No matter how confident we are as marketers in the programs that we develop and execute on behalf of our brands we cannot get complacent. Every day The Page Group works with clients who need to be reminded that customer research and a deep understanding of who and how their marketplace is changing is critical to marketing and brand success.
Perhaps today more than at any time in history this change is taking place in micro seconds instead of months and years. The technology, the services, the communication tools, the social media, the availability of resources all contribute to change and how the consumer interacts and engages with the goods and service that they buy. The Millennial generation uses marketing in ways never envisioned by Baby Boomers, and the pace with which they roll this new technology out is the fastest pace we have seen in marketing.
To succeed we need to keep abreast of the changes, the technologies, and the tools available, but we also warn our clients “don’t just follow every trend” . You need to understand how “YOUR” customers are using these tools to interact and connect with you before you ever develop the campaigns to reach them. Many organizations pursue new social media blindly spending thousands of dollars in developing great new social marketing tools only to find out months later that they have not captured anyones attention. They did not start by evaluating how their audience will use this social media tool to engage. It all starts there.
Study: Millennials Are Changing The Face Of Consumer Marketing
CMO EXCLUSIVES | January 21, 2014
by Giselle Abramovich
Senior & Strategic Editor
The Millennial generation is transforming the way companies must market their products both online and offline.
- Millennials choose brands that are better aligned with their own morals and values.
- In marketing, as in pop culture, Millennials are leading indicators of large-scale changes.
- The BCG report advises companies to make marketing to Millennials a strategic priority.
That’s the key finding of a report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which is based on results from surveys in 2013 conducted by BCG’s Center for Consumer and Customer Insight. The surveys, involving nearly 4,000 U.S. Millennials and non-Millennials, covered behavior, values, brand engagement, marketing tactics, and other topics.
The new report, titled “The Reciprocity Principle: How Millennials Are Changing the Face of Marketing Forever,” says that U.S. Millennials—consumers 18 to 34 years old—engage with brands more personally than older generations. Furthermore, Millennials choose brands that are better aligned with their own morals and values. And because Millennials are social media and mobile users, the impact of their brand choices and feedback is greatly amplified and accelerated.
According to Christine Barton, a BCG partner and lead author of the report, most marketers undervalue Millennials—and that’s a big mistake. By 2030, she said, Millennials will likely outnumber Baby Boomers 78 million to 56 million.
In marketing, as in pop culture, Millennials are leading indicators of large-scale changes, influencing and accelerating shifts in attitudes, habits, and perceptions and preferences among Gen-Xers and even Baby Boomers, she added.
“The Millennial generation represents a new set of challenges for U.S. marketers and a burning platform for marketing [function] transformation,” Barton told CMO.com in an exclusive interview. “This is especially true for long-established companies that are accustomed to pushing consistent, polished messages from the top, but have little experience maintaining true two-way relationships with customers.”
Barton explained that modern marketing is an ecosystem influenced by some factors beyond a company’s control. Today, marketing is a place where marketers, customers, and potential customers exchange experiences, reactions, emotions, and buzz. And a lot of the time this happens very publicly.
“Millennials expect this two-way, mutual relationship with companies and their brands,” Barton said. “We call this the reciprocity principle. Companies can expect that a positive brand experience will prompt Millennials to take favorable public action on behalf of their brand. A bad—or even just disappointing—experience can turn a Millennial into a vocal critic who will amplify the negative word through social media, reviews, and blogs.”
According to the BCG report, Millennials are driving a transformation of consumer marketing across five elements: reach, relevance, reputation, relation, and referral. As a result, the report advises companies to make marketing to Millennials a strategic priority.
BCG suggests the following programmatic approach: Set and communicate clear, