“Ahhh, those were the days!” or “I remember back when I used to….”
Remember when dad would get up early, throw on the robe, and go outside to grab the newspaper? Or when mom would meticulously cut out coupons for the next trip to the grocery store? For many people, that was as ordinary as using sugar substitutes for our home brewed coffee. But for most of us, those days are long gone. Mocha lattes, Groupon deals and of course smart phones are the latest fads. “Traditional marketing is dying, and Millennials are responsible.”
Today's world is governed more than ever by rapidly advancing technology, and there doesn't appear to be any end in sight. Long gone are the ways of the 70's, 80's and 90's when the preferred sales method was silly cookie cutter advertising patterns that most everyone adhered to as a marketer, with surprising results that made it worthwhile. Resistance is...sadly futile. Or is it? Maybe it's time we stop resisting and start embracing the fast-approaching challenges of making our businesses profitable in the future. Traditional marketing is dying, and Millennials are responsible.
While pondering your next marketing strategy, keep this in mind: The millennial generation (also known as Generation Y, born in the early 1980's to around 2000) is now the largest population in the United States, representing more than one quarter of the total population, as this number suggests. It's still close (about 83.1 million to the baby boomers 75.4 million), but time itself will widen that number as the older demographic rides off into the proverbial sunset.
What Causes Traditional Marketing to Fail With Millennials?
Millennials have a general disdain for TV and radio ads that were the industry standard for marketing before the millennium. Most people have learned to tune out a lot of the constant bombardment of advertising that our society has inundated us with. But their generation has developed a nearly flawless ability to completely tune out not only the sales efforts of traditional marketing, but also the world around them. As a father of a millennial, I’ve seen first- hand how little attention they pay to ads (and to me on occasion, a frustration I know is not solely mine) that might get my own attention. We’ve all seen faces completely buried in a cell phone, oblivious to everything.
So of course we now know that over 85% of millennials have smart phones. We need to engage them where they are most likely to be. It should be noted that people of all ages spend plenty of time on their phone these days, but millennials tend towards much greater time blocks of cell phone usage. Another notable difference in this demographic is that millennials are much more socially liberal than previous generations. From topics such as gay marriage or marijuana usage, to the unique Democratic and Republican candidates we’ve seen gain tremendous popularity in today’s politics, millennials are more active and perhaps even more outspoken about societal issues and the future of our country. If you thought they were different, you’re right, but not exactly in the ways you may have thought.