With the constant use of social media and digital outlets by the millennial generation (born 1980 to the early 2000s), marketing has shifted in a way that presents a broad range of challenges and opportunities alike for today’s marketers. This age group is one of the most informed segments out there, and is likely to make increasingly more-sound buying decisions each day as new outlets for consumer research continue to emerge. The question is simple: are businesses up for the challenge of tailoring campaigns to this savvy demographic? If so, companies need to recognize the budgeting implications tied to this endeavor.

Significant realignment of a typical marketing budget is required in order to reach millennials. Research shows that 97% of Generation Y members own a computer and 94% own a cell phone—indicating that marketers need to have a stronger presence in the digital space. Although television is still commonly used as a marketing channel, companies are realizing that greater results can be delivered by incorporating a digital-based application into their overall tactical plan. After all, digital campaigns can be tracked more easily and adjustments can be made on the fly. You are simply granted much more flexibility in the digital world.

Approximately 40% of millennials use television as their primary news source, whereas 34% use the Internet. Since the Internet is used most frequently on smart phones, marketers have direct access to target audiences as opposed to TV audiences where OnDemand and DVR capabilities are resulting in fewer commercials being seen. Therefore, it is worthwhile to invest in mobile device apps and social media banner ad placements.

Another factor that remains constant when marketing to this generation is the need to convey the features and benefits of the good or service, and not focus entirely on content production processes. In the example shown by the Huffington Post of the Microsoft “Child of the 90s” Video for Internet Explorer, regardless of its wide-spread attention, people continued to use other web browsers even though they appreciated the video. Therefore, a marketing message that lacks a clear demonstration of product benefits and competitive advantages will fall short. Budgets should be established with this reality in mind in order to pass on a more thorough value proposition while still keeping in mind the emotional appeal.

Although some millennials use paper coupons and enjoy reading a crisp newspaper, “some” does not warrant a strong focus on print ads geared to millennials. Most coupons can be offered digitally resulting in little to no print expenses and greater reach.
Some question the potential of targeting this constantly evolving group; however, through effective research and innovation, the right agency partners, and a strong knowledge of marketplace trends and the latest technologies, marketing to millennials can be a success. Although some unconventional budget adjustments will be required, tapping into Generation Y may just take your company to the next level.

A current trend in the marketing space is the fact that digital-focused agency shops are on the rise.  The full service agency of record type relationship that has supported marketers for quite some time is getting a makeover.  Digital activities once assigned to an AOR are now being carved out from their scope and transitioned to a digital shop that is more tech savvy and knows more about the user experience.  And in some cases, full service AORs are acquiring these smaller shops because, at the end of the day, they need to work closely together for the same client so why not be under one roof.

If you are not pleased with your current agency or wish to carve out the digital activities from your full service AOR, Source One knows the right criteria to evaluate your options and will serve as decision support as you explore other opportunities. 

News source statistics courtesy of:
Junco, Reynol; Mastrodicasa, Jeanna (2007). Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know About Today's Students. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. ISBN 0-931654-48-3.


Photo courtesy of:http://www.csulb.edu/

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Heather Grossmuller

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