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Mind Your X's and Y's: Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers

Mind Your X's and Y's: Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers

by Lisa Johnson

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Today's 18-to-40-year-olds make for a notoriously elusive group of consumers: they're savvy, sophisticated, and particular. They're all but immune to traditional advertising and have an instinctive sense of quality and fair pricing. Inundated with choices, they are drawn to brands that satisfy not just what they need, but what they crave. At the same time,


Today's 18-to-40-year-olds make for a notoriously elusive group of consumers: they're savvy, sophisticated, and particular. They're all but immune to traditional advertising and have an instinctive sense of quality and fair pricing. Inundated with choices, they are drawn to brands that satisfy not just what they need, but what they crave. At the same time, these consumers are spending money like it's going out of style. Generation X has firmly refuted its slacker reputation and is nearing the height of its earning potential. Generation Y has more buying power than any previous generation of teens and twentysomethings. But how to win their attention and loyalty?

In Mind Your X's and Y's, Lisa Johnson proves that the buying habits of 18-to-40-year-olds can be anticipated. Johnson, coauthor of Don't Think Pink and a leading marketing consultant, pinpoints the new rules of engagement for this Connected Generation. Based on her own and others' groundbreaking research, she looks into the heart of the Gen X and Y psyche to identify its ten core cravings — for adventure, for high-concept design, for new families and social networks, and for personal storytelling, to name a few.

This revolutionary book is packed with fascinating case studies of established and breakaway brands from every major industry, interviews with dozens of maverick thinkers and hundreds of consumers, and numerous revealing statistics. Johnson analyzes the scope of each craving to determine how it drives specific buying behaviors and offers relevant data that illustrate its impact. Mind Your X's and Y's equips anyone who wants to reach these consumers — brand managers and their advertising, online, creative, packaging, events, and promotions teams; small-business owners and their marketing staff; advertising agencies and specialists — with the know-how to transform market research into profitable strategies.

Members of Generations X and Y are the most coveted and hard-to-reach consumers in the marketplace. Mind Your X's and Y's is a master class in how to create compelling brands for this Connected Generation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ignore the title, designed to keep the contents herein a secret, and grab this book right away. It's a revelation. You'll quickly get up to speed on what's been going on behind your back...an entire generation is playing by new rules, and they're prepared to live their entire lives without you — unless you get with the program." — Seth Godin, author of Small Is the New Big

"Want to reach the most connected generation of consumers in history? First you need to understand what makes them different and what makes them tick. With keen analysis and smart case studies, Lisa Johnson has cracked the code of this elusive group of consumers. No matter what industry you're in, you'll gain lots of insight and tons of great ideas from this book." — Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

"Mind Your X's and Y's is a captivating read from start to end. This fascinating book reads like a novel, and is hard to put down once you start reading. The case studies are informative and interesting, covering some of the best-known companies in the world, large and small. Any corporation marketing toward the X and Y generations will greatly benefit from Johnson's book." — Martin Lindstrom, brand futurist and author of BRANDchild and BRAND sense

Publishers Weekly
For those who want to know what the wired generations want to consume and experience, this book provides plenty of insights. CEO of marketing consultancy ReachWomen, Johnson clearly knows her topic, providing many examples of brands that have appealed to the desire for personalization, adventure, high concept design, loose family and social networks, spirituality and five other core "cravings" of 18- to 40-year-olds. Each chapter is also sprinkled with case studies to illustrate marketing success stories, ending in workbook sections with exercises that will help readers apply the advice in each chapter. In fact, readers would do well to read this book close to a computer or keep a pen at hand to jot down URLs. The volume of information is at once its strength and shortcoming: 10 chapters deliver on the subtitle's promise, but the information can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the author addresses that concern in the book's conclusion, where she outlines some ways to put new ideas to work within an organization. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
What used to work in marketing has changed, and many companies are trying to figure out how to react as their market shares erode. One way is to focus marketing efforts on a smaller demographic group and capture its loyalty. These new books focus on two such attractive population segments: baby boomers and the so-called Generations X and Y, which together form the 18- to 40-year-old consumer group. Curiously, Johnson previously wrote Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy, but here she opts for a generational rather than gendered treatment, while coauthors Brown and Orsborn, both executives at Imago Creative, a marketing firm specializing in baby boomer women, apply their expertise on marketing to women. Both books suggest that traditional marketing and advertising don't work with either boomer women or the later generations-as the prime audience, for instance, 18- to 34-year-old mothers can no longer be expected to watch the soaps-and attempt to explain both why and what can be done about it. The books observe what their subject groups do (at work and at play) and how they want to be treated. For example, Generations X and Y are really into technology, using it in new ways that allow them to form bonds with one another that generally escape boomers. In fact, baby boomer women really want technology to be as simple to use as possible, and they seek to use it in completely different ways. Both books provide ample case studies to substantiate their theories. Ad agencies, corporate libraries, and business schools should consider acquiring both volumes if they want to have the latest thinking on segmentation and targeting, but these are optional purchases for general circulation libraries, even with substantial marketing collections.-Stephen E. Turner, Turner & Assocs., San Francisco Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The Power Of The Younger Generations
Not long ago, companies made and marketed products and consumers decided whether or not to buy them. It was that simple. Then, according to Lisa Johnson, author of Mind Your X's and Y's: Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Customers, Generations X and Y gained market prominence. This shift necessitated an entirely new means of connecting with these hard-to-reach but coveted consumers. Gen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1979) are reaching peak buying power, and Gen Yers (those born between 1980 and 1997) already have more buying power than any previous generation of teens and twentysomethings.

