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5 tips for marketing to millennials
For millennials, there's nothing worth saying that can't be said in 140 characters or less. It's not that they can't handle long-form pitches, they just know you can do better. So do better.
As Nick Shore, head of research for MTV, said, "Smart and funny is the new rock 'n' roll." Millennials are set to be the most-educated generation on record, with the largest social-media platform (Facebook) having been famously born on a college campus. "With their roots in college culture, it's no wonder eloquence and timing are more prized than ever for this generation. Err on the side of overestimating the millennial -- as the Old Spice campaign shows -- and sometimes they'll surprise you.
Millennials may be arrogant and entitled, but they're not stupid, and they know media exists to sell them things. So rather than pretending your branded beverage isn't conspicuously placed in a TV character's hand to entice them, look for new ways to make it funny. It will ring true with them, and they'll appreciate the honesty. (Need a cue? Look no further than the deliciously self-referential "30 Rock.")
By their own definition, millennials are in part defined by their use of and reliance on technology. But marketers should resist the urge to attempt to "speak their language" -- Gen Yers can smell those ploys a mile away. Remember, millennials are digital natives -- they don't use technology; they live it, and they do so subconsciously.
Millennials don't like ads, but they don't mind marketing that's non-invasive, non-interruptive and that adds something to their experience, either online or off. Whether it's a fun and timely iPhone app, a targeted high-profile event or a personalized viral-video campaign, if you want your message to resonate with millennials, give them something to talk about. And if we know the first thing about millennials, talk they will.