Fun-loving, frugal: how to market to millennials

05 April 2015 - 02:00 By Jeremy Maggs

You've seen them before, roaming malls and attending concerts. They wear brands you've never heard of and have smartphones attached permanently to their hands as they absorb and exchange information at the speed of an opposition member raising a point of order in parliament. They're smarter than you were at their age, have strong, intractable opinions and are the final frontier marketers have to conquer.The millennials are loved and loathed in equal measure. Pinning them down in any brand sense is much like obtaining "spy tapes" information. It's there, but impossible to obtain without a fight.So here's a little help from a new US survey conducted by Pinpoint Market Research. And you'll see what counts for the demographic there has real application here.First, millennials understand their power as consumers better than most, but Pinpoint says examining the millennial mind-set requires a look into the history of this coveted demographic.I wonder to what extent local marketers are deep diving in this pool? My sense is their feet are barely wet.The research says that for most, digital tech has always, or almost always, been a part of life. Many have lived through 9/11 and several international conflicts. And many came of age as the real-estate bubble burst and the economy was rocked by the financial crisis. This, says Pinpoint, feeds into the overall picture of the average millennial consumer.So it would be critical for local brands to understand the history that our millennials have experienced. There is a wide experiential chasm pre- and post-1994. Notes Pinpoint: "For one thing, they're more careful with money. In fact, their view on personal finances sounds more like the Boomer generation emerging from the Great Depression than the entitlement label they keep hearing."But despite their frugality, millennials are expected to spend more money on lifestyle and entertainment than prior generations.They are also digital natives who are comfortable with using multiple channels to interact and engage with brands.I'm not entirely sure if local brands have even begun to understand, let alone engage, with this concept, called omni-channel marketing: essentially beginning a single consumer journey from screen to shelf using a variety of touch points as seamlessly as possibly.Not easy to do, let me tell you, because at every juncture there are different people involved who all have competing and competitive interests. And you've heard this one before, but few do it. While this demographic want a relationship with their favourite brands and are willing to engage, it's also become imperative for brands to create good content and interact directly with their fans. Brands need to be able to engage and respond in a matter of minutes, not hours, says the survey.Pinpoint also found that since this generation know the power of their dollars (rands), they use it to pressure brands to advance social causes. Forty-three percent of the study's respondents said they had petitioned brands to stop advertising or sponsoring a person, show or event.So now you have it, go forth and engage - seamlessly.Maggs is the editor of the online media and marketing website The Redzone.

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