SYDNEY: Marketers wanting to connect with millennials and Gen Z need to get ahead of the curve rather than spend their time following trends, an industry figure has argued.

"Smart marketers … can absolutely connect with millennials," according to Simon Sinek, the marketing consultant and motivational speaker.

But, he told Ad News, "Marketers are guilty of being the biggest followers, rather than leaders".

As an example, he pointed to how they typically use trend data. "Trend data says that kids these days are using apps more and more and more, so marketers respond and do more apps. But it's simply a trend. It doesn't mean it's positive or negative."

An intelligent marketer, he suggested, will dig deeper to evaluate where a trend is coming from "and if it's healthy or unhealthy". Do that, he said, and you'll find that millennials are starting to reject technology and abandon Facebook.

"A smart marketer will get to know the deep-rooted psychology and happiness of the people [they are targeting] before they simply respond or react to trend data," he declared.

"A smart marketer is ahead of the curve. A smart marketer is asking why something is happening, not just recognising that it's happening."

Another remarked-upon trend is the popularity of events and experiences. "This is because human contact and going out with your friends is a big deal," he said. "It's not just about inviting people to the event and adding lights and loud music.

"It's about trying to create an environment in which they will connect with their friends in a way that they do not connect with friends anywhere else, and that's what makes the brand experience valuable to those kids."

And, he added, "it's not just millennials, it's anyone".

Readers can download a Warc article, How to market effectively to millennials.

Data sourced from Ad News; additional content by Warc staff