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In a study released by the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University’s Lubin School of Business’ IDM Lab they found that Generation-Y likes social networks, but still prefers e-mail and text-messaging to communicate.

The study evaluated time spent and the communication preferences of Gen-Y consumers using e-mail, social networks,  texting, visiting (non-social-net) websites, talking on the phone, reading a magazine and watching television. Most notably, 26% of people surveyed said they wouldn’t give up e-mail or text-messaging if they could only use one of the above tools for one week. And only 9% said they wouldn’t be able to give up social networks for a week.

Chart About Generation Y's Preference

Chart About Generation Y's Preferences

I don’t think it is any surprise that Gen-Yer’s need their e-mail and texts (an average of 740+ sent each month), but what is interesting is when you go further in the study. The research found that the average Gen-Yer spends 33 hours a month on social networks compared to 31 hours on their e-mail. I think this highlights that social networks aren’t competing so much against communication tools as they are competing with media consumption, which means that brands need the content to compete.

Why should marketers care? Why not just plug your online budget into e-mail campaigns and mobile promos?

The study actually evaluated the interest Gen-Y has with mobile marketing promos and the interest is rather low. 59% of people studied had no interest in receiving mobile promotions.

Generation Y Interest in Mobile Promotions

Generation Y Interest in Mobile Promotions

Marketers get so caught up in the buzzwords of the day: Twitter, E-mail, Facebook, Corporate Blog, etc. And they think we need to be on there; we need to be doing this; but what marketers really need to do is evaluate their consumer. Go where they are and use what they are using.

If your product or service is geared to Generation-Y, then I would propose a broad mix for your online strategy. Each product and service strategy will be different because of what they offer, so I am not going to propose a specific mixture. But, mark my words, marketers that find a balance in online presence and a concrete content strategy will reap the rewards of this generation.