JCK Show: Marketing to generations X & Y

Cynicism, a love of authenticity, and a desire for emotional involvement are among the signature traits of Generation Xers and Yers, according to Armando de Peralta, marketing manager for the Gemological Institute of America, Carlsbad, Calif. In his “Marketing to Generations X & Y” presentation yesterday, de Peralta offered jewelers some insight on how to appeal to these traits and emotions.

“Both of these groups are cynical about hard-sell advertising,” de Peralta said. “But, they respond to humor and irony.” Therefore, keep your marketing plans “invisible”-do the opposite of what Madison Avenue does. He also reminded jewelers that these young shoppers are intellectually precocious and technologically savvy.

De Peralta cited several examples of companies with advertising that successfully reaches the two generations. Some of Breitling Watch Company’s print ads feature a single watch and a brief phrase written to target older Generation X males. “And they work,” he said. Diet Coke’s print ads strike an emotional chord with the two generations: One pictures a white page and the sentence: “She hides love notes for me in my suitcase. Diet Coke, that certain something.” This ad relates to an action that Xers and Yers can identify with.

Other aspects of the younger generations are that they work to live, and that they insist on value. “And value equals price, plus quality, plus image, plus experience,” said de Peralta. Baby Boomers are more interested in discounters, he noted.

Suggestions on how to brand small businesses rounded out the well-attended presentation. Imprint branding-reaching consumers while they’re young-was strongly recommended, as was including value-added content on Web sites and giving grading reports, if necessary, with purchases. “Consider your brand to be a person that a Generation Xer or Yer would want to meet,” de Peralta said.