BrainTrust Query: An Open Letter to Millennials
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.
Surveying a recent study of Millennials by The Boston Consulting Group, we can say that the younger generation now outnumbers Boomers, and that they are "Engaged," Optimistic" and "Charitable." Possibly the most useful declaration among the current flood of articles exploring Millennials is that "defining the Millennial Market is not as clear cut as you think."
Instead of relentlessly attempting to analyze and categorize characteristics of the up-and-coming populous in order to sell them more things, we might be better off to consider rounding up a few chairs and engaging in a frank conversation.
A few things I would ask the Millennials:
- As digital natives, you’re always connected and have one of several devices close. But which do you consider "private" and which do you allow to be peppered with ads, offers, deals and freebies?
- Digging deeper, since you don’t set up your voicemail and never turn your phone off, the missed call log seems to be the way you monitor who wants to reach you the "old fashioned way." That said, I have a feeling that multiple missed calls from Nordstrom or Best Buy will not be embraced as "they love me," but more like "they annoy me." Agree?
- If a phone call is not your preference, how about SMS? Even though you text each other until your fingers bleed, I’m not sure that invading your favorite means of talking with friends is a good idea. Agree?
- Twitter? Foursquare? Your tendency to want it "fast and now" might make this a preferred marketing channel, but will you reject the perception of being manipulated?
- Maybe our entire conversation should just run through Facebook. After all, this is where you spend hours on end updating personal notes, reading reviews, and browsing retail catalogs. But before I put all my chips on Facebook, I notice that lots of you still like to "showroom" in the mall to touch and feel products that you’ve researched online before you buy them. Agree?
- What I’m really wondering about is how your proclivity for research pre-purchase and need for immediate gratification will impact our attempts to win your loyalty over the long term for any brand. It seems the need for immediacy, accuracy, value, service and a good price are a cocktail hard for most brands to swallow on a consistent basis.
You should know that the smart ones among our Boomer-marketer group are sincerely attempting to deliver value, communicated through the channel that suits you best. While points and miles may be "lame," we have other ways to make retail commerce fun.
Discussion Questions: What’s missing from current research around Millennials, particularly around how they want brands to communicate with them? What questions would you like answered?