There are several moving forces and market conditions that have created this groundswell of interest in marketing to the consumer segment coined as Millennials. As Jack Loechner points out in his Research Brief, “Advertising to Millennials” this audience is considered by many to be such a valuable target for a few very simple reasons. First, these consumers, defined as being born between 1981 and 2000, are the largest population since the Baby Boomers. Second, their purchasing power will help drive the economy for years to come as they continue to adopt and purchase the newest technologies, form brand affinity and loyalty for the first time, and take over from the aforementioned “Boomers” as the engine that will drive the U.S. Economy.
The social media revolution is another important game changer that points towards change. CMO’s across the country confess they have yet to find a way to truly integrate social media across all platforms to create a unified strategy within their marketing mix. CE’s own Adam Feldman touched on the challenges of going deeper than a Facebook “Like” in last week’s blog.
The real marketing challenge for connecting with this consumer segment is twofold. First is the explosion of technology. This younger generation has grown up in a digital world and most often communicate through several devices and social platforms at the same time. It’s important not to mistake this “splitting” of their attention for lack thereof. In fact, it can be said that because they are attached to their friends via social media, plugged in 24/7 to the internet through a laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone, that they are more engaged and potentially receptive to a brand’s marketing message.
The second challenge is understanding the way Millennials communicate with the world around them. It is important to remember that they are a sensitive, yet powerful generation. They have grown up in a world where they are more likely to be friends with their parents than the recipients of heavy handed discipline. Young adults and their parents often reverse roles as teacher/student especially when it comes to the fast paced world of technology. Millennials tend to put off major life events like settling down, as evidenced by the increasing average age of young adults getting married. What may be most critical to understand about Millennials, is the importance of their desire to be accepted by their peers. This is why peer recommendations play a major role in their decision making process. They need to know what their friends think about the products and services that are vying for their attention.
By understanding the social, economic, and technological moving forces behind this target consumer segment, we can now revisit how to deliver an effective advertising message. Brands must start with a foundation of authenticity and creativity to encourage “conversation” with Millennials. An undertone of humor, fun, and excitement will build the conversation even further. It is ok to acknowledge that Yes! we are marketing to you, but we have done our homework, appreciate where you come from, and how you got here. Ultimately it is the acceptance and recommendation from friends that will be the tipping point for engaging with this moving Millennial target!
by Mark Giovino, VP of Business Development at Campus Entertainment