Trust, Transparency, Sincerity and Consistency are Key
A few weeks ago, I partook in a speaking opportunity at the Marketing to Millennials for Financial Services Event in Brooklyn, New York. The attendees ranged from lenders large and small to established and Fintech. By the third speaker, a consensus was reached on who Millennials are, what they want, how they want to be treated, their interests, priorities, attitudes, etc…
One speaker stated that they are sitting on the sidelines, immune to marketing, and have a good BS detector.
Another said that millennials will stand in line for experiences not products.
Yet another referenced how millennials demand transparency, are slow to trust but once their trust is earned, they will be fiercely loyal.
Hmmm… So which generation wasn’t like that? You mean other generations were not loyal? Didn’t demand honesty? Didn’t hold closely the values of trust and transparency, sincerity, and consistency in how they were treated? Of course they did. This definition of Millennials is not unique or new.
I posed the question to the audience, “Why are millennials the first generation to actually be segmented by age?” Every presenter, including myself, broke down millennials by 18-24 and 25-35 years old. Why? One attendee said it is likely because we can. There is so much more data on millennials than there were for other generations due to social media. That makes sense to me.
Jump Into Your “Way-Back Machine”
This got me to thinking about what life was like 30 years ago. 18-24-year-olds back then could be described exactly the same way that the younger millennials are being generalized today – lazy, self-indulgent, self-centered, aloof, etc. They wanted to travel and engage in experiences but they couldn’t afford to. Today with apps that can get you a cheap flight to Europe, you can plan a trip more easily and find cheap flights, lodging etc. So today’s younger generation has access to deeply discounted access to things like travel and they have more “disposable income” due to the fact that they buying a car isn’t critical for many due to ride-sharing apps.
Then look at a 30-year-old in 1987. I argue that there was a high percentage of them that were looking to start families, buy homes, focus on their careers. Just like the older millennials today. Oh yea, there was a financial crisis too.
Technology – The Game Changer – Again!
The BIG difference is that today we know more about these age groups – thanks to technology.
The millennials in the crowd told me that millennial marketing is about engaging the audience through interactive media like games, challenges, apps. And they talk about “experiential marketing”. So there-in lies the challenge. I don’t think it is as much about millennials being unique, but insights about millennials and access to them have greatly changed.
What does all of this really mean? Well, the foundations of marketing have not changed. Marketers today need solid data on millennials. While everyone is working on cracking the code to understanding web analytics, online behavioral data, etc., there is still a lot that can be understood about Millennials with “offline” data as well. The confluence of these data sets is really powerful. Applying these insights in an online world poses some interesting opportunities too.