Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company specializing in serving small businesses and entrepreneurship. Lesonsky has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media in 2008, she was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky received the “Champion of Small Business” award by the Association of Small Business Development Centers and was named one of the nation’s top 100 Small Business Influencers in 2011. Read more from Rieva at http://www.smallbizdaily.com/.
Are you marketing to young adults? Maybe your first step should be changing how you think about them. In the The Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults, a recent survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 to 29, more than half admit not feeling like they’ve reached adulthood yet. Clark University psychology professor Dr. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett coined the term "emerging adulthood" to describe this life stage.
So, how do today’s emerging adults feel about their lives, and how does it affect your marketing strategies? Here’s some of what the study found.
Definition. Asked what was the most important step in being an adult, 36 percent say “taking responsibility for themselves,” while 30 percent say “financial independence.”
Uncertainty. Nearly 60 percent believe when they do reach adulthood, it will be “more enjoyable than my life is now.” Currently 56 percent often feel anxious, and one-third admit to being “frequently depressed.”
Dependence. 52 percent are in touch with their parents—either in person, or via phone or email—every day. While some are happy about this, 34 percent say their parents are “overly involved” in their lives.
Financial worries. Dependence isn’t just emotional, but financial as well. Though 38 percent receive little or no financial support from their parents, 32 percent do get financial support frequently or regularly, while 31 percent receive it occasionally.
Traditional values. 86 percent expect to get married (and stay married), despite the prevalence of divorce in their families. But, 61 percent think they will have to give up some of their career goals in order to have the family life they want. Young men are as likely as young women to have these expectations.
Optimistic. Despite all the uncertainty, emerging adults are optimistic overall, with 82 percent saying of their lives, "It still seems like anything is possible."
How do these attitudes affect your marketing? Here are some suggestions to make your marketing work:
- Declaration of independence. Lower-priced, “fun” or impulse products and services appeal to emerging adults, especially if the accompanying marketing message addresses their desire to assert their independence.
- Apron strings. Young adults are closely tied to their parents—some by choice, others by necessity—and often turn to them for advice. If your product or service is higher-priced (perhaps requiring help from mom and dad to afford it), you may need to craft a message that appeals to parents, too, with an emphasis on safety, quality, or other clear benefits to the young adult “child.”
- Goal oriented. Emphasize how your product or service can help emerging adults achieve their goals, such as financial security, living on their own, or finding career and work-life balance. Make sure you appeal to the natural optimism of youth.
Emerging adults are an important market for every business—and understanding their hopes, dreams, and emotions puts you one step ahead in the marketing game.
The above information is provided by a third party and may not reflect the views, opinions, or policies of AT&T. AT&T makes no representations or warranties regarding this information.