Marketing for Generation R
It's a tough place out there at the moment, and it's widely believed that this current generation of kids/youths/young adults (delete the inappropriate) will be the first in modern history to be poorer and worse off than its parents.
So after Generation Y - Welcome Generation R (RENT).
As a marketing agency, we've been involved in youth marketing for some time now, and for us the 'back-to-school' promotional period is always really busy, but we can tell the times are changing. With less uni applicants, conflicting stats saying youth unemployment is up or down, and more fear creeping in with raising costs, everyone is looking at this space with a wide open and somewhat puzzled eye.
It's no way all doom and gloom though. According to Student Beans' recent research, 52% of students said "if I really wanted something I will buy it regardless", and there is still an abundance of credit around. The critical thing is embracing new media and creating campaigns that are useful, different, have a personality, stand for what they believe in or are at the very least entertaining.
Social Media is key. It isn't a new wave of marketing. Soon it will be the only wave of marketing.
The physical world is shrinking. It is said that over 50% of young adults are scared of knife crime, parents don't send their kids down the park all day and tell them to 'come home when it gets dark', just like you don't leave your back door open for the neighbour to pop in and help themselves to a cup of sugar. And yes, I know, you no longer get free milk at school and an afternoon nap...I understand that times change. But the point I'm making is that, in this time, people are still doing what they always did just using social media as a way to do it.
People want to make friends and connect, chat about topics they find interesting, share hobbies and exchange views, flirt, play, listen to music and social media is facilitating this.
People used to make mix tapes, now they make custom play lists. They don't collect badges of favourite bands, but 'Like' them on Facebook instead. Don't pass notes around class, they BBM. It's nothing new, just a new way of doing it.
What's important for our customers...and yes…you could be one (if you have a marketing budget of course!), is that they either compliment the discussion, or provide something of value to draw people in. Think about those kids in the park. In my day the ice-cream van could stop me mid-sentence and I'd be running screaming to spend my pocket money, but if a creepy guy I didn't know came up to us and interrupted us with an offer of something sweet, I wouldn't have embraced him with the same enthusiasm.
For a generation that are, for the first time, demonstrating about themselves as the cause, rather than for someone else or a charity, you better make sure you have something relevent to say.
Photo (cc) Soonerpa