Apples vs. Oranges and Fickle Readers: 7 Tips to Appeal to the Generation Y Audience

Generational Gaps and the Generation Y Audience

Appealing to members of your own generation can be tough, but appealing to another generation altogether can be like comparing apples to oranges.

Why should you even compare? There’s a simple solution: Apples, ask the oranges what they want and vice versa.

The Great Generational Divide (or Is It?)

Look at the similarities of the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Every generation has rebelled in some fashion from the preceding generation over the circumstances they’ve inherited. And every generation has referred to the subsequent generation as lazy, arrogant, apathetic, and lacking in the respect department.

The idea of a generational gap serves to create a divide – separating “us” from “them.” It feeds rebellion or nurtures cohesion. Rather than seeing this as a gap, see it as an opportunity and bear in mind that we have all lived and witnessed incredible advancements in technology, from comforts to medicine. The similarities that bring our generations together outnumber the differences.

Apples and oranges, throw all prejudices of age (whether it be young or old) completely out the window. Each generation contains an incredible group of people who have and will rise to the occasion.

Shermaine C. on Marketing to a Generation Y Audience

In her article, “Marketing to Gen Y-Ers and Why Old People Are Failing Us,” Expert Author Shermaine C. fervidly proposes how to market to a fickle Generation Y Audience as well as gives vigorous insights into her generation.

Albeit an energetic defense, Shermaine’s article has 7 key elements that struck me as accurate and compelling recommendations when appealing to a Generation Y audience:

  • Avoid phone numbers that require the consumer to speak to a person. “… Generation Y-ers’ friends live in their computers … We shrivel at the thought of having to communicate face-to-face with strangers.”
  • Drop the mentoring act; coaching is something friends do. “We don’t want coaching calls that start off with getting to know each other. You’ll have to be our friend first before you get to coach us.”
  • Provide engaging and informative content that can be accessible 24/7. (e.g., videos, articles, etc.). “We text, not talk. We’re selective listeners … you can talk all day, but we’ll only listen when we want to.”
  • Become an informant by providing relevant content. “Our updates are strategically delivered to us via Facebook and Twitter throughout the day from our network of carefully selected informants from all over the world.”
  • Ditch email marketing when appealing to the Generation Y audience. “… we don’t check our emails … there’s not enough group engagement going on there.”
  • Get ratings and reviews from their peers. “Online social validation is of utmost importance to us, though, and we take our friends’ recommendations seriously – never mind the cost of those shoes.”
  • Become a divergent thinker by finding new approaches to old methods. “… old-school methods are expensive. And dying. The concepts behind them are timeless, for sure, but the methods … they’re dying …”

Generalities of generational differences aside (i.e., there’s no use comparing apples to oranges – in the end they are both fruit!), do you agree with Shermaine? Is there anything else you would like to add? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!


davidinnotts writes:

Too much stereotyping going on here! Yes, the ‘generation gaps’ and identities have a wide but fuzzy identity, but this crosses many other human subdivisions, which may well be much more important to us when focussing on an audience. Male/female; tech savvy/not; monied/poor are all much more important dividers than the ‘generation’ (which is not quite the same thing as ‘age’).

I think we need to focus on a much more tightly defined audience, and appeal to them much more directly than Shermaine C is suggesting – though her ideas are useful.

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM


Jeff Herring writes:

While it’s good to consider a wide appeal, if you fail to consider the way the generations receive messages, whether you agree with their style or not, you risk leaving money on the table…

~ Jeff

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 9:58 AM


Jarvis Emerald writes:

Nothing substitutes for the novelty of how we got here, traditional values. Using the New technology creatively to interact or socialize has become attractive, and I believe you have to surf it, per say, to have it demonstrate any additional value to your choices. – Have fun with it, but don’t be Nieve…you are leaving a footprint…make it green.

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM


Shermaine C. writes:

Many thanks to EzineArticles for sharing my piece, and I’m glad to see it stimulating conversations here!

I never intended for the article to be an in-depth study on the way different demographics behave across the board.

What I’ve written is an opinion piece … and as we all know, opinion pieces are highly stereotypical in nature.

I like to think of this article as a passionate speech on paper … and you’ll have to read the full article to find out why.

Kind Regards,

Shermaine C.

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM


Joaseph Dabon writes:

I guess this generation gap thing, or any kind of gap, has existed as far way back as history can tell us. This is nothing strange.

Exploiting this is probably the same, too, except now we use different tools to get to as many people we want.

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM


Aprilette writes:

This article is an eye-opener not only for adults but for the youth in general. I agree that adults do have lapses in terms of communication with the younger generation. This can be attributed to a lot of factors, stress, financial difficulties, marital and family issues at home.

The young professionals or so called “yuppies” have less stress to deal with so they can focus more on work, bonding with friends and be more productive than ever. The youth today see technology as a way to entertain themselves to keep them busy, since their parents are out working and are too busy with their careers.

So in a way, you are right in pointing out that adults communicate differently with the younger generation and therefore build a gap.

In my own perspective, the gap only exists if you let it exist. Adults and the youth should both do their share in bridging the gap and should prioritize family time more than over everything else.

This is the only way for a family to survive in this crazy world today.It’s all a matter of sacrifice and the willingness to give what you can for things to be better.

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM


Sujit Paul writes:

Good Stuff. Thanks for the comparison.

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 11:04 PM


Arun Goyal writes:

Well, All the points fall much in conformity with the Y audiences except for the one that addresses that they go with what friends recommend (and that too something like shoes).

