Individuals born in the mid 1960’s to 1980, known as Generation X, often referred to as Gen X, Xers, Post Boomers and other aptly given monikers, is the generation that paved the way for Millennials.  Born in the early 1980’s to 2000, this generational group is also called Generation Y, Gen Y and Echo Boomers.  According to the United States Census Bureau, Millennials total over 83 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population, while the Gen X population is just over 50 million strong.  In addition to age gap and population separating these two generations, differences in core values, family experience, work ethic and communication styles are just a few additional elements which differentiate them.

 

Gen X is the first generation of latchkey kids growing up caring for themselves and is often viewed as the overlooked generation.  Thus, Gen Y typically grew up in divorced households, being sheltered by their parents and are seen as effective multi-taskers.  When it comes to money, Xers are cautious and strive to save while Millennials earn to spend.  Post Boomers strive for work and home life balance while Echo Boomers not only strive to balance work and home life, but also community involvement and self development.  Generation X’s communication style is viewed as blunt and direct while Generation Y’s style is more motivational and positive.  Differences in communication can be tricky, but understanding how to communicate with Millennials is instrumental to successfully connecting and thriving with Gen Y customers.

Generation Y is graduating from college, entering the workforce and most importantly, spending their disposable income.  Gen Y accounts for more than 20% of total consumer spending in the United States, according to Barron’s.  With annual spending over $1.3 trillion many companies are focusing on capturing this group’s attention.  To connect and thrive with this generation you need to tap into their mindset.

Connecting and Thriving with Generation Y

  1.      Welcome technology – This generation has!  Thanks to social media, largely populated by Gen Y, they have extraordinary influential power over a business’ success.
  2.      Accessibility, Convenience & Speed – Y’s were born into technology.  Their phones were always smart, packages arrive next day and they have always had the internet.  They expect businesses to keep abreast of ever changing technology to create easy access, expediency and immediacy.  On average the content should be short, to the point, but unique to grab their attention.
  3.      Think outside the box – Generation Y is tech-savvy and are inundated daily with advertisements.  Get creative and make your business stand out from the rest.
  4.      Be genuine – Millennials are more likely to purchase based on a friend’s referral as opposed to an advertisement.  Building a genuine relationship with Gen Y and using technology to forge those relationships is vital to a successful business.
  5.     Have a purpose – Ask yourself, “Why do I do what I do?”  If you are only in it for the money, you might have difficulty connecting with Millennials.  Find your purpose, because Y’s want to connect with you.

Get ready business owners; it is time to start thinking about the emerging Generation Z.  The eldest of this unprecedented generation, born in 1996, is turning 21 and will be joining the workforce soon.  It is crucial to modify your way of responding to the ever changing behaviors that come with generational changes.

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-113.html

http://www.wmfc.org/uploads/GenerationalDifferencesChart.pdf

http://www.barrons.com/articles/SB50001424052748703889404578440972842742076