Most of our clients’ audiences are indeed millennials. In fact, we’ve been messaging to and creating customer experiences for millennials long before they were even called that. Considering that our average agency-client relationship is 8 years, it indicates to me that we know what we’re doing. Just ask any of our clients; else we would’ve been fired long ago.
And in the normal course of business we must constantly experiment with different techniques; measure their outcome and if they work, we can coin a new tactic, like “empowerment ads,” or “message valence.” In so doing, we leverage the medium to work with the message. But this isn’t a unique scenario specific to millennials. No, it’s actually a fundamental psychological process at its core.
As a quick example, from a reputable source, this popular article references 3 main tenets when messaging to millennials (cultivating customer loyalty, targeting consumer interests -or in-market segments, and offering solutions to real-life problems). Yet, how is this different than targeting any consumer segment? It’s isn’t. While the medium by which we connect with consumers has indeed changed, the fundamental aspects of what humans generally value, has not changed – well, in over a millennium. LOL!
Show me a market segment (boomers, Xers, millennials, golfers, soccer moms, accountants; whomever) whose lives don’t boil down to basic human psychology.
Ultimately, I think where the confusion or bullshit arises is at the confluence of human psychology and technology. This confluence creates new methods and opportunities of connecting with consumers in quicker, easier and more pervasive ways. In turn, this makes engaging with them more difficult. Because of this, “traditional” marketing practices have fallen by the wayside to give birth to new tactics and strategies involving multichannel disciplines. Marketers talk about B2B and B2C, when in the end, it’s all really just H2H – Human2Human- isn’t it?
Sure, there are things like the smartphone, Yelp, iTunes, satellite maps, social media, e-commerce and stem cells, that have revolutionized our world. But it hasn’t changed how humans relate to one another, or the things they want, need, or aspire to.
But, by creating new names for things, new specialties can be created and more “experts” are born. It’s the wild, wild web, right? Uncharted territories need new types of guides? Right? Maybe. Maybe not.
Or, maybe it’s all about people and how they operate. How, when and why they make decisions. This is where the real magic in messaging happens.
Never mind the new-fangled social viral thing; forget the hot mobile marketing play, or even the market sector du jour. Back the truck up, because with so many media channels and their ubiquitous-ness, the medium is no longer the message. The message is the message. And because of the continual onslaught of messaging that consumers are subjected to, marketers are forced to push the limits on advertising. To the degree that many brands now poke fun at themselves. Humor is now a main tenet in advertising. Is this because of the “way things are” in the world today, or is it because millennials are a special audience that require an amusement factor in their content consumption, unlike any other audience segment?
While society hurtles forward and change becomes the norm, one thing won’t ever change – human nature. That’s the root of all messaging and communication.
The fact of the matter is that while there are more ways and means to connect with all audiences, the fundamentals of human nature (behavior, thought processes, decision processes, etc) have not changed. And while millennials are the next market segment, their needs for security, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization are no different (psychologically) than the GenXers, or generations that came before them. Millennials are not some sub-species of human with altogether different needs and thoughts. Though, the millennial “experts” would have you think so.
Have a look at the awesome article by Danny Crichton over at Tech Crunch – he does a stellar job explaining the Millennial Delusion.
But, we need only look back in history for the hard facts of humankind that still hold relevance today – even for millennials. You know what our Spanish friend George Santayana said? “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Or, our esteemed French friend, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
C’est la vie, no?
We’d be delighted to help you connect with millennials, boomers, Gen Xers ad any other humans that are your customers! Just click or call us at 800.536.6637 and you’ll be on the right track.