Steve Kaplan's Blog

November 1, 2011

Marketing to Millenials

Filed under: Tips — stevekaplan @ 12:40 pm

Attention small business owners:

I came across this article today, and I think it raises some great points. Check it out.

A few takeaways to get you thinking:

  • “Technology hasn’t just changed how Millennials access information, it’s actually changed the way they think. ‘Technology has altered cognitive functioning for everybody, but nobody more so than youth,” said Kit Yarrow, a business professor and chair of the psychology department at Golden Gate University and author of Gen BuY(Jossey-Bass, 2009). “Our brains are forming when we’re young, and because they’re so immersed in technology, their brains are literally different than other people’s.'”
  • “Millenials have shorter attention spans, are better at multitasking, and get bored more easily.”
  • “Constantly keeping in touch with each other via text messages, Twitter, and Facebook has made Millennials feel more powerful, Yarrow added. ‘They know they can get people to support a brand they love, and they know they can really damage a retailer they hate,’ Yarrow said. ‘All this is relevant to marketers.'”
  • “‘More than 85 percent of Millennials link commitment to a cause to their purchasing decisions and their willingness to recommend a company’s brand to others,” Winograd said.
  • “Millennials are likely to switch brands of equal price and quality if one is tied to a good cause.”
  • “Yarrow said Millennials have been more thoroughly doted upon by their parents than any generation in history. So perhaps it’s no coincidence that Matthews describes them as uncompromisingly demanding when it comes to products and services. ‘They have very high expectations, possibly unrealistic expectations,’ he said.”
  • “‘They’re turning marketing efforts upside down because they’ve created two-way marketing,’ Wells said. “It’s no longer just companies putting out a message.”

According to, here are 5 things that work for millenial marketing. I agree.

1. Use innovative technology in effective ways. Matthews points to a Nucleus campaign that used interactive videos to support the launch of a new luxury hotel in London. The technology, from Los Angeles-based ClikThrough, allows companies to tag videos so viewers can get more information by clicking or hovering over objects and places in the video.

“Using this ClikThrough video, we were able to not just show the location, but show what you could do within five minutes of the hotel on foot,” Matthews said. “Every restaurant, every shop is actually tagged within the video so you can hover over the video and get more information.”

2. Be interactive. That means more than letting users click on videos. It means listening to customers and involving them in everything from product design to marketing. It’s especially effective in building recommendation generators that turn consumers into marketers so companies don’t have to churn out one-way messages. Yarrow points to a Kleenex promotion that allowed consumers to go to a website and Facebook page to request a free sample of tissue to be delivered to someone else. “That’s brilliant,” she said.

3. Move fast and hit hard. Millennials want their information now and their products just as soon, and they want to be intensely entertained and engaged. One way to grab attention and create an impression of speed and urgency, Yarrow said, is to promote limited-time offers, such as discount coupons that must be redeemed that day.

4. Find and engage influencers. Even the smallest company can recruit Millennial ambassadors, Wells said. “If you’re a pizza place, figure out who’s important in the community and give them free coupons to bring in their friends,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a huge, over-the-top campaign. And it’s never been easier or cheaper to do than now.”

5. Make cause-related marketing mean something. Millennials are unimpressed with superficial support of causes, Winograd said. They want commitment to the cause to permeate your entire company. One good example is TOMS Shoes, a 5-year-old Santa Monica, Calif., company that has sold more than a million pairs of shoes on the premise that for every pair a customer buys, it will donate a pair to a child in need.


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