Last week I did a keynote address at the “Share.Like.Buy. Marketing + Millennials” conference. I must say, it was an incredibly interesting event, and I really enjoyed it. You have to remember, much of my work aroudn the Millennial Generation is about education and/or human resources, so to get this perspective was quite fascinating for me. As described in the conference program:
“Ah, Millennials. Tough to figure out, sell to, and employ. Or are they?”
“How do you market to a generation:
• Smarter than you about the media they use?
• Who have created more media by age 30 than you have in your entire career?
• Who smell phoniness easily, but whose concept of phoniness differs from yours?
• Who are willing to help you sell to them, if you simply ask the right way?
Share.Like.Buy. addresses an unmet need: to understand and communicate with the most enigmatic generation in American consumer history … the generation driving our future.”
With sessions like “The Millennial Revolution in Retail”, “Millennial M-Commerce”, “Capturing Millennials’ Share of Stomach”, “Millennials as Co-Marketers”, ““Millennials with a Cause”, and of course mine – “Millennials on Board: Understanding and Employing the Millennial Generation” – I would say this was among one of the more interesting conferences I’ve been to.
The “Share.Like.Buy.” conference was in part a culmination of a report from Barkley ad agency based on research conducted as part of a joint partnership of Barkley with Service Management Group (SMG) and The Boston Consulting Group. The report – released to conference attendees on the first day of the event – was interesting as well. For me the primary value was the consistency – even in the (acknowledged) contradictions within the data – with all the other research that I closely follow. Yes, the following major conclusions are not news to me, but it is interesting to see its tremendous value for the marketing industry:
- “Millennials include some of the earliest ‘digital natives.’”
- “Millennials are interested in participating in your marketing.”
- “Millennials are known as content creators and users.”
- “Millennials seek peer affirmation.”
- “Millennials are ‘hooked’ on social media in much the same way that older generations are ‘hooked’ on email at work.”
- “Millennials are not a homogeneous cohort.”
- “Millennials believe in cause marketing.”
As I said, it no shock to see the import of technology and social media and its resonance here, nor the sense of social responsibility. I was intruiged at the conference, however, to see the ways in which the conversatiosn revolved around not simply ‘how do we sell our product’ to Millennials, but a new focus on ‘how do we engage Millennials with our product.’ The overall gist was that this generation is about individual engagement and that is how to market to them. Interestingly, the overall takeaway about marketing to Millennials could not align any more with my consistent mantra with regard to understanding and employing Millennials – it is all about “New Paradigms for Millennial Engagement.” Throw out the old model of “interruption, reaction, heavy users, big promises, and passive consumers.” Get on board with a new model of CONNECTION:
o Active Co-Creation
Can’t you see the implication for our Millennial employees!?!