Tuesday, May 09, 2006

KOM & Nawras Talk Gen Y

According to recent research today's marketers to be successful tomorrow, need to understand "Generation Y," aka Gen Yen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y). Born between 1978 and 1994, Gen Y’ers are as young as 11 and as old as 28, and they're the biggest thing to hit the scene since the baby boomers. In order to help Oman-based firms better understand this new, intelligent and highly tech savvy group, Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) has invited Mr. Ziyad Smayra (pictured), Head of Market Intelligence and Research at Nawras (http://web.nawras.com.om) deliver a Gen Y Marketing Open House seminar, scheduled to be held at KOM, 23 May at 5:30pm. Before joining Nawras, Mr. Smayra was Marketing and Research Manager for the Disney Channel Middle East (www.disneyme.com)

“For a lot of entrenched brands, Gen Y poses an enormous risk, it’s the first generation to come along that's big enough to hurt a boomer brand simply by giving it the cold shoulder and big enough to launch rival brands with enough clout to threaten the status quo,” remarked Mohammed Al Maskari, Acting Director General, KOM. As this new group elbows its way into the Omani marketplace, its members are making it clear that companies hoping to win their hearts and wallets will have to learn to think like they do. From a personal perspective, and as a Gen Y’er, I can see the real importance of this Open House seminar – it’s a fascinating topic that should be of interest to a wide spectrum of people,” added Al Maskari.

”Many Oman-based marketers perceive Gen Y as just kids. When they do that, they fail to take in what Gen Y’ers are telling them about the type pf consumers they're becoming. Let’s be frank, this isn’t about teenage marketing. It's about the coming of age of a generation,'' said Ibtisam Al Faruji, Open House Co-ordinator.

“Soon a lot of Omani companies are going to have learn the nuances of Gen Y marketing. In just a few years, many of this group will be out of university and shopping for cars, holidays, houses and investments and how will firms be tackling these issues? I’ve already received e-mails and calls from people that want to attend this session,” remarked Al Faruji.

Having grown up in a more media-saturated, brand-conscious world Gen Y’ers respond to marketing and ads differently. The Oman-based marketers that capture Gen Y attention do so by bringing their messages to the places these young people congregate, whether it's on the Internet, a skateboarding tournament, or in a sports clubs. “The marketing may be funny or disarmingly direct. What they don't do is suggest that the marketer knows Gen Y better than these savvy consumers know themselves,” commented Dave Pender of PEIE.

“Gen Y is a confident, self-reliant, optimistic and positive generation. The Internet, blogs, lap tops and iPods represent tools that are empowering this generation. As a result, these consumers are marketing savvy and much less brand loyal. Firms shouldn’t be thinking about building a brand for Generation Y; instead, they should be building a brand with them,” said Pender.

To reserve your free seat at the Gen Y Marketing Open House, send your name and contact co-ordinates to: Ibtisam@kom.om