Gen Y Nation Declares No Texting Zone

Discussion
Aug 15, 2007

By George Anderson

Marketers are excited about the advertising and promotional possibilities presented by text messaging to consumers’ cell phones. Gen Y consumers, given the results of a new study by Maritz Research, may not share that enthusiasm, at least when marketers fail to keep messages relevant.

It’s clear that Gen Yers have the text-messaging bug. According to Maritz, 69 percent of these consumers send between one and 10 text messages a day. The average number of messages Gen Y shoppers send daily is 17.

The fact that Gen Y consumers send so many text messages may be part of the problem, as far as retailers are concerned. These shoppers see text messaging as a tool for personal communications and not receiving offers from merchants and brands. Sixty-five percent of respondents told Maritz they were “unlikely to or would definitely not subscribe” to ads coming to them via their cell or PDA.

Only five percent of those responding to the Maritz poll said they subscribe to offers via text.

Gloria Park Bartolone, division vice president, Maritz Research’s Retail Group, doesn’t completely rule out using text to reach Gen Y shoppers but cautions “retailers need to be relevant to this audience to make it an effective channel to communicate.”

While Gen Y may not be getting the text message, many within the group are open to ongoing communications with retailers. For example, 48 percent belong to a retailer hosted online group, 26 percent have posted a product or service review online, and 67 percent use online reviews when making decisions on what and where to purchase.

“Because peer opinions are extremely important to Generation Y, they’re likely to take online reviews posted by their peers to heart,” said Ms. Bartolone. “Retailers should also pay close attention to blogs and online reviews mentioning their products and brand and consider fixing problems that repeatedly come up. Retailers need to show Gen Y they are listening.”

Discussion Questions: What makes Gen Y different from other consumer groups when it comes to buying goods and services? Do you see this Maritz research indicating anything unusual about this group’s receptivity to electronic offers? Are there retailers or brands that excel with Gen Y and how is this feat accomplished?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

16 Comments on "Gen Y Nation Declares No Texting Zone"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jonathan Starets
Guest
Jonathan Starets
14 years 9 months ago
This is such a broad category. Without putting some parameters around these text messages and understanding what these messages would be about and who they will be from, the 5% number is actually irrelevant. It doesn’t relate to how any of us would actually use the medium. Example: If you ask my kids if they want to get text message marketing, they say NO! Really, who would say yes to receiving random text messages? We wouldn’t put our email address on a spam list, same for our cell phone. But ask my kids: How about if you could sign up for text coupons from Abercrombie & Fitch or Tilly’s, they will send only one or two messages a month and you could stop them at anytime. Would that interest you? The answer changes to a solid YES! Our cell phones are always with us and a text message coupon from a store of our choosing would be a convenient alternative to paper, especially since we will never forget that coupon at home now! If it’s… Read more »
Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Gen Yers are great text messengers. They also generally dislike advertising. As a result, unsolicited, irrelevant text messages are likely to have a boomerang effect.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 9 months ago
There’s far more common sense being spoken here than seems to reach the ears of marketers. Gen Y or whoever–people do not appreciate receiving unsolicited advertising messages in their own personal time and space. And they certainly do not want to pay for the privilege of receiving it. Such a simple concept. Just because there is a cool new way of communicating, doesn’t mean it should be a free for all and sundry who want to sell something. One thing not raised is privacy. All those who subscribe to MySpace, Facebook, what have you and/or post their blogs or comparison shop online have got one major thing in common. They choose when, where, why, how and to whom they expose themselves. That is generally not deemed an invasion of privacy because they have the initial control, even if once it reaches cyberspace they lose that control. But that is not the same as having their privacy invaded at someone else’s whim. Keep out seems to be the message. Always has been. Probably always will be,… Read more »
George Anderson
Guest
George Anderson
14 years 9 months ago

The key is it has to be opt-in. Don’t try to sell me something but be there to help me if I’m interested in buying. I agree with earlier comments that direct marketers would be thrilled with a five percent number.

David Biernbaum
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Also keep in mind that the margin of error is anywhere from zero to 100% for these types of surveys depending on how the questions were phrased. For instance, “Do (you) enjoy getting ads in the form of text messages?” NO! Different question: “Would you be receptive to getting free music downloads via text messages?” OK, MAYBE!

David Biernbaum
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

The Maritz study shows that only five percent of those responding to the poll said they subscribe to offers via text. Who could possibly be surprised about such findings? I’m shocked only about the five per cent that do respond. Retailers need to be relevant to this audience, and fully understand the culture, to make it an effective channel to communicate.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
14 years 9 months ago

The Gen Y group is a generation that is all about them. They are very individualistic. (Note: MySpace success) They don’t join clubs and they aren’t interested in promotions if they sacrifice their free time. They want things when they want them, how they want them, etc. So it’s not surprising that they don’t want text messaging unless they have requested it.

