Marketing to Millennials

*Note: After much input from the community I want to clarify something. The point of this post is not to knock down GenX. There are plenty of great success cases of GenXers succeeding. However as a generation they are following a generation that has (due to numbers and late retirements) held them back considerably. The notable difference with GenY is that we have developed an overall mistrust of employers. This has led to an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped us rise more quickly than the previous generation. Simply put we don’t wait for a job, we either find the job or create it. The point to this post is to encourage consideration of GenY when marketing and highlight the fact that there is a growing need to market specifically to GenY.

I’ll admit, I really enjoy the whole Millennial vs Baby Boomer debate that is growing now that more and more millennials are entering the work place. The most fascinating thing about the debate is that it seems to be all written by boomers, to boomers, in hopes to understand millennials. Very rarely do you see something actually written by a millennial.

The reality is that boomers are retiring, and fast. In 5-10 years there will be more individuals in decision making roles that are millennials than boomers. Generation X has largely failed to succeed in the corporate world; millennials are showing signs of leaping over Generation X in the workplace at an astonishing pace. In order for marketing to continue to be effective millennials must be accounted for in marketing strategies.

The problem with this is that boomers often struggle to understand us millennials, and have a very hard time marketing to us. The generations are so vastly different that boomers struggle to understand why their traditional marketing fails at a high rate. This has led many marketers to take drastic measures such as abandoning print that still does not produce results.  So speaking as a millennial here are 5 tips in marketing to millennials:

1 – Get your idea out quick: I often get hit with marketing pieces developed by boomers that open with a paragraph of information. Mellennials are constantly connected, which means we have a steady stream of information coming in at all times. We quickly decide what to pick up and what to toss and we move on to the next item. Your message has to show immediate value.

2 – Engage us: We like challenges and involvement. Find ways to pull us into the marketing material and make us a part of it rather than simply pushing information.

3 – Wow us: We are so bombarded with information and marketing that we feel like we have seen it all. We are the ADD generation; show us the cool shiny toy that takes our attention away from everything else.

4 – Make information available: We are informationaholics (yes I just made up a word). Once you get our attention we crave and need more information. I’ve wasted days digging for information on a company that got my interest. Heck @AlextCone is still digging up info on @charitywater a year later. Make sure a wealth of information is available to us on the back end to complete the marketing pitch

5 – Don’t forget the print. Yes we live digitally, but because of that a well crafted print piece can quickly accomplish 1-3. Make your print piece relevant, engaging, and most of all creative. Work in things like dimensional printing, die cuts or shiny foil press, to make it stand out and grab our attention. Follow it up with a web link that is specific to that piece that gives us more information.

  Greg Henderson is marketing and social media professional with 8 years marketing and online experience. Greg has worked with several companies focusing on integrating online and offline marketing.

The sources for this have been pulled from a number of presentations, articles, and books on the topic of generations that I have attended or read over the past year or two. I will update the below source list as I am able to recover these:

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