It is impossible to envision the future of quitlines
without thinking about emerging technologies. To lead us wisely into a couple
of blog conversations focused on technology’s influence on the future of quitlines
NAQC asked Jack Boomer, Director of QuitNow Services for the British Columbia
Lung Association, to answer our 6th question: What strategies can we
use to engage Generation Y in quit coaching? Here
is what Jack had to say…
we speak of Generation Y or Millennials, we’re talking about those born
somewhere between 1981 and 1999 (13 to 31 year olds).
come of age in the computer and Internet era, this generation grew up in a
culture where the defining theme is "velocity," both in terms of the
rate of change and the pace of information. They’re the best educated
generation in history, have an incredible amount of tech resources at their
disposal and are potentially your next biggest customer.
Generation Y constitutes more than a quarter of Canada’s population. They’re bigger
than the Baby Boomer generation (1943 to1961) and six times the size of
Generation X (1962 to 1981). They’re also the generation amongst which we find
the highest rate of smokers. According
to Canadian surveys, more than one in four twenty-something smoke, and the
stats are a bit higher in the USA according to the US Surgeon General’s recent
our Canadian surveys suggest Generation Y smokes fewer cigarettes than older
smokers. And while they try to quit more often than others, they do so with
less success. Sounds like Generation Y could use our help, but how do we
get through to them?
First, hang out where they do
media is where they live. They communicate via Facebook, Twitter and many
other social media sites and sleep next to their cell phones. They surf
the Web for everything, watch more YouTube than TV, and are used to having a
world of answers at their fingertips. If your quit service doesn’t offer
multiple service delivery options, especially online, you can forget about
having a big impact on reaching this generation.
Second, don’t market to them, engage with them in conversation
Y loves a collaborative environment and thrives when working in groups. Before
they buy into anything they do their research. They read online reviews, browse
websites, ask questions, and find out the pros and cons of any service. They
look first to peers for help and guidance (friends, family, online communities,
social networks and chat rooms), not so-called experts. If you want them
to choose you for advice and guidance, you better keep an eye on what the world
is saying about you online.
Third, provide regular recognition and rewards
referred to as the "everybody gets a trophy” generation, Generation Y grew up
being rewarded as much for participating as winning. They like regular feedback
and are motivated by rewards. In fact, market research confirms this generation
rates organizations with loyalty reward programs as the top incentive looked
for in exchange for personal information. It also confirms many are happy to
promote your service in exchange for rewards. If you’re looking to invest
in an awareness-building campaign, make it interactive and reward people for
participating and helping spread the word.
Finally, offer multiple service options
reach Generation Y, I believe the way we deliver our services must mirror the
way that Generation Y seeks information and support. We need to expand
our definition of quit coaching to include text messaging support, mobile
applications, online video chat counselling (using Skype for example) and live
chat (see the National Cancer Institute’s version https://livehelp.cancer.gov/app/chat/chat_launch).
need to get out of our comfort zone and meet the tech savvy Generation Y where
they live if we are going to make a difference and help them quit
The BC Lung Association is up to the challenge
through the use of QuitNow Services (QuitNow.ca) – are you?