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Why Gen-Y Consumers Respond to Viral Marketing Campaigns

Viral Marketing. It’s a word I’m sure you’ve heard a lot over the past few years. A video or campaign sneaks in, in the middle of the night or middle of the day onto the global web, and soon begins burrowing it’s way into multiple facets of your online, and off line life. So what makes them so successful or appealing? A lot of it has to do with the communal aspect of it. You have people working together to unlock a puzzle for a movie trailer, or a shopping deal. Some of the smarter marketers have turned the whole campaign into a game of sorts. Gen-Y craves social interaction, and viral marketing allows us to share in this phenomenon with our friends, and peers.  It plays to our lust for exclusivity as we strive to be the first to share these campaigns totally forgetting about the fact that we’re doing all the hard work! Word-of-mouth marketing still reigns supreme, and viral marketing plays a big part in that. The only way Viruses can survive is if they’re spread, and we look forward to helping spread the message of our favorite movies, stores, and products.

Why are we so eager to help spread the word? Well it’s usually for things we care about or find entertaining. Gen-Y is happy to endorse products they support, and want to share those with their friends. Also, as I alluded to before, there is usually some sort of prize involved. Take the recent The Dark Knight Rises viral campaign. Millions of people worked together to unlock the puzzle that went live on April 30th. This is one of the most anticipated movies in the last 3 years, and the released the final trailer via a massive viral campaign. Fans like myself were treated to the hard work of others who quickly began sharing the newly revealed trailer via Social Networks. Soon the entire Internet was a buzz promoting the new trailer in the early morning hours of Monday May 1st. Everyone raced to alert their friends, and their friends would alert their friends. We were all working together again to share this small moment with our peers.

This is why viral marketing is so successful with Gen-Y or Millennials. It appeals to all the things that excite them. And viral marketing is not excusive to the online world. Keeping with the Batman films theme, I recently walked into a local watering hole here in Boston, and proudly displayed on the cash register was a bumper sticker proclaiming: “I believe in Harvey Dent”, a fictional character from 2009’s The Dark Knight, and a integral piece in the viral marketing of that particular film. Viral marketing can be highly annoying some of the time, however it is terribly effective most of the time.

The Six Gen-Y Consumer Segments Explained

While most people attribute certain stereotypes to Gen-Y, new research by The Boston Consulting Group, Barkley, and Service Management Group shows that there are actually six different types of millennials. Of course, it’s silly and simplistic to categorize an entire generation into little niches and you can’t stereotype an entire demographic. Millennials are actively engaged in both consuming and influencing and are optimistic about business and government making a positive global change. Millennials favor brands that have Facebook pages and mobile websites over non-millennials. In fact, 53 percent of millennials explore brands on social networks, while only 37 percent of non-millennials do.

They are far more likely to be the first to try new technology. For instance, 72 percent of millennials have an MP3 player, while only 44% of non-millennials have one. The research broke millennials down into six different groups, including hip-ennials, millennial moms, anti-millennials, gadget gurus, clean and green millennials and old school millennials. Here is the breakdown of each group and advice on how they can be better consumers:

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