Reasons “Y”

Gen Y is a hot market

Gen Y is a hot market… if you know how to reach them.

What’s the largest market in the U.S., eclipsing even the tremendous buying power of the Boomer generation?

If you said it was Generation Y, you’re correct. With over 80 million Americans belonging to the under-3o market segment, so-called “millennials” have more buying power than any other age group in America.

Marketing To The “Net Generation”

Look, everyone knows that MMA is extremely popular right now… but if you think that’s the only service you can market to this age group, you’re wrong.

The fact is, consumers in this market segment may very well be interested in the full gamut of martial arts programs and fitness services you offer… however, the key to capturing the attention of this market follows two very closely related guidelines:

  1. They have to like you.
  2. They have to be able to relate to you.

Now, by “you” I’m not necessarily talking about you personally, but instead about your “brand” or “image”. Consider that with smaller schools, the instructor/owner tends to be the brand, but that still doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be constrained by your personal preferences when it comes to creating your school’s image.

Things to remember about millennials are that:

  • They tend to be influenced heavily by the relationships they create and the social groups they belong to,
  • They react very negatively to plastic/fake/insincere marketing,
  • And they are strongly attracted to companies with a genuine interest in social responsibility on a local and global level.

Reaching Gen Y With Low-Cost and Grass Roots Marketing

First of all, it helps to be seen where they are… namely, on the internet; more specifically, on social networking sites, social video sharing sites, and in the blogosphere (via micro-blogging services like Twitter and blog platforms like Blogger and WordPress).

However, marketing using these methods can be tricky – be aware that if you go for the hard sell, you’ll lose their attention every single time. The best methods of getting your marketing message to this audience involve building relationships and then gently letting your “friends and followers” know what you do and offer.

Remember also that you should be on websites like Facebook and using service like Twitter to interact and communicate with your clients. In turn, your clients will be telling others about your service… that is, if they are happy with and impressed by the services you are providing.

Final Thoughts

Certainly, there’s tremendous opportunity in capturing the attention of the under-30 crowd. Smart school owners will be spending time studying this market segment to deepen their understanding of what makes them “tick”, and learning to reach them by establishing an online presence on social networks and using social media.

Mike Massie is the author of Small Dojo Big Profits and runs a martial arts business coaching website for new instructors and small school owners,

Questions? Comments? Completely disagree? Let the world know – post your comments below:


  1. Mike Massie on March 17, 2009 at 10:04 am

    One thing I forgot to point out in this article… you’re going to be seeing more and more of this market segment as customers for your kids classes in the coming years, as they mature and start families.

    Learning this market now will ensure you’re able to reach them locally and retain them as customers for years to come. 80 million consumers cannot be ignored…

  2. Jason C. Brown on March 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Hey Mike,

    This is a great post. If I could add one thing…it helps if you remain young at heart as well. Our kids love the fact that our instructors aren’t afraid to play games and get dirty and simply be a big kid from time to time.

  3. Mike Massie on March 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks, Jason.

    FYI, I’ve been known to be a BIG kid at times myself.

    Having fun is part of what makes it worthwhile to teach…

  4. Javier Lozano, Jr. on March 18, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Hey Mike,

    This is really good information… Funny, how I’M in the same generation (28 yrs old) – Gen Y and trying to figure this market out myself :-) … Anyways, I do agree with many of your points, especially the “fake” & non genuine. I’ve had more clients tell me they like to do business at my school b/c I’m honest and upfront about everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, I try to get people in the door first before I tell them my price, but once they are in my school and I have ‘showcased’ my art by making their child look awesome, I am upfront about my product & services offered. It is a tough generation to hit b/c we are so… into technology and what’s good for the world/environment. Almost like your 60s/70s flower childs… But, I do admit, I’m that geek that researches everything on the internet before I make a purchase… I go through, have a FaceBook profile for myself AND my school. I do whatever it takes on the social network in the web world to be out there…

    Overall, great article.

    The Dojo of Karate

  5. Mike Massie on March 19, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Great comments, Javier! It’s nice to get some insight from someone with perspectives from both a consumer and a business owner’s view.

    Honestly, I strongly believe that, for those school owners with a long view financially, Gen Y is THE market to understand and build relationships with.

    I just hope more school owners sit up and take notice of this.

  6. Jeet Kune Do Enthusiast on March 19, 2009 at 11:17 am

    If you need any more advice on whether social media is the way to go with this, all the people who have commented on this post are generation Y (including myself). Better not miss out boys and girls.

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