The best way to market Gen Y group is to individualize your message and create a personalized marketing plan.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Texting ads may be Gen Y’s direct mail. Assuming that’s true, a five percent response rate is actually pretty good. Hello…advertisers…these folks aren’t responding well to printed spam. That said, I don’t know enough about the study (sample size, how it was conducted, etc.) to understand whether it means anything or not.

Bernie Slome
Guest
Bernie Slome
14 years 9 months ago

Statistics and numbers can be made to say whatever one wants them to say. Since when is a 5% response rate on a direct marketing piece not good enough? Yes, Gen Y is very into themselves. But if the offer is enticing enough, they will have no problem with it.

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

It would be interesting to see how many people would sign up for free advertiser-supported cell phone service. Text message ads, ad voice mail, no do-not-call restrictions, in exchange for a free cell phone. Maybe get free music, too. I bet that millions would sign up, many of the same people who watch advertiser-supported broadcast TV.

Shaun Bossons
Guest
Shaun Bossons
14 years 9 months ago

Isn’t this the same as any direct customer communication?

It seems that retailers are doing everything they can to get closer to their customers, but this strategy ends up decaying with a generic message. Until retailers work harder to understand individual customer requirements and desires and then plan at this granular level, adoption and success will be low.

From in-store marketing, product offering and many forms of other formats of advertising, we are seeing retailers miss the mark.

Anne Howe
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

With three Gen Y kids, I have experienced the full blown onslaught of text messaging, social networking sites, blogs, and more. What I witness every day is ultimate convenience, defined on their terms. So they will indeed define which marketers will have the honor of communication with them. But I also see a fall-off in the “constantly on” mode as they start to define their parameters in a more mature ways. They narrow options by time constraints, and then focus on quality and relevancy, not volume.

That said, I do think their “beloved” brands will get permission to communicate just about anything, because part of their DNA is sharing innovation instantly. Marketers will have to understand that “relevancy” can change quickly, and that it may be a matter of timing and repetition to get them involved when “they need you”–not when you need them.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
14 years 9 months ago

This Generation and also somewhat the Xers, are believers of “word of mouth” advertising, in what ever fashion and means it can be accomplished.

This is going to be a very “rude awakening” for the brands and companies that believe they have found the vehicle to selling the Gen Yers (and X Generation).

Thank you Maritz, for bringing this subject to the forefront!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm It is time for MAD MARKETING to help!

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
14 years 9 months ago

The government needs to get involved here. I don’t want to receive text messages from anyone. The thought that some car dealer or fast food operator can send me a text message is an invasion of my privacy. In addition it is a financial burden as I HAVE TO PAY for text messages. As we speak, I am getting text messages from someone trying to interest me in micro cap stock. I believe this is illegal, as all my phones are listed with the appropriate state and national “do not call” lists. I would encourage a national policy of non intrusion. Can you imagine spam on your cell phone and having to pay for it whether you want it or not? Advertisers beware…NO ONE WANTS THIS!

Ben Ball
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Reading this makes my thumbs hurt.

There is absolutely nothing different about how Gen Y is responding to unsolicited advertising messages versus any other demographic. We all hate it. And we therefore do not respond to it. Thinking that texting is somehow a new way to communicate is nonsense akin to thinking that online ordering will somehow change the dynamics of home delivery.

There is a great commercial running in the Chicago area from Comcast Cable in which the protagonist calls someone who has previously rejected their overtures (e.g. a jilted mate) and expects the result of their call to be positive because they are now calling on “my new Comcast digital voice phone service.” Predictably, the result is of course still the same–rejection.

Take a lesson….

Nina Choe
Guest
Nina Choe
14 years 9 months ago
I really don’t think the potential consumer will be liable for paying for these text messages. Most likely, the advertiser and/or phone company will work that out (and eat the costs) because the repercussions of pushing a text message on someone and making the potential customer pay for it isn’t going to go without any major complaints and problems (plus I don’t think it’s legal). Today’s consumer sifts through hundreds of sales messages (internet, magazines, billboards, etc.) daily and they know when they like (or don’t like) something right away. Individuality and being unique is so important to this younger generation which tends to have a distaste for mass-anything. What’s great about the convenience of text messaging in retail is that the consumer could text message a store with a purchase or put something on hold. But this is a convenience for them, and not a push of an advertisement that most-likely, they’re just not going to care about. I agree with the comment below about how this young generation will seek out the retailer… Read more »
wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

What do you believe is the most effective way to reach Gen Y shoppers?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...