Monday, July 5, 2010

If you’re banking on Gen Y for sales, hold on for a bumpy ride.

Ah, the good ol’ days. Not so long ago the local newspapers were chock full of splashy, full color ads for hundreds of brand spanking new real estate developments promising “The Active Lifestyle You’ve Always Dreamed Of.” Today you’re lucky if the Post has enough pages to line your birdcage.

Lately, though, real estate has begun to show signs of life. Although formerly active seniors are now firmly entrenched on cushy sofas with no intention of moving anytime soon, Generation Y has started to flutter around affordable new home communities looking for their first nest. Last year, this first-time homebuyer crowd accounted for almost 45 percent of new home purchases in South Florida. Cha ching!

Before you start looking to feather you own nest with the proceeds from Gen Y sales, you might want to do your homework to gain a good understanding of what motivates this up-and-coming consumer market. In a word, nothing.

One writer aptly described this generation of entitlement as “The ones who got a trophy for finishing ninth.” Taught that life is fair and that it’s better to receive than to give, Gen Y wants it all, but damned if they’ll raise a pinky to get it.

Companies looking to entice the Gen Y customer will need to sell sizzle because Gen Y doesn’t much care about the steak. Gen Y craves status and they are early adopters of the newest, hottest products and services. If they think what you're selling will make them more popular, they’re buying.

The most important thing to Gen Y is leisure. Work is merely a means to collect a paycheck that can be spent for their enjoyment and pleasure. Gen Y cares little for advancement in their career although they expect high salaries for the least amount of work possible. They are not interested in contributing to the goodwill of society so if you want them to support your cause, there better be something in it for them.

If you can successfully tap into the “I want, I want, I want” Gen Y mentality, these youngsters have money to burn. Pampered by mom and dad, they are often debt-free and still enjoy a parental line of credit. Makes you wish you’d been born in the 80’s, huh?