Both groups have grown up amid rapid technological growth, which has changed the way they think, and what and how they buy. Many companies are too dependent on conventional product development and marketing methodologies to understand how to reach these multitasking, constantly upgrading, "connected" generations.

According to Johnson, these two Gen groups - together comprised of consumers ages 9 to 41 - constitute a newfangled market with extremely diverse needs and motivations that is changing the rules of engagement between companies and consumers, creating what Johnson calls the "New Market Code."

The Essentials
To kick off the book, Johnson details the five essential criteria (experience, transparency, reinvention, connection and expression) of the New Market Code. The first criterion is experience: Today's consumers want to try new activities, explore, test personal limits, feel truly alive and shake up routines. Experience is currency; it sparks conversation and connection and helps people understand each other.

Transparency is the second factor. The new market is an anti-spin zone. Nothing slick, overpackaged or fake will work. Both companies and consumers need to get comfortable with full disclosure. Accountability is key.

Reinvention also plays a large role in the new market. Once something new or a new way to buy it clicks, that item or procedure will rule. The pace is lightning fast and the old market hierarchies will crumble.

Connection is the fourth criterion. In Johnson's new market, people blend their talents and share information to improve the experience for everyone. Consumers want to interact with brands and companies and make suggestions for the products they like. Connections equal power.

Lastly, in the new market, there's a desire to express oneself, to customize everything. The result can be raw or amateurish, as long as it's real; nonetheless, it's all about expressing individualism. The anything-is-possible credo that drives people to seek their fame on reality shows and Web sites rules.

The 10 Consumer Cravings
According to Johnson, marketers can win over Gen X and Gen Y if they approach the following 10 consumer cravings - and demands - of this demographic.

  1. Shine the spotlight: Extreme personalization gives marketing a new face.
  2. Raise my pulse: In a cubicle-focused world, consumers need you to shake their routines and remedy their boredom.
  3. Make loose connections: It's about the new shape of "families" and social networks. The Internet allows people to connect due to their interests, not their geography.
  4. Give me brand candy: Customers want to be part of the intuitive design process.
  5. Sift through the clutter: Editors and filters gain new prominence. When there's too much information, we need tools to discover what's essential.
  6. Keep it underground: These generations rejected push advertising and created peer-to-peer networks.
  7. Build it together: Connected citizens want to explore their collaborative creative power and influence change.
  8. Bring it to life: Orchestrate everyday activities to deliver a sense of theater.
  9. Go inward: With these groups, spiritual hunger and modern media find common ground.
  10. Give back: Volunteerism and community contributions are redefined.
    1. Why We Like This Book
      Johnson devotes a highly detailed chapter to each of the 10 cravings, along with brief case studies that look at how companies have successfully responded to them. Each chapter contains a workbook section with questions and exercises on how to implement ways of meeting these cravings, an addition that facilitates both personal study and group discussions and gives marketers the understanding and tools they need to reach Gen X and Gen Y. Copyright © 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

Free Press
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

Lisa Johnson is a marketing pioneer, skilled researcher, and expert on consumer behavior. She is the coauthor of Don't Think Pink and CEO of The Reach Group, an international marketing consultancy that helps companies create more compelling brand experiences for women (ReachWomen.com) and the Connected Generation (ReachGroupConsulting.com).

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