Well, this is a contradiction,what I believe personally is they are most attracted towards something that they think is ‘first’ to them and unique – they like to be competitive. Look at their bikes they all the modified to make them look different – keep their identity. Also they like to be served with variety much.

Well, anyways its a nice article otherwise and depicts the Gen-Y very well. Thanks!

Comment provided February 7, 2013 at 11:42 PM



We should also note that most of the things we use in this generation were invented by the older generation. I think we are only building on what was left behind.

Comment provided February 8, 2013 at 4:24 AM


Jarvis Emerald writes:

If you build it…We will show you how to use it in ways you haven’t seen before.

Comment provided February 8, 2013 at 4:54 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Interesting, if the X’ers are indeed your audience, then I suppose you have to pander to them, tell them they’re special and all that jazz. But really it’s time for that generation to grow up.

Comment provided February 8, 2013 at 8:15 AM


Tashana writes:

The workforce is and has already become a team based environment. GenYers who don’t like the “face-to-face stuff” will and continue to suffer greatly when communicating in a project/team milieu.

These seven ‘recommendations’ paint this generation as a sect of socially senseless non communicators who only care about the number of Twitter followers they can amass in the shortest period of time. In the world of business are these sustainable attributes for success?

Comment provided February 8, 2013 at 5:35 PM


Gracious Store writes:

No generation is inferior or superior to the generation before them. No generation would have survived without the generation before them. An older generation needs the younger generation to continue where they stop, so as to perpetuate the life of man on earth. This continuity does not imply that the younger generation must do the exact thing the generation before them did.

The difference in views and approach to reality may be what is needed not only to complete what the older generation began, but to perpetuate it.

For two or more generations to co-exist harmoniously, they must be mutual respect and understanding.

Comment provided February 8, 2013 at 10:15 PM


Jarvis Emerald writes:

Past Generations May need to ‘Let Go’ more and adapt from their traditional ways and the new Generation may need to hold on to some of the old Ways…of thinking and practices – in order to ideally allow grounding and appropriate innovation.

Although there may also always be the ones that never change. Visa Veras, their may be those that are a bit on the EXTREME side too, and push boundaries.

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 5:28 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

It is my sincere belief that ALL of that is about to change, and this generation will solve the old-aging issues which have caused the change-overs. In doing so those older folks still living will stop all you younger folks from repeating these perpetual follies. That would be a good thing. Grow up X’ers we can’t wait all day — time to get with it — talk is cheap.

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 5:52 AM


Jarvis Emerald writes:

Hmmm…interesting point about Solving old-Age issues….that would be something. It has a warm, yet curious sound to it.

I hope that the wisdom present in this world will also be present in the way we use the internet…or simply, communicate. Maybe a HTMO New language will replace HTML and The Way a computer thinks will be…well, you get what I am saying.

I Suggest the warm way…with no telling what might happen. I appreciate the thoughts though.

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 6:09 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Good points, plus, just in case they don’t solve the old age issues – all us writers better put down all that information onto the Internet so that the next generation has that information at their disposal to carry on and not make the same errors.


Jarvis Emerald writes:

Errors are being cleaned up as we speak. I trust that.

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 7:23 AM


terri suresh writes:

Interesting when you link to Shermaine’s article above, her voice and arrogance is exactly WHY gen y-ers cannot close sales with the biggest customers, the Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers (You know, the ones with money to spend). Here is a comment from her article: Gen y-ers Inherited a Broken World and Our Tactics Are Better Than Yours

Article Source:

Rather than tell us through her article that Gen Y-ers ways and ideals are better and how they have no interest in actually speaking with anyone, and all communication of Gen Y-ers is via technology, she should explore and expound upon ways we can learn to communicate in each others specific gender language. The attitude of “this is how we are, so deal with it” is very telling of the Gen Y group, and Shermaine displayed that attitude beautifully in her article. Just to be clear, most of my employees at my office are of the Gen Y-er group, and have MUCH to bring to the table, so no hate here, (as Shermaine pointed out, we love to hate the Gen y-ers… SO inaccurate! Most of us just dont UNDERSTAND the Gen Y-ers, much like the Gen Y-ers dont UNDERSTAND the other generations).

TRUTH: ALL generations MUST learn to speak the others language to learn and grow from each other, as we each have amazing gifts to share WITH EACH OTHER. If you would like to learn more from a REAL generational expert, google Anna Liotta and see what she has to share!

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 8:41 AM


Jeff Herring writes:

Great comment, Terri… thanks!


Robert Connor writes:

“We text, not talk. We’re selective listeners … you can talk all day, but we’ll only listen when we want to.”

So true, awesome post Penny!

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM


Randall Magwood writes:

I agree with some points of Shermaine. Generation Y-ers. However, ditching email marketing is something that I wouldn’t recommend. Different strokes for different folks. Not every Generation Y-er dislikes email marketing. Whether they’re young or old… information that they signed up for and are really fascinated with will bring good response.

Comment provided February 9, 2013 at 11:26 PM


Rudee writes:

You can not put all the generations in one hooper. I am in the over 65 group and I do realize the importance of technologies, but verbal communication for all the other things like texting is taking over. The younger generation is just too busy. Not sure with what to do with unless they receive a text. I can get through to people faster with texting then emailing.

Comment provided February 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Respect must be earned, please explain this to an X’er today if you will


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