Cutting Through the Clutter With Millennials
“Millennials” are now those “adults under 40.” They’re buying houses, establishing careers, and raising a new generation of kids. Their needs are evolving. That means it’s time for marketing campaigns for millennials to rev up as well.
There are approximately 71 million millennials in the U.S. according to Pew Research, representing roughly 30% of the country's population. Millennial consumers are the largest and most diverse generation that the world has ever seen. Born between the early 1980s through about 2000 (in the early years of the “Information Technology Revolution”), they are a highly connected, “always on” audience. These individuals don’t know a world without personal computers and mobile devices. According to a Millennial Marketing Infographic powered by Futurecast, here are some key aspects of them:
- They make 21% of consumer discretionary purchases. This is estimated to be over a trillion dollars in direct buying power;
- 1 in 4 Millennials are parents today;
- They are social—40% of Millennials have 200+ friends on Facebook compared to 19% of non-Millennials;
- Millennials are 2.5 times more likely than other generations to be early adopters of technology;
- 80% of Millennials want brands to entertain them.
Today’s marketers must identify the best media types to effectively communicate with Millennials. Although some might think that direct mail is only for Baby Boomers, a 2019 CMO Council study titled “Channels of Choice” found that 85% of millennials prefer a blend of digital and physical channels to pave their communications journey with a brand. Key findings were reported in a webinar hosted by Canon and Target Marketing on Sept. 26, 2019.
When seeking information about new products, solutions, or opportunities, millennials rate social media as their top channel, followed by the web. Social media also has greater influence over their decision-making. According to 49% of Millennials, social media is the top influence channel across the omnichannel landscape, pushing out websites from the top spot.
The CMO Council’s study indicated that across all generations printed mail is actually one of the most influencing channels.. While still an expected channel of brand communication, printed mail is considered an influence channel, highlighting an opportunity for brands looking to disrupt decision cycles and insert their brands into the consideration cycle away from the clutter of an email inbox.
Millennials don’t care about the catchy phrases and features used to describe products – they care about authenticity. They also want a relationship they can trust. Print is still a trusted medium and if it is effectively personalized, it adds to the authenticity of a relationship. But this personalized experience needs to transcend all channels.
What this means is marketers looking to capture the millennial consumer need to use a number of the following techniques to differentiate communications:
- Make it simple: In today’s “always on” world, Millennials want answers immediately. They need to be informed right away about a product and its benefits. Information has always been just a click away to these consumers, so marketers risk losing Millennials if they force them to watch a video, create an account, and/or wait for an e-mail confirmation.
- Make it personal: Millennials are hardened by a lifetime of managing spam e-mails. To be effective, direct mail must be relevant to the individual. Relevance instantly adds a degree of appeal and believability to a direct mail piece.
- Make it interactive: For young adults who have been inundated by online requests and marketing initiatives, direct mail has a certain credibility. It can also be tremendously effective for leading Millennials to online resources. When it comes to marketing success, the right blend of print versus digital is critical.
- Make it omni-channel: Brands must ensure that their product information is available in all forms—mobile, in-store, online—so Millennials can access it anytime and anywhere at a moment’s notice. Millennials should also receive cohesive messages as they navigate across various channels.
Marketing to Millennials isn’t optional for marketers; these consumers possess a huge amount of purchasing power. In today’s “all channels on” environment, direct mail and printed catalogs continue to cut through the clutter. Service providers must work with marketers to develop fully integrated marketing plans that comprise newer mediums like social, while still understanding the importance of more traditional printed assets.
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Mobile, 585-734-2228)