There is a lot of buzz around the Generation Y – MILLENNIALs – we can find articles on this topic everywhere, from Time Magazine to Forbes and top marketers are writing and researching. It has become one of the most sacred, misunderstood term among marketers today. Even when I heard the word first…I was like what does this mean? Another coined word to define a set of audience by marketers like the ‘baby-boomers’?


To clarify to those who are still unclear – Millennials are those born between 1980 and 2000. 1.7 billion worldwide and approximately $100 billion in buying power they are soon going to dominate the landscape in the next few years and bring to the table a whole new set of culture. We are at the threshold of a potential change in the way we all do business. According to a study by Edelman, 7 out of 10 Millennials consider themselves ‘alpha-influencers’, not only they influence the decisions of friends and family but also they don’t hesitate to share their experiences in person or on social media. Unlike the previous generation, they are not influenced by traditional advertising and push marketing. They are born in the age of technology and tend to consume information when n how they see fit. They will engage with brands on their own terms. As a result us marketers can no longer expect viable returns from passive messaging.

Millennials question everything, they want to experience everything, they are adventurous, adapt to new things fast, and are risk takers. Unsatisfied with the status quo, they seek out the new, the unique and the exciting.

This means traditional advertising will not help achieve our objectives. We will need to be there where our audience is spending time, to engage with our brands. What we need is a strategy that hinges on engaging them and not just sending them adverts or messages. The era of one way communication is over, it’s all about engagement now.

A tool kit to create engagement strategies for Millennials is a must and below are some examples;

  • Understand the demographic in order to be able to reach and engage them. This means appreciating what distinguishes them from their Baby Boomer parents and what makes them tick
  • Go to the place where the product or service is most relevant and appeal to the people who really care. Invest heavily in this targeted, strategic effort over the mass marketing approach
  • Align all communication with their interest and culture in a non-pushy tone
  • Adopt social media and join the online conversation. Invite participation and don’t expect a one-way product push. Strive to make them feel like they are a part of the story
  • Identify the early adopters and devote significant time and resources on them. They will be a valuable brand advocates
  • Create engaging content and be relevant (customized relevant messages depending on the particular marketing channel, specific segments and tonality). Give them something to talk about and make the brand matter to them
  • Don’t overpromise, don’t create proposition which the brand cannot stand for. If we want to position ourselves on social responsibility, let’s be socially responsible. If we want to be positioned as Geeks, let’s be geeks. We cannot be seen speaking one language and doing another, Milliennials will see through this and we will be quickly outedPS: Gen-Xers (ages 35 to 49), Baby boomers (ages 50 to 69), and the Silents (ages 70 and older). Millennial (Gen Y) generation itself can be further segmented into two age cohorts – younger Millennials (ages 18 to 24) and older Millennials (ages 25 to 34).
  • In my next post I will try to cover more on on-ground engagement and how we can use digital space to engage with Millennials


Author: Ganesh Iyer