Our world is changing rapidly. Technology is developing faster than ever. Information is shared and made available everywhere.

Generation-Y is the first generation that grew up with the Internet, and these Millennials are used to having everything at their fingertips. They are pragmatic, connected, bold, and eclectic. Marketing, therefore, will never be the same again. Merely pushing advertising doesn't work anymore. One-way communication simply doesn't do the trick.

Based on interviews with 21 global marketing executives from various industries (including from Converse, Heineken, Abercrombie & Fitch, BBC, Microsoft, and Reckitt & Benckiser), we defined a five-step plan for marketers to improve their marketing toward demanding Gen-Y customers.

Step 1: Make it relevant

Everything Starts With the Product

If your product isn't doing what it promises, you may as well close the books. Youngsters can find information anywhere, and they are asking feedback from peers all the time. For them, it is all about price/quality: Are you offering something valuable? Are you merely selling products… or facilitating and endorsing Gen-Y's life?

Don't Forget About the Company

Being true to who you are is key. It's about wearing the company value glasses in everything you do. Storytelling, authenticity, and uniqueness add more than you would expect: They reflect Gen-Y's core values and sustain your corporate identity.

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image of Joeri Van den Bergh

Joeri Van den Bergh is a Gen Y expert and co-founder of InSites Consulting, a global new-generation research agency with offices in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He is the author of How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generation Y.

Twitter: @Joeri_InSites
LinkedIn: Joeri Van den Bergh