Learning from Gen Y

MediaPost, one of my favorite sources. launched a new blog recently, Engage: Gen Y, and the first few posts are already capturing my attention. Today's post suggested five simple rules for "snagging consumer 2.0" and they are well worth pondering even in the rarified air of high-end B2B solutions, where Gen Yers are still mostly consigned to support roles outside the orbits of purchase decision makers. The rules are these:
  1. Authenticity Trumps Celebrity
  2. Niche is the New Norm
  3. Bite-Size Communications Dominate
  4. Personal Utility Drives Adoption
  5. Consumers Own Brands
As the title says, this is consumer-oriented, but the application to B2B and solutions marketing should be clear immediately, and not just in thinking about Gen Yers. Consider the perspective of the buyers you're trying to reach in B2B:
  1. Authenticity: Let me speak with and learn from real experts, and get the real story. No hype allowed.
  2. Niche: Know my industry and my business; don't bother with your generic pitches and solutions.
  3. Bite-Sized Communications: Don't waste my time! I will eventually dig into the details, but you've got to pique my interest pretty damm quick.
  4. Personal Utility: What's in it for me? You've got to pay attention to my personal-professional agenda as well as my company's.
  5. Brands: Personal and peer experience is what matters; I could care less about your carefully crafted messages and materials.
Maybe us boomers and Xers are not so different from the next generation after all. What do you think? Reputation to Revenue.

Comments (1)

Brian Ahn

I completely agree with the 5 rules in this blog post. Authenticity trumps celebrity: Example would be selling toothpaste. One commercial is: superstar actress uses your product and just smiles. Another commercial is: a dentist with real equipment and going to the streets to test people. Then the real people will use it and tell their testimony. Regular people like the ones being tested in the commercial will definitely be inclined to buy this product because they see themselves as the testers. Niche is the new norm: 2 companies are trying to bid for the same project for ABC Inc. Company A brings in their best sales rep and techie guy to the meeting. They provide ABC Inc. with their newest and most advanced products and services they offer. Company B on the other hand researches a lot about the ABC Inc.’s background, operational processes and system problems. During the meeting their sales rep provides the ABC Inc. with problems they are facing now together with specific products and services that Company B offers to solve them. Bite-Sized Communications dominate: Time is of the essence. Everyone doesn’t want to waste their precious time in meetings that will go nowhere or in meetings that they are not interested in. That is why as a marketer, one should learn how to cut short a whole description into just significant words to describe a specific product. These bite-sized descriptions must be able to pull in potential clients in a matter of seconds. Personal Utility: When asking someone to change how they work or operate, you can use authority for them to follow but when you don’t have one you can only try and persuade them. You can do this by letting them know what’s in it for them, what good will it do to them when they start using your product. Consumers own Brands: Whoever is using or endorsing a product will not affect a consumer’s choice if they personally or someone they know had a bad experience or problem with the company. Even if the company’s collaterals and advertising is very well thought of, it will not matter.