely the economic crash of 2008 and the introduction of Smartphones, have caused millennials to behave differently—depending on their stage of life at the time of the event.
Generation Y1 or the Older Millennial Segment
The most important thing about older millennials is that a significant portion doesn’t identify as Millennials—feeling that they should fall into Generation X.
2008 Economic Crash
Y1 were graduating or had just entered the workforce when the crash happened. They watched life change before their eyes (just as we see now with the global pandemic). They are frugal because they are aware that anything can be lost in an instant.
Older millennials are now nearing their forties, established in their careers and are most likely homeowners with young children. It would be best if you related to this stage of life when talking to them. They care about maintaining security and their children’s futures. Work-life balance is important, as is securing quality of life in retirement.
This group only acquired a mobile phone late in high school. Smart Phones came to market when many were in their early twenties. For this reason, they use text as their primary form of communication, but, unlike Y2s, they aren’t entirely opposed to a conventional chat on the phone.
They have a “Google first” mindset and are heavy content consumers. There is a fair split between those who are readers (blogs), listeners (podcasts) and watchers (YouTube). They are “big” on sharing. Captivating artwork and thought-provoking articles have a high “pass-along” rate.
Generation Y2 or the Younger Millennial Segment
The first rule about marketing to younger millennials: Don’t call them entitled. This group is sorely misunderstood.
2008 Economic Crash
Y2s entered the workforce in a post-crash world (the first crash, that is). Like Y1s, they don’t part with their money easily, but not for the same reason.
They are the first generation in history to be less well off than their parents. The cost of living is high, and their survival instincts are amplified. They don’t expect to be paid more than they deserve—they crave being able to get out from under their parent’s roofs and still afford to eat decently. Value for money is a drawcard.
Y2s received a smartphone as their second mobile device while still at school. The implication is that they received their first mobile device much younger than Y1s. As such, they communicate differently to their seniors. They only know a world with instant messaging, making them so call-averse they have anxiety over answering the phone!
This is where self-help menus, chatbots, and online shopping take the fore. They will likely consult their phone before consulting anyone in person (be it in-store or via a call centre).
The Heart Matters Most
From an empirical perspective, we know that the best way to reach generation Y is on social platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest. We also know that they prefer value-driven, sharable content.
The art of conversion, however, doesn’t lie in any scientific formula. The magic of marketing to Millennials happens when you speak to the heart. They need to feel heard and understood. Your content should be relatable AND authentic (beware, they see through insincerity).
Seek to make a heart connection with millennials, and you’ll enjoy unprecedented loyalty.
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