One hundred marketing professionals came together yesterday at Share Like Buy to learn from each other about the most powerful generation to date – millennials. As a millennial by birth and marketer by profession, I was excited to hear what my peers in the industry had to say about their experience working with, messaging to and creating campaigns for millennials
Lessons to remember when Marketing to Millennials™
Keep it real
Millennials are not fooled by brands’ big claims. Brands winning with millennials are more authentic, transparent and unique than their peers. Jim Schwartz, CEO and President of the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchise operation reminded us that 50 percent of millennials agree that a brand says something about “who I am” and “where I fit in.” Brands that want to connect with this audience need to realize that their messages must be in alignment with millennial values in order to form a connection.
Listen to what they are actually saying
In the wise words of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kroger, Don Dillon, “I’m a baby boomer so I’m not the target audience, which means I have to listen to those who are.” There is a belief in the business world that if you are at the top you know what’s best for those at bottom. The reality is, millennials have inspired the Participation Economy™, which means they want to be involved in the creation process of the entire brand experience from start to finish. The only way to include these active consumers is by listening and acting on what they have to say.
Disrupt or be disrupted
There are only two options when it comes to positioning yourself in the marketing world, either be the disrupter or the disrupted. Naturally, the goal is to be the disrupter. According to Kevin McGinnis, VP of product development and technology for Pinsight Media+, constant innovation is the best practice for brands aiming to connect with millennials and embrace the disrupter mindset. However, McGinnis reminded us that entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones leading the innovation charge. Intrapreneuers are those that are working within your own company’s walls attempting to innovate office culture from the inside to result in better engagement on the outside. Without this, McGinnis warns, your brand will not survive.
Be on the forefront, prepare for GenEdge
While the majority of the conference was centered on millennial trends, The Sound Research weighed in about the impending wave of the next generation of consumers – GenEdge. This generation of consumers will be an amped up version of millennials. GenEdge is growing up with greater access to the world around them from a very young age and will be more skeptical of big brands. Instead of asking for help, they will to themselves to find the right answer to the tough questions. Brands that can’t help do that might as well pack up now.