Gearing Up for Future: Is Your Marketing Team Ready for the Millennials?

Research and experience clearly indicate that old-fashioned ideas of marketing might not work in an age of social media. The approach towards marketing is going to need tweaking – or maybe even a total overhaul. If you’re preparing to market your offerings to the millennials, the first step is to understand the concept of generational personas. Recognizing these personas have helped marketers to divide their prospect-pool and focus on strategic groups rather than individuals.

Traditionally, a generation is defined by the amount of time between someone’s birth and when they become parents for the first time. For ease of marketing, it’s a good idea to divide the groups of prospects similar in age, behavior, attitudes into orderly groups – classified as generational cohorts. Dividing prospects into generational groupings is a common practice that helps you build sustainable marketing strategies. These categorizations represent the generational differences among your prospects. These minuscule differences impact everyone differently. For instance, the subprime mortgage crisis, had a different impact on someone was born in 1982, than on someone who was born in 1998, a fairly young age. Similarly, movies, educational styles, values, and differences in other environmental forces play a crucial role in shaping up five major generational cohorts:

1. Greatest generation – born at the beginning of the 20th century

2. Silent generation – born 1945 and earlier

3. Baby boomers – born 1946 to 1964

4. Generation X – born 1965 to 1978

5. Millennials – born 1979 to 1999

Why is it important to understand the portrait of a millennial?

The family life, educational and societal experiences for the millennials were startlingly different from what other generations had experienced. Interestingly, the beliefs and attitudes of millennials constructed a common persona that imported and celebrated all the differences, traits and perceived behaviors. For marketing teams, the very first step is to understand the systematic differences of millennials, when compared to other generational cohorts. The strategies that served well for previous generations don’t work with millennials, and it can mean the difference between success and failure of a campaign. Understanding how a common millennial persona is developed is probably the most crucial step for any marketing team looking to target them.

How have times changed?

Remember the 1980s advertisements – with vibrant colors, puffed up hair, and trousers belted higher than usual. Those ads were happy, filled with songs and jingles, portraying a specific culture across television screens and radios. If you think about it, those marketing styles describe the whole generation, exactly as it were at that time. That is how the marketers saw them. On the other hand, the style might appear a little weird to a person born after 1990. That’s an important point right there.

The marketing messages and advertisements from previous generations appeal to people ONLY from that generation. The same tone and style might not appeal to a millennial.

By contrast, the young people today are entirely different from those in the past. This effectively means the Generation X style, with all those colors, and positivity might not work with the millennial living in a contemporary world. The Generation X style was made up of messages highlighting the emotions. Millennials, on the other hand, are moved with storytelling across the digital mediums. There is a clear difference. Modern marketing teams need to focus on these changing dynamics. A new perspective based on data, facts, and experiences of millennials has to start right now. The mindset has to be strikingly different from previous generations.

Diving inside the mind of a millennial!

Millennials are a generation of extreme beliefs. It’s the generation that has no limits to creativity, thinking, and expectations. Technology is almost taken for granted. The only human generation where the mindset is not limited to a certain idea or any societal restrictions. Lamentably, millennials are often wrongly imagined just as a young person – a gross generalization that should be avoided. Millennials are a specific generational cohort which cannot be divided by a fancy demographic segment defined by someone’s age.

“In fact, a millennial will always have the same values and ideas, not restricted by any age range. It’s just the way they’ve been brought up. Thanks to social media, millennials are free, open, well-informed, and a global generation – systematically molded by the education system, media, technology, and communication around them.”

It’s 2018, and the paradigms of marketing have changed. Interestingly, a lot of today’s marketing C-level executives are part of Generation X. That’s why they often struggle to recognize the mindset of millennials. Fact is, there is a definite learning curve when you’re trying to sell to millennials. It requires a rewiring of mind.

Recognizing crucial patterns (the secret message from millennials!)

When creating campaigns for the millennials, it’s important to get involved in their motivations, while acknowledging the styles and daily habits and issues that drive them different. Here are four important patterns for you to consider:

#1 – Making comparisons to arrive at the decision

A product is mostly bought after millennials have talked about it either online, off-line, or both. They’d like to check out a few reviews, might look into popular social noise platforms like Twitter, Facebook, e.g. They might view a couple of YouTube videos about direct competitors. That’s why plain advertising will never be enough to influence the buying behavior of a millennial prospect.  Advertising is just one side of the coin. You need the support of user opinions and word-of-mouth to market and sell your product or service.

#2 – Offering top-notch value is not just an added option

You can never win by bombarding millennials with marketing messages. Being a technology-savvy generation, they’ll just switch over to another marketing channel, or activate ad blocking to insulate and fail your campaign. The age of interruptive advertising is over. For millennials, advertising is another form of content they ‘have to enjoy’ for it to be successful. As an audience, millennials are tough to please. Since they’re not ready to watch a boring message, you need to attract their attention by offering VALUE in each moment. The marketing messages have to be creative, appealing, and always offering value in some form or other.

#3 – Millennials can make you go viral!

Smart marketers do realize the importance of virality. Know that you can count on an army of generous millennials that can be the source of success for most profit-driven marketing campaigns. The only recipe is to offer top-notch value. Don’t waste time and press the right emotional buttons. The viral campaigns can give you global visibility through social networks. Millennials have a deep respect for great communication which promises quality content – video, audio, news, or anything else. As a marketer, you have the unique opportunity to break the stereotypes and use digital mediums to achieve tremendous ROI on your campaigns.

#4 – Context and Timing are everything

The Internet has changed the concept and definition of time. Depending upon the virality something can be short-lived or everlasting. Quality is a BIG factor here. The online reputation, reviews, interactive posts can vanish in a matter of minutes. The millennials have grown up in a world where advertisements and banner disappear forever if you don’t interact or click on them. This is an instant generation (instant delivery, instant messaging, e.g.), and maybe that’s why the impact in the present moment is far more important than what happens five years down the line. There’s a general lack of interest for an action that happens too far in future. The marketing teams should understand the overall context and give their best offer, right now! Put your best foot forward in the next 10 seconds. That’s the only thing that matters!

Concluding thoughts

Millennials have a tremendous market influence & they’re probably the most studied and researched generation ever. With the death of traditional offline marketing channels, millennials are redefining the rules of marketing communication by introducing new triggers for purchasing decisions. For modern marketers, the battlefield is competitive, and adjusting to the prospect demands will be an act of bravery. To understand the new requirements, you need some relevant pointers to create a more significant impact and better numbers. You have to be ready for the change. With that in mind, we conclude the first of the 3 part series on this subject.

In recent years, without any proper research, young millennials are often misunderstood and misrepresented stereotypically. As a marketer though, you need to be more vigilant and understand the actual pain points of the target audience. To have all of your ducks in a row we’re going to talk about the crucial millennial MYTHS in the next post. These are common misconceptions that lead to flop marketing campaigns. Don’t forget to check out the Part 2 of the series.

The real meat is yet to come so stay tuned!!

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