Marketing to Millennials

When I was a child, my mom would always have my sister and I make lists of what we wanted for christmas. Since we are so close in age, this helped her keep what each of us wanted separated. (Even though both of us always got 1 gift of the same…coal. No joke.) Making these lists always consisted of us sitting in front of the TV on saturday mornings, watching CBS or PBS (my mom is insanely against cable) (help me) and writing down all the toys I thought I needed from the commercials. Being 8 years old, cell phone-less and computer-less, commercials were my only way of finding out the raddest new toys…other than Toys R Us in all of its glory. Then, almost over night, I grew up. Not only do I not make “Christmas Lists” but I definitely, like most millennial’s, never ever watch commercials. (Unless it’s a 30 second ad before a youtube video that I can actually skip over in 5 seconds). This being said, the way for businesses to market to my generation had to completely change.

The person who most formed my thoughts on Generation Y is Simon Sinek, The author of Start With Why and famous for many TED Talks among other interviews and videos. Honestly, I really do not agree with most of what Sinek says. He believes that GenY is full of narcissistic, entitled, impatient children who have been dealt a “bad hand” at life and think we can all make a difference…when we can’t. The reason it is so hard for my to agree with Sinek is being he never notes how self-aware we each are as a generation. That being said there are 3 main reasons why I think that it is very difficult to market to our us. First off, is the question “Why?”. Why should we buy this? Why do I have to do it that way? Why do I need this in my life? Why shouldn’t I wait another day/week for something better? Second off, technology. Millennials are harder to reach than in the past. Instead of commercials or newspapers, companies have to get creative with their form of contact. Facebook has pages to follow, Instagram has sponsors that randomly pop up throughout your feed, Snapchat has sponsorship filters and commercials on their ‘Snapchat Channels’, Youtube has ads that you can skip halfway through. So everyone on these websites can pick and choose if they want to be marketed too…and the answer is normally no, they don’t want too be. The third reason is instant gratification. Before companies even have a chance to market their product, its already being shipped to my house. This might sounds like a good thing for businesses, we are buying things and they don’t even have to worry about marketing them. But instant gratification sets up expectations and many companies struggle with both grabbing the millennials attention and also keeping it at such an instantaneous pace.

From my youth until now, theres not only one thing that has made marketing my my generation harder. Its a combination of our thinking and the technology we have such easy access too. And as soon as companies think they have a handle on how to get our attention, we move else where.

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