publication date: Jul 6, 2012
author/source: Janet Gadeski
Entitled generation. Future customers. Social media
connectors - or reality-dodgers. However you view them, the millennial
generation, sometimes called Generation Y, will eventually be the majority of
your potential audience. Born between 1981 and 1989, the youngest are just
graduating from post-secondary training and developing their adult habits,
while the oldest are already taking up leadership roles.
Understanding this demographic, says marketing expert Colleen Dilenschneider
, is essential for your
future. What's interesting about her insights into Millennials
is that more and
more, they apply to older demographic groups as well. She has five insights to
help you understand their mindset.
1. Sell your mission
It's cool to be kind among Millenials, she claims. Within
the for-profit sphere, 89% are likely or very likely to switch brands based on
cause affiliation, three-quarters are more likely to heed a company's messages
if the company is deeply committed to a cause, and two-thirds consider a
company's social and environmental commitment when they decide where to shop.
That's good news for nonprofits. Play up your mission, but
be aware that just being a nonprofit isn't enough. For-profit companies are more
and more likely to trumpet their trust, transparency and communication, as well
as their social responsibility. That blurs the traditional notion that
nonprofits are the only purveyors of societal improvement.
2. Experience is everything
If you've never heard the phrase "experience economy," now
is the time to read up on it. As Dilenschneider explains it, Joseph Pine and James
Gilmore, who coined the phrase in 1998, claim that businesses must create
memorable events for customers. The memory then becomes the product. That, she
says, is what Millennials are looking for.
3. Get to the point fast
Millennials have what Pew
Research calls "AOADD" - Always-On-Attention-Deficit-Disorder. Habitual
multi-taskers, they are simultaneously connected and distracted. To get your point
across, you'll have to do it quickly, probably through pictures and videos.
4. Yes, you'll need social media
Using social technology is a natural habit for Millennials,
Dilenschneider explains. Over half believe that technology brings them closer to friends
and family and allows people to use their time more efficiently, according to
research from Pew. And for them, she continues, "the connections that
Millennials are making to brands and to one another online are real.
Organizations will benefit by understanding this and taking it seriously."
5. Help them be famous
Buzz Marketing CEO Tina Wells says Millennials are
marked by what she calls "Warholism." She defines Warholism as "the unending
quest for fame and the desire to attract attention by any means." That explains
their use of social platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
To inspire engagement with Millennials, Dinenschneider recommends
bringing them into your marketing and PR. A big part of it, she says, is saying
"thank you" meaningfully - something that good fundraisers already do. But the
means have changed, thanks to social media. For example, Kraft Macaroni and
Cheese individually thanked 4,800 fans who liked a Facebook status by listing
each one of them in a song. The song ran for over six minutes, but for Millennials,
it's the individual public recognition that matters.