George P. Johnson marketing manager Laura Clemesha (pictured below) may well be a Millennial herself but she argues she doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes or cliches that get peddled about her generation…
Millennials really aren’t the impatient, narcissistic and entitled generation that many say we are.
As one myself, I feel like I have a duty to debunk some of these misconceptions to help people understand us better, because if we’re not understood, then how can we be marketed to effectively? And, as the biggest consumer group in the world, marketers really need to be reaching us.
Right, brace yourself for a bit of a rant.
Firstly, we aren’t impatient; we have just become accustomed to things being fast and functional. The Iconic can deliver my new clothes within three hours of placing the order. This is the world we live in and non-Millennials need to keep up with the pace
Secondly, narcissism is a personality disorder, not simply someone who posts photos on social media. And even so, who’s to say that previous generations wouldn’t have done the same if they had the option. I feel like we are being blamed for technology that happens to exist right now.
Thirdly, just because our goals are different to yours doesn’t mean we are entitled. We seek out meaningful work, valuing this over job security and money. We like to feel involved and that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves because, as you told us when we were young, “the world is our oyster” and we should “reach for the stars”.
So now that’s off my chest and you hopefully understand us a little better, here are my tips for marketing to us:
We respond to authenticity:
User generated content, the digital version of word of mouth marketing, is so effective because Millennials are more likely to trust their friends and networks about a product claim than the actual brand. This is why influencer marketing has taken off. Influencers aren’t celebrities, they are regular people who have built a following around their passion which feels far more authentic. TIP: collaborate with an influencer who aligns with your brand.
We value experiences:
Blame social media but we are a ‘memories over materialism generation’ with three in four Millennials choosing to spend their money on an experience over buying something. Marketers can tap into this by engaging in experiential marketing, particularly as an overwhelming some 78% of Millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have face-to-face interaction with it. This is why more and more we are seeing brands integrating into millennial environments, like festivals, sporting events and malls. TIP: invest in an engaging and shareable public activation.
We like to feel engaged:
We want the opportunity to connect with a brand, 62 per cent of Millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. Social media should be used to not only talk at us, but to have conversations with us. How do you know what we want if you don’t speak to us? This is a mutually beneficial strategy as you gain valuable insights while making us feel valued in the process. TIP: ask us what we want, we won’t be afraid to tell you.
Millennials have a high level of ethics with more than 50 per cent of Millennials making an effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about, in addition to this, 81 per cent expect their favourite companies to make public declarations of their corporate citizenship. This shows the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and Mexican fast food chain, Zambrero is a company who are dominating this space. Their plate 4 plate initiative means that for every meal sold a meal is donated to someone in need, and they promote this initiative throughout their stores and online platforms. TIP: do something that contributes to the greater good, and promote it.
Millennials aren’t unreachable, you just need to know where to find us. So, stop buying into the stereotypes and telling us how we should behave and start adapting your methods to appeal to us, because at the moment you’re holding us to expectations of a world that no longer exists.