What Marketers Need to Know and Do to Market to Millennials

Marketers and Demographic Changes

Marketers are known to ahead of the curve in terms of intuiting and sensing market trends and changes in consumer behavior.

This is especially the case with marketers who keep themselves abreast of demographic changes and ensure that they are on top of the situation when devising marketing strategies for different age cohorts.

Indeed, ever since the end of the Second World War which ushered in the consumer age with a bang, marketers have been targeting the then young Baby Boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) and after that, the Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1985) in a precise and scientific manner aided and helped along by market research and other tools.

Marketing in the Twentieth Century and Marketing in the Present Times

This has taken the form of Marketing aimed at the Boomers and their penchant for cars, fast food, and FMCG or Fast Moving Consumer Goods which did take off with them. After that, the marketers realized that Generation X would be more focused on the trendy and hip hop as well as being the bridge between the machine and the information age.

Therefore, marketing evolved with the times and the Generation Xers were thus enticed by marketers with targeted campaigns.

Turning to the present, the Millennials who were born in the late 1980s and 1990s are the first generation who has completely grown up with the digital, internet, and Smartphone revolutions.

Hence, they form an age cohort which is radically different from earlier generations in the way in which they have embraced technology and vice versa.

Thus, to adapt and adopt to this demographic segment, marketers have begun or are already in the process of designing marketing strategies aimed at the “Digital Natives” (so called because they represent the melding and the merging of the consumer and digital media and channels.)

In this context, it would be worthwhile to note that marketers need to grasp this essential fact about Millennials and that is that unless the ad and sales campaigns use technology, either as the key or central theme, or in the background, and at the same time, use digital and social media to reach out to the Millennials, they are hardly going to make an impact.

No wonder that any brand worth its name has a presence on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and also, no marketing campaign is complete without using technology extensively.

Some Characteristics of Millennials

Apart from this, marketers need to understand that the present generation of Millennials is known for shorter attention spans and even shorter listening and viewing times.

Thus, while Marketing Gurus such as Philip Kotler used to say that any ad or marketing campaign has to sustain interest for at least a few minutes, the present marketing experts point to even shorter times to grab the attention and keep it going.

Indeed, the Millennials are characterized by their migration from Facebook to Instagram and vice versa because they seek the instant gratification at any cost, and while the former was earlier known to have some depth, the latter (as its name implies) just focuses on the “here and now”.

In addition, marketers need to understand that the Millennials have distinctly polarizing views on issues related to current affairs, politics, and society and fashion and hence, any ad or sales campaign has to take sides necessarily and not take the middle ground too much.

Indeed, as can be seen from the recent Presidential Campaign in the United States, outrage and shock and awe campaigns work alongside more in-depth and focused ones.

While the former led to the election of President Trump, the fact that Bernie Sanders ran a campaign on weightier issues and managed to put up a good fight shows that Millennials defy the normal characterizations and both sides of the spectrum can engage with them.

Millennials and Income and Social Trends

Further, the Millennials are likely to carry student debt and not move out of their parent’s homes well until their late 20s, and this is something that marketers need to keep in mind.

For instance, the combined effect of the Great Recession of 2008 and the Huge Student Debt Bubble has been that Millennials are indeed strapped for cash.

Hence, marketers should know this for a fact before their launch their campaigns. At the same time, due to the insane income inequalities and the glaring wealth gap, marketers must first decide which socio-demographic group is their target and hence, devise strategies accordingly.

Millennials and the Workplace

Before any marketing campaign is launched, marketers must also ensure that the Millennials are perhaps the first generation to break away from the stereotype of 9 to 5 jobs as well as a job for life characterizations that the Boomers and the Xers to some extent were known for.

Indeed, no ad campaign would be taken seriously unless the theme of individualistic and customized working arrangements are addressed if the brand being marketed has anything to do with the workplace or jobs.

Future Uncertain and Present Shock

Lastly, the Millennials do understand that their future is precarious and uncertain while at the same time, being unable to have a grip or control over the accelerating trends that define the present era.

In times when trends change within days, and when Twitter Hash Tags change by the Hour, marketers cannot be blamed if they are slow to respond or react.

Thus, what we have now are marketers who are operating on a 24/7 basis as can be seen in the way the responses and the initiatives of their campaigns operate in real time.

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