This document was received by the Digital Commons on May 14, 2008 and posted on May 16,2008. Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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Generation Y is poised to take over as the largest and most lucrative consumer group for marketers, a position that has long been held by the Baby Boomer generation. Generation Y, however, differs greatly from the Baby Boomers in their consumer behavior. This will lead marketers to have to find new and innovative ways to market to this large market. In finding new ways to market to this generation, marketers must have a clear and distinct understanding of who they are trying to reach. While this information used to be readily available through the use of demographics, since the members of Generation Y are so varied, marketers must use psychographics to now understand the inner workings of the Generation Y consumer’s mind to find the best way to market to them. Through a review of literature on the characteristics of the two generations and their consumer behavior as well as a survey of members of Generation Y, this study helps to determine the major causes for the differences between these two generations by profiling both groups and comparing their consumer behaviors. Generation Y’s consumer behavior differs greatly from that of the Baby Boomers which leads them to be not accepting of the traditional marketing techniques that have been used for years by marketers. This study also suggests new strategies that marketers will be able to use to better reach the Generation Y consumers. Marketers will be able to use experiential marketing to better connect with the members of this generation. Since the experience is more important to these consumers than the product that helps them achieve it, experiential marketing can help the brand bond better with the consumer. Marketers also are able to use the popularity of social networking sites to reach and connect with Generation Y consumers because a large contingent of these consumers currently uses these sites. One of the most important effects on Generation Y is the rapidly changing technology, most notably the effect of the internet on the way that this generation receives and processes information. Another strategy that marketers can use to reach the Generation Y consumer is through the use of cause marketing, which will help the company connect on a deeper level with this consumer’s strong sense of social responsibility. In marketing to Generation Y, marketers must be constantly aware of the changing attitudes and trends for this generation. The rapidness of changes in technology makes it necessary to continuously study the consumer behavior of Generation Y because as soon as one thinks that they may have a grasp on what this generation wants, those wants will have changed.

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