The Futility of Marketing Apartments to Gen Y

“I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you, too…” —Abraham Simpson, The Simpsons

There are tons of articles about what Millennials are looking for in an apartment. You know the drill already. Come on, sing it with me: Wi-Fi, pet-friendly, areas to socialize, green. But everyone wants these things now, not just Gen Y. And, really, Gen Y is the same as Gen X were when they were younger, as were Baby Boomers. Just with better technology.

And, Gen Y is aging. The oldest are already *gasp* in their 30s. And, while some are still going out and partying all the time, others now have jobs and families and responsibilities. So while they still want Wi-Fi, green features, a pet-friendly community (and, really, who doesn’t?), they’re also concerned with apartment features typically marketed to the older generations—more space for their families or for a home office, safety, quiet, etc.

See, different generations? We’re not so different, you and I.

I’m sure soon there will be articles asking the same question of the next generation (I’m guessing they’ll be called Gen Z, but maybe some marketer could come up with something a little jazzier). And, again, it’ll just list the all-the-rage features that everyone wants.

Which is why we need to stop asking: What are Millennials looking for in an apartment? Instead, look at the market around you and appeal to the specific age range.

Any excuse to have a picture of Matthew McConaughey is a good excuse.

There will always be new people entering that age group. To paraphrase Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey’s character in Dazed and Confused, “That’s what I love about these renters. I get older, and they stay the same age.” (Of course, McConaughey’s Wooderson was actually talking about dating high school students, but whatever, minor detail.)

Instead of trying to appeal to Gen Y, try to appeal to 20-somethings, and make that your niche. Today that would include fast Internet, a fancy gym, all that fun stuff. In a few years, maybe it’ll be something else. Hoverboard rentals, maybe? I don’t know. But keep abreast of what that age group is looking for, and fulfill that need. If you want to appeal to families, have a playground and a “tot lot.” For college students, talk about the proximity to campus, as well as nightlife. Again, look at what that age segment wants, and then provide it.

And then, maybe, all the generations could finally get along.

What do you think about marketing to Millennials?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor