Why It’s Time to Hit Pause on Millennial Marketing
The Millennial generation is bombarded with over 5,000 marketing messages a day, resulting in poor twenty to thirty-something’s being left with an attention span of only around eight seconds.
It’s a wonder marketers even bother, given Millennials are also cash strapped, apparently don’t buy products (only experiences) and are burdened with debt. Millennials, a term coined by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe to describe people born between 1984 and 2004, are the most mused over and misunderstood generation in history.
According to one marketer writing in The Drum, content marketing “done right, can be the path to ad-loathing Millennials’ hearts”. Maybe the only path, since ads now get blocked and traditional push marketing doesn’t work.
And then there’s other brands that have opted for a more modern approach – just take a look at this press release from Chevy’s of their 2016 Cruze car.
Drug-Free Kids, an American nonprofit, spent $8 million on the campaign below. To some, the first line reads, ‘Eyeballs, the number one, ant, peace sign, flexing arm, inbox, peach.’
The entire message actually reads (in the supposed digital native language of Millennials): “I want to fit in, but I don’t want to smoke.”
Glad we cleared that up.
It’s either genius, since drug use, especially between parents and teens/young adults can be a difficult subject, or this is generational advertising finally jumping the shark.
Assuming, then, that you would rather your marketing message to resonate with your audience than end up dissected by marketing peers and bloggers, how should you go about engaging Millennials the right way?
Here’s a few tips:
- Don’t treat them differently than any other consumer group. As one millennial marketer rightly pointed out, “that segmenting an audience into a patronizing label isn’t the way to endear yourself to anyone.”
- Don’t relinquish brand authenticity and integrity for the sake of hoping you will be down with the kids. Using emoji’s, music, videos, or any other technique that you think will endear you to Millennials won’t work if it’s not aligned with your over-arching brand voice and strategy.
- Remember that Millennials are, at the end of the day, paying customers, just like every other clumsily segmented demographic group. And just like any other group, they establish brand loyalty with companies that meet their needs.
- Use the right methods, tools and platforms – but that’s where the marketing should stop. The message should, unless there’s a specific reason to change it, be the same whether you’re selling to someone who’s 25 or 55.
Brands don’t need a special focus on Millennials. They’re not an alien race, they’re your customers – and, potentially, your loyal brand advocates, provided you’ve not spent the last few years clumsily trying to get their attention.