Bruce Temkin and Ross Popoff-Walker in their presentation, "Designing for Young Consumers" featured a Top 10 list to keep in mind in designing experiences for Gen Y, those adults ages 18-27 by Forrester’s definition. Now, a member of this special group myself, I was curious to see what their findings were. These young consumers:

  1. Are continually connected – Text messaging, IM and social networking sites are key communications tactics for these tech-saavy consumers.
  2. Speak their own language – They use abbreviations, emoticons, and slang.
  3. Are skeptical of authority
  4. Are influenced by peers – The rely on recommendations from friends and family when making purchases, and are peer reliant overall.
  5. Seek recognition and fame
  6. Enjoy absurdity and odd humor
  7. Embrace a variety of subcultures
  8. Skim text and information quickly – These young eyes process information 5x faster than adults, according to Resource Interactive.
  9. Easily bored
  10. Expressive and digitally creative –, created by a 17-year-old CEO, features the tools that allow people to personalize their MySpace page. Double trouble for this point; a young CEO features products for what is usually a younger demographic.

The most interesting point I think will eventually unfold from this is how to speak to this audience using their own language. It’s not just using emoticons and LOLs in your messaging language to engage these young consumers. The integration of technology, message and involvement (research, both qualitative and quantative) will be key to capture the gold-fish like attention span of this young group. Expectation and experience matching is key.

What successful tactics has your company used to captivate Gen Y?