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'BS-proof' Millennials pose challenge

News, 28 January 2015

LONDON: Millennials are the first truly digital generation and as they get older and possess more spending power marketers need to reassess how they can best reach them.

This challenge is addressed in Warc's Toolkit 2015, a guide to six major marketing trends for the year ahead, produced in association with Deloitte. It suggests that this group can perhaps best be regarded as the "information generation".

"They're researching online for anything, from picking a pizza to choosing a home loan provider – meaning they're essentially bullshit-proof," according to Megan Averell from insights agency GALKAL.

"Before they show up at the store or transact online, they know what others just like them have said about a product or service: for example, how it will perform, what the experience will be like, and how the company will behave if something goes awry."

Beyond that, however, they are not a group that can be easily categorised, as they range from late teens to early thirties with differing media habits and different expectations of the working world

"Millennials are more diverse and heterogeneous than any generation before," says Julie Coleman, Customer Advisory Practice, Deloitte Digital. "Marketing to them based on a list of preconceptions will fail; a one-to-one approach at scale is needed."

That implies the use of online channels, and while it is true that Millennials use online and mobile more than older cohorts – with almost total dependence on mobile for some utilities and services – it is not the case that traditional media such as television no longer have a role to play.

The REVOLT digital cable network, for example, was set up expressly for Millennials. Jake Katz, vp/audience insights and strategy, explains that "the future consumer is engaged through TV, while digital provides reach".

"This is a massive paradigm shift, where digital used to provide the engagement and TV provided frequency," he says. "Those two things are now completely switched."

One result is that forward-thinking brands are re-evaluating their content marketing strategies, a development that also allows them to more easily address another of relevance to Millennials – purpose.

Combining a higher business purpose with a new model of marketing communications promises to be a major challenge for brands across industry categories in 2015, the Toolkit concludes. 

Warc subscribers can read the full Toolkit report at www.warc.com/toolkit2015. Non-subscribers can download a sample of this chapter here.

Data sourced from Warc