Gearing Up for Future: Is Your Marketing Team Ready for the Millennials? (Part 2)

In the first part of the soon to be three part post, we discussed how millennials are redefining the rules of communication by introducing new triggers for smart marketing campaigns. Being a young generation which grew up with the Internet, makes them naturally addicted to social media. It’s a multifaceted cohort that lives mostly in urban circles, values authenticity, supports causes, and asks important questions.

With such a wide variety of unique characteristics on display, millennials often get a bad rap from ill-informed experts. You see, when big brands use audience research to understand what millennials prefer, their imagination is mostly limited to a tattoo-covered young individual who is constantly glued to social platforms.

The idea behind all of their research efforts is to find a single persona to create a marketing campaign that resonates with these millennials.

However, it’s difficult to limit such a large and diverse group into a single monolithic audience cohort. When the quest to find a stereotypical “millennial shopper” fails miserably, the so-called experts fill some gibberish in their persona reports…and that’s exactly where so many millennial MYTHS come into the picture. Something that needs attention right away.

If you’re looking to create an optimal marketing strategy, you need to examine these common myths and misconceptions.

With no single cookie-cutter plan for marketing to this unique group, millennials are often described in a very typical way with only a few supporting details in a profoundly distorted view. The time is right to address these common myths that lead to unsuccessful marketing campaigns. Better read up!

#1 – Millennials hate Television

There is no doubt that traditional media is losing its base to a certain extent. However, there are no concrete stats to prove that usage of television content among millennials has reduced remarkably.

With a considerable competition from high-quality streaming services on the internet, the quality of the TV content has to be top-notch. Millennials can only be engaged and involved if you showcase their values and talk about them in your video content.  So, if you’re looking to create a video ad or televised commercials, ensure that your content is in line with what the millennials like and appreciate.

Don’t do this yet

Television as a medium still works well. However, the material has to become at par with what is available on digital platforms – a challenge new-age marketing teams should address.

#2 – Millennials don’t follow brands anymore

Remember, millennials avoid checking out products in a shop.

In fact, when they first hear about a product or service, the reflex action is to Google more about the product and see if it’s worth it. Additionally, the physical shop has been successfully substituted by the e-commerce platforms. The specific recommendations from friends, family, and existing customers make up as the dominant “influencing sources” for purchase decisions of millennials.

With that in mind, maybe the brands (even big ones) are no longer relevant in a conventional sense. Even a known brand has to stick to their core values, and the marketing communication teams should try to generate a good buzz around their EXISTING customers.

For instance, the best way to remain relevant is to become a part of the customer experiences narrated by their friends, family, and acquaintances.

Don’t forget the influencers

Trust in a brand has become more important than brand awareness. That’s some serious food for thought for marketing leaders.

#3 – Offline shopping is dead

There are concrete reasons why millennials love e-commerce over offline shopping any day. One quick surf on any e-commerce platform and you can easily compare 3-4 products, all at the same time. We can look at the competition, read reviews, order within one minute and get the product in the 24 hrs. Honestly, that’s a hell of a lot of conveniences packed in one bundle.

If you carefully observe, successful e-commerce brands believe in creating an experience, a feeling of joy, and superb value at the point of sale. Something that good offline shops use to do for a very long time. It’s 2018, and if brands can offer the same (or even higher) level of customer experience, offline stores still work very well. 

We will still see this

#4 –  Millennials hate reading

Since the advent of the Internet, take a quick look at the nature of the media around millennials. You have websites, blogs, advertising campaigns, social networks, e.t.c. Even if they don’t want to, reading brand messages is become some form of compulsion. That’s why millennials have to grow up with a reading mindset. They are always looking for information that is intriguing, entertaining, and on the spot.

So the consumption of news and advertisements has certainly not stopped. Although, the medium has definitely changed. As a leader, your marketing messages should be interesting and suitable, offering all the necessary answers to your prospect. The marketing collateral should be top-notch (with a deep focus on every touch point.)

#5 – With social media, you get free advertising

Social media platforms offer a remarkable opportunity for targeted marketing communication. That’s precisely the reason why so many organizations have tried to take advantage of this connectivity and personalization.

There was a much simpler time when posting regular content on social media was enough for your prospects to take notice. However, with competition, the organic reach of platforms like Facebook and Twitter have continued to drop at a fast rate. This effectively means – a mix of paid and free advertising has to be the part of every successful marketing campaign.

