Where are the Millennial Marketing Case Studies?

I have been searching for Millennial marketing cases to feature on the Millennial Marketing wiki-space. They are not easy to come by.

Several of my Gen-Y focused Twitter buddies assure me that these cases exist and that there actually quite a lot of attention being paid to Millennials by marketers (more on this in a moment). But it’s difficult to point to much of substance in the literature.

As a professor who also practices marketing, I emphasize real world cases when teaching.

In my undergrad class, we study the timeless Principles of Marketing , but my goal is to have students see those principles at work in the marketplace. I use a very recently published text (MKTG3 by Cengage) that offers current cases, via print and video. It features companies like Kodak, Method, Sephora, Red Lobster, Apple’s Garage Band and more.  A case analysis is required prior to most classes. Four entire class sessions this semester are devoted to student reports of ‘environmental scans’ – articles analyzed in terms of marketers’ decisions to change the marketing mix in response to changes in the marketing environment.

My MBA class also features cases and the class maintains a blog to discuss current marketing events.  The final project required students to create a brand strategy for The HomeMade Pizza Co.

The strategy behind using cases is more than just temporal relevance. Cases are the foundation of marketing knowledge.

Marketing borrows heavily from other academic disciplines. While I might get some pushback from my colleagues on this, in my opinion, there is little in marketing theory that is original to marketing. It draws on Sociology (Diffusion of Innovation) Anthropology (culture & meaning), Psychology (Maslow’s Hierarchy, Laddering), Economics (Price elasticity, Product Life Cycle), Biology (Diffusion of Innovation), even Theology (Word of Mouth marketing & evangelism).

If newspapers are the first draft of history, then Ad Age, Brand Week, the Wall Street Journal and Business Week are the first drafts of marketing text books.

Marketing successes today are standard marketing practice tomorrow. Consumer needs change,  market research offers new techniques for understanding those needs and marketers have different options and challenges for addressing their audience. That’s why everyone is watches innovators like BMWFilms, Pepsi Refresh Everything, and even the Burger King Subservient Chicken campaigns. (All of these have been topics of discussion for my classes at some point.)

It concerns me that marketers are not sharing their knowledge. The blogosphere is alive with advice on how to leverage social media, the importance of cause marketing, and more. But with few exceptions (such as Ford Fiesta) there is little hard case evidence to back it up.  Despite diligent searching for nearly two years, I have just a dozen cases (with results) featured on the Millennial Marketing Cases page of our wiki-space. (Please send me links to others if you have them!)

Of course I understand the concept of corporate secrets and I am not advocating that companies lose their competitive edge by revealing all they know. Scott Hess of youth market research company, Tru Insights, responded to my Twitter plea with this series of comments: (read from bottom up)

Hess makes some great points. But the case for sharing is equally strong.  The rules for Marketing to Millennials™ are still being written. Until marketers are willing to share what they know, it will be hard to generalize about the principles.

Comments below are all from @ScottHess of Tru-Insight Research, which focuses on “tweens, teens and twenty-something research”. What do you think?