Changing ones marketing tune according to how the market itself is changing is an imperative trait of successful marketers. Whether you are a balanced Gen X or an open-minded Gen Y/Millennial/Gen Me, the facts are that this generation are a force to be reckoned with. This generation holds more power than ever before yet are so different to any other generation.
Many marketers are making the fundamental mistake of underestimating or even avoiding this target group simply because of their lack of understanding.
It is estimated that 85% of the current workforce are made up of the Generation Y/Millennial. This means that those individuals making and influencing the buying decisions, even in industry, are Millennials.
The traditionalist Gen X are not to be forgotten. It is important for the industry giants, in which ever sector they may be, understand how to market to this segment and draft their strategies accordingly.
A Millennial can be described as anyone born between 1982 and 2000. This group, which are also labelled as the “youth” of South Africa have a set of very particular traits.
This cultural group possess a few similar traits which marketers can utilise to their benefit. By understanding these traits, a marketer can tweak their existing tactics to better suits and be better received by this power house group.
1. They are confidently independent.
This segment has been nurtured by their baby boomer parents up until a much later stage in their lives. This generation has a high level of expectation placed on them due to this. The millennial generation are highly educated and have grown up with internet at their fingertips. With information as their ammunition, they are able to make informed decisions on their own. Think about the last time a topic which required some speculation did not result in turning to google for fact? Marketers are able to use content marketing to easily influence this group of people through the correct digital mediums.
For an employer this means that this group requires feedback and recognition. They thrive with leaders and not bosses. They need to be nurtured, recognised and empowered, which means the “big stick” management style will not cut it.
2. Comfort in the flock
This is a group that believes in strength in numbers. They are looking for collective voice and acceptance. Millennials socialise in groups both online and offline. The boom of social media and the huge take up of Pop up events can be seen as great examples. The voice of the group will determine how they accept or deal with their environment. Millennials believe that their group are able to override political change. Marketers, who set trends and gather a following digitally as well as directly, find success in these tactics. Employers can benefit from utilising teams of similar personal traits to work on specific tasks.
Millennials do not tolerate “things” that do not work, and they will tell people about it too. This generation will easily source an alternative if your product does not suit their needs, perfectly. Millennials are constantly exposed to a high level of information daily and have adjusted to this by merely skimming over information to find what suits them best. If you are not communicating to this generation in a simple, yet customised manner, your product or service will be lost amongst your competitors. Marketers, who identify information gaps and push content on to this group, find success in these tactics. Employers who are able to give tasks and monitors tasks simplistically, will render great results from their staff.
4. They want to experience it.
Your product or service has to be engaging to the millennials. Millennials are far easier to engage with if the brand or product provides an experience. This goes back to why the generation is sometimes called “Generation Me”. They are constantly searching for something new, something exotic, something adventurous. By adding value to their experience, marketers and employees create the impression that they are special and leave the segment with something they will remember. It is important to tap into their EQ.
5. Creatively clever
This group have hundreds of thousands of creative influences at their disposal through the internet. With this amount of influence, a new era of creativity is born. With a combination of their attention seeking traits and need to achieve, this segment have the recipe to produce outstanding creativity. Employers, who nurture and support this, will benefit from innovative ideas which allow them to be set apart. Marketers, who stay on top of creative trends and involve this segment directly, will remain top of mind and will be easily accepted.
6. Uniquely the same
Fads catch on very quickly with millennials. If you are not speaking the same language as they are this week, consider yourself not part of their crowd of acceptance. Millennials are very creative at taking a common fad and making it their own. Think about the ice bucket challenge that turned into a RAK nomination, that then disappeared and was replaced by a no makeup selfie. If your uniqueness does not partake in these social fads, you are not part of the group. Marketers and employers need to be savvy in catching on to these trends to make their brands relevant and accepted.
7. No Brand boundaries
Millennials want to be heard and want to influence. Millennials see brands as a personal relationship and need to understand the personal benefit to their lives. Brands can benefit from this group which get a thrill from collaborating with businesses and brands, as long as they believe their say matters to the company in question. Brands which are not acting socially responsible will get the boot, by the entire community. Marketers who involve the segment, will be better received by the entire segment. Employers can benefit from this by involving the employees in the creation of their KPI’s. It has been noted that employees may hold valuable information to understanding how to better achieve corporate goals, however feel that their input will not be recognised and valued.
Millennials are multitasking pros and can juggle many responsibilities at once. This also means that they are easily distracted and find social media and texting hard to resist. This can easily benefit or hurt an employer. Rather than ignore this, employers should embrace it. Marketers who understand this market will know when to time these messages to be more effective at initiating an action.
Whether you are a marketer or an employer, it is important for you to nurture and embrace the traits of this group of individuals.