If you’re looking to reach millennials, just believing in organic route might not bring the necessary ROI – something that a marketing leader should look into.

and Snapchat, and Instagram, and Reddit, and…

#6 – Millennials spend carelessly

Millennials live in a world filled with banners, online ads, and multichannel marketing campaigns. The culture of discounts, coupons, and loyalty cards is very much a part of the existing ecosystem.

57% of millennials respond to attractive offers like “buy one, get one free” from the direct mail. Coupons are still one of the most popular reasons for them to shift to another brand. Loyalty reward programs work well even today. Something that your marketing team should be aware of.

Millennials like any other human might buy something for stupid reasons. Additionally, a big chunk within millennials is known to be rather compulsive. Yet most of them are sensible with their money. Traditional marketing which helps them save money still works well (both in print and on digital!)

#7 –  Millennials don’t value settling down

Student debt is one of the most critical factors that have defined the 20’s and even 30’s of most millennials. The reason they did not invest in a great car or a lovely apartment is they simply can’t afford it.

That’s precisely the reason they’d like to save more money by purchasing online, another reason why e-commerce setups have developed that fast. Millennials also believe in “sharing economy” allowing their cars, apartments, houses to be shared. The only real purpose is to save more for their prime spending years.

So, the reason why millennials don’t value “owning things” needs a bit of research and a thorough inspection. This is probably one of the most common behavioral traits that most marketing teams miscalculate.

#8 – Loyalty from parents will be naturally transferred

Since millennials are well versed with a connected world and the powers of the Internet, they can often tell when somebody’s “marketing” to them.

They can also figure out a “forced” brand communication. Just organic messaging and unnecessary advertisements might not work.

So, a naive assumption that loyalty would automatically be transferred across generations is something that could lead to leaks in your marketing campaign.

Believe it or not, millennials are still a brand-loyal generation only if you engage with them directly and offer meaningful solutions. Hard-core selling techniques might have worked with baby boomers or the previous (read parents) generations. To get serious devotion from millennials, you need fresh content and direct engagement without sounding “salesy.”

#9 – Target: millennials  is a great idea

For some strange reason, even the bigger brands make a mistake of directly targeting the millennials with a customized “millennial offering.

For instance, car companies invest a lot of money to promote cars which are targeted directly to millennials. Most of the times this creates a doubt in your prospect’s mind, and they immediately feel that they’re being “ sold to”- a feeling they hate!

These offers become an instant turnoff for most millennials. It’s important for the teams to understand that marketing campaigns and advertisements shouldn’t be too direct. A good measure of subtlety is required. Just calibrate your marketing teams, so they avoid being too “in your face ” and salesy.

#10 – A common message should work

Using a single message is a common myth among marketing teams. It is widely believed that you can reach millennials across different platforms with a singular message. The idea is to hammer the message so many times that a millennial would recognize and respond with time.

Basically the same effect

…and that’s exactly what millennials despise. The thought of hearing the same message on every platform is an instant turn-off. This leads to content fatigue, boredom, and low conversions. Marketing teams should instead invest in personalized campaigns as needed on each platform. Make sure that touch points are personal and customized towards the exact needs of your prospects. More than 70% of millennials are happy to share their mobile usage data, only if you’re ready to provide more targeted experience to them.

Campaigns should always be designed keeping the audience persona in mind.

As a marketing team, you might need a resourceful group of writers, designers, and marketers to ensure that you have more than one message for all your prospects.

Concluding thoughts

Millennials are highly pragmatic consumers that demand serious value and high level of engagement. The digital and social space is their playground. If you’re planning to get attention in their turf, you need to be smart and vigilant.

Unfortunately, even when most companies have hired a “millennial expert” on their marketing team, it is surprising that most of these myths mentioned above are still being perpetuated. Marketing teams are still being lazy, devising campaigns that are based on age-old assumptions without understanding the nuances of the millennials.

The market is ready for you – provided you prepare to quash these millennial myths and gain the strategic marketing advantage that is much-needed in today’s competitive world. Only then marketers will gain the traction they desire with the modern millennials.

Since you have a fair idea about recognizing the crucial millennial patterns, and myths that are prevalent, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the best marketing plans that work in the real world. Stay tuned for the third and final part of this series where we’re going to talk about the specific millennial marketing strategies.

See you then!