Never hard sell to a Millennial

Yo, wassup? What ya been up to? Did you ping Neha this morning? She was sloshed on a pint bro, so I got her an uber………

Welcome to the breed of humankind, who day in and out, are living with the dopamine effect. More humanely, they are called ‘The Millennials’ (a.k.a The Next Gen Consumers). Let’s take a sneak peek into their neurosciences and understand, what the tribe is about and what they have in store for the brand marketers of tomorrow.

With over 400 million in India and 80 million in the USA (one-fourth of their population), they are a growing set of individuals who are shaping human interactions of the future. The Millennials usually referred to the ones born in the era of 1980’s – 1990’s, have been a part of an evolution, which was never witnessed by their parenting predecessors. Those parents who belonged to an era of fulfilling the basic, while believing that living a dream is better left for the rich.

The Millennials are different and are of two kinds: – 1. The ones who can afford & 2. The other who aspire to afford. The former has been brought up with different parenting and their demand (or addiction to instant gratification) are related to a belief that they are the best, and have an easy access to whatever they desire. i.e. They don’t ‘demand’ a cell phone but ‘need’ an I-Phone, while the latter, even in limited means ensures to get what they wish. i.e:- No car, no issue…Uber or Myles is for them.

So, what makes millennials live in a world of instant gratification, while their parents held onto a job or two, until retirement. I believe, there are 4 aspects to their rise: –

The rise in Globalization, Education and Interpersonal Aspirations, Technology, and Human Evolution.

The rise in millennials started in 1980’s and 1900’s during the cold war era. This period created a bipolar world when you were “with an ideology” or not. Democracy as an ideology, created an impetus to rights and freedom, to be who they want. i.e. people got divided and united by the color of their skin, the flag they held, music, a religion they believed and political system they followed. The key element is – a sense of belongingness (Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs).

This, followed by the rise in global education, immigration, cultural and inter-religion mixing followed by a rise in urban and single parenting.

To these, were the technological advancement, where today one doesn’t’ need an alarm clock anymore, as Siri does it for them, typewriter or keyboard too, as voice commands aid to it. Texting to Sexting, Selfie to Emoji’s, WhatsApp to Snapchat.

The millennials are an interesting kind of human evolution. They even influence fights against corruption by uniting at Tahrir Square, all through social media.

So how does a brand marketer address to this audience who not just change the rules, but the game itself…

1.First and foremost, do not sell. Do not hard sell, to the Millennials. They fail to trust corporations. They have witnessed economic collapses, job losses, oil spillage and have seen enterprises and hedge fund institutions turn in to multibillion-dollar entities & file bankruptcy.

2.Form a bond. Build trust. Inform – entertain them, get to know more about them, engage them and most importantly listen to them. These help in forming a loyal base of future customers and increases customer satisfaction and new product development.

3.Showcase value. Millennials need to know you, and what you stand for. What good do you bring to the society i.e. your product, corporate social responsibilities, innovations, compassion for animals or nature? They need to see that humane side of enterprises to believe in you.

4.Consider social validation. The era of ‘word of mouth’ have evolved for millennials. Social validation today, are based on reviews and ratings expressed. Gyms, spas, restaurants, cafés & breweries etc. you name it and they need it. All these are based on direct and experiential engagements at various touch points.

5.Engagement begins with communication and connections, and these are heavily driven by content customization. Authenticity in brand communication is the key. Content engagement depends on the life cycle (evaluating, connecting (welcoming), engaging, participating and continuity with the millennials. The content journey must be built on a platform of personal expression.

6.Loyalty is pricey, but it pays to build one. The millennials today rely on moderators and micro-influencers i.e. television awards shows, and platforms where moderators are influencing decision makers with online reviews of cars, bikes, movies, gadgets etc. The micro influencers and the millennials are a match made in heaven, which brands cannot ignore.

And last, but not the least…

7.Go digital and go mobile. Facebook has the highest user base in India, LinkedIn started LinkedIn Lite – enabling to connect with youth across the geography of India. These coupled with a rise in digital money transactions and affordability of 4G LTE network, 85% of Indian millennials are on mobile today. Personalized offerings, coupled with discounts, anniversary sales, and offers, and customized content delivery defined on data analytics of digital interactions, are the way forward for the marketers of tomorrow.

Hence, with this transition in customer persona, marketer of tomorrow must relook at their

1. Mass marketing strategies 2. Breakdown of engagement channels and 3. Content personalization to thrive in the era of millennials.

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