Gen Y to US marketers: Engage us with experiential marketing

MUMBAI: In the US Generation Y is one of the most coveted consumer segments around, and for good reason. These young consumers, who comprise today's tweens, teens and college students, make up nearly a third of the US population, with an estimated $170 billion in spending power.



Yet Gen Y is also difficult to reach through traditional mass media. Not only are they highly fragmented in their viewing habits-surfing the Internet and playing video games are favourite activities. However coming of age in the information age has made them skeptical of 'hard sell' tactics. Technology such as Tivo and spamblockers enable them to block out messages that they not wish to see.

So how can marketers tap into this important demographic? The answer, according to proprietary research conducted by global agency Jack Morton Worldwide, lies in non traditional marketing events that enable marketers to reach Gen Y face-to-face, weaving products and brands into lifestyle activities that today's young consumers value and welcome.



According to Jack Morton CEO Josh McCall, the agency, which creates over 1,000 live events annually for clients around the world, is seeing increased demand for experiential marketing programmes aimed at Gen Y consumers.

McCall says, "Marketers increasingly recognise that young audiences value two-way communication and face-to-face interaction, and therefore that experiential marketing needs to be integral to the overall strategy. Where Jack Morton can really add value is in creating experiences that play to and enhance the incredibly strong lifestyle associations young consumers have. With this group, it's not just about identifying an age; it is about identifying their attitudes and lifestyles."

Data from a survey of 2,574 US consumers commissioned by Jack Morton and conducted this year demonstrates that Gen Y consumers-also known as "millennials"-respond strongly to live marketing events, which they prefer over TV and Internet advertising.

-- 70 per cent of 13- to 23-year olds surveyed say that experiential marketing is extremely or very influential on their opinion of a product or brand.

-- 65 per cent of 13- to 23-year olds surveyed say that participating in an event would cause them to act more quickly to purchase a product.

-- Proving that events add value to other marketing investments, 76 per cent of this demographic say that participating in an event would make them more receptive to the brand or product's advertising.

-- Demonstrating that events can inspire value-added buzz marketing, 74 per cent of 13- to 23-year olds say that participating in a live marketing experience is something that they would tell others about.


Jack Morton Worldwide director Chuck Santoro explains, "Today's youth market demands what is hip and cool for them right now. More and more marketers are faced with a difficult task. They must capture Gen Y's attention, go beyond traditional advertising efforts and use an event to create a one of a kind experience that is truly differentiating and really makes an impact. The experience needs not only to grab the demographic's attention, but also make a positive brand impression that will last-and be the talk of the lunch table, chat room or mall the next day. The answer is experiential marketing."

In the past Jack Morton has worked with video game brand Nintendo on many promotional programmes to create awareness with targeted consumers for multiple games aimed at youth demographics.

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