Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reaching The Millennial

I have observed an increasing amount of ink given, in recent years, to the subject of "reaching the Millennial consumer."  There are many suggested strategies for making one's advertising efforts appealing to these young (ca. ages 14-33) consumer.

I confess to being skeptical.  I remember too well columns in the newspaper from my youth extolling strategies for dealing with what are now called "Gen Xers", and not too long ago a mythical "Generation Y".  And I am willing to wager I can find yellowing columns describing the challenges of advertising to the young of whatever years one chooses.

Why am I skeptical? I can separate strategy from tactics.  Now it may be that the tactics of advertising to Millennials involve more online platforms and clever use of those properties.  But the strategic essentials are closer to "timeless" than not.  Consider these basics.

1. Millennials are overwhelmingly going to be choosy about where they spend money.  That's been true of consumers for a long time.  I don't see any differently today.  They will respond best to appeals that clearly demonstrate a worthwhile return for the dollar.
2. Millennials will be buying products and services that solve their problems, make their lives better and/or give them pleasure.  That's how it has always worked.
3. We have a lot of consumer data suggesting that Millennials are making choices that don't look all that different from young people of the past.

I suggest that advertising messages stick to the fundamentals we have discussed often.  Appeal to the target customer's needs and how your product or service addresses that need.  Make it easy to find you and to do business with you.  Use images that show you as a professional.  Avoid nonsense.  And so on.  Millennials will be very much the same as any other people with which you deal.

And for tactics?  I'll save that discussion for another day!

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