Speaker after speaker at the two-day Global Youth Marketing Forum, held in Mumbai on February 3-4, gave their views on marketing to today’s youth. The Forum sought to demystify what today’s Gen Y thought, felt and acted on, the issues that they reacted to the environment that they lived in. A major chunk of the discussions was also devoted to the Internet medium, where most youths are to be found today.
exchange4media was the online partner for the event, while ‘Pitch’ and ‘impact’ were the media partners.
Syndrome of living beyond means
The post-lunch session on day two saw the participation of Suraja Kishore, Vice-President, Strategic Brand Planning, Lowe Lintas; Anisha Motwani, EVP - Marketing & CMO New Markets, Max New York Life Insurance Co Ltd; and Neeraj Roy, Managing Director & CEO, Hungama Mobile.
Speaking extensively about the need for insurance and planning for youth, Motwani said, “Categories across products target youth. Today’s youth do not want to conserve and save for their future and hence, insurance products are also not designed with youth in mind. So, it’s a different challenge altogether here. Advertisements for cars, electronics and lifestyle products entice the youth to spend, whereas insurance will exhort that excess spending is bad, so save money.”
Motwani further said, “Financial products are educators and guide the youth. Statistics say that 47 per cent people under 20 years will reach 55 per cent by 2015. Eight per cent of credit card users are first time earners. Sixteen per cent young people pay their own dues and 65 per cent of their money is spent on entertainment expenses. Kids in metros spend Rs 4,000-5,000 in a month, whereas kids in small towns spend Rs 1,500-3,000. It is a syndrome of living beyond means. Young people have no knowledge of tax planning. An early start to wealth planning and creating is very important. Young people should plan risk management for life and liability.”
Neeraj Roy noted, “There are huge opportunities in the digital landscape and it is a fascinating sphere. The market is large and still at a nascent stage. Mobile phones have the highest adoption in any medium.”
Device and connectivity are driving the digital medium. Roy further explained, “With large devices storing more, speed and connectivity getting faster, it is a commercial reality. In future, Internet will be accessed through mobile phones. With digital medium, multi-tasking has become a lifestyle and byte sized information is driving convergence.”
Youth are the change
Peppering the presentation with ads on Tata Tea, Idea and Fair & Lovely, Suraja Kishore said, “Youth does not want change, they are the change. The commercials showcased highlight how young people today have an independent mind and demand change. Technology is always related to young people, and to reach youth you have to go beyond categories. With evolving categories, marketers and advertisers have to strategise accordingly. The mindset of the youth has changed completely. For example, today young people will buy a brand only if it fits into their life and not because it is cheap or free. The kind of transformation that is taking place today is breaking all the barriers like caste, class, etc.”
The last session of the day saw eminent speakers like Vikram Sakhuja, Chief Operating Officer, South Asia, GroupM; Dr Sujaya Bannerjee, Chief Learning Officer, Essar Group; and Girish Shah, Head - Branding, Reliance BIG Entertainment Ltd, taking part.
Making them walk the extra mile
Giving his views on what made youth marketing different from marketing to, say housewives, males or kids, Sakhuja said, “Marketing is making a consumer walk a mile for a brand, and marketing plan is investing resources in advertising, impact and associated imagery, ideally in a manner that engages (rather than intrudes).” He further said, “Youth market is a point of market entry opportunity, malleable and aspirational mind stage. Therefore, use all the possible mediums like digital, radio, TV, etc. to cater to the youth market. But while choosing the TV medium, do not look at ratings, look at reach and stickiness that helps your brand reach your target audience.”
Referring to a dipstick study conducted on Gen Y, Dr Sujaya Bannerjee said, “There are several predictions regarding talent pool. But what is Gen Y? Gen Y is considered as the most active and competitive. And what does it looks for? It is always looking for technology, agile work environment, rapid and meaningful learning, and social responsibility. These are the four points that Gen Y looks for.”
Bannerjee added, “According to the dipstick study, Gen Y wants relative freedom of expression, proper work environment, believes in development and career growth, flexi-working etc. Gen Y also has big expectations of company leaders and is always ready to redefine its success. Gen Y always believes in keeping options open. It believes in catering to the needs of ‘I & Me’. They are basically jacks of all trades and masters of none. They want supportive management system too and so on.”
Youth is an attitude
Making a presentation on marketing to a wired India, Girish Shah said, “Youth is an attitude and a way of life, and it has nothing to do with how old we are. For youth, expressing oneself is very important. Eighty per cent of a youth’s life is on the Internet. Technology has changed physical and emotional mindsets of the youth. You will find that the youth are always online or on phone.”
Screening a few advertisements of zapak.com, he added, “Consumption of Internet amongst youth is very strong and, therefore, interactivity among them is also increasing. Digital medium in today’s scenario is really effective, if you want to create your brand awareness amongst youth. A brand is not faceless, you need to show that face to your target audience and that is what zapak.com did through integrated marketing to reach its target audience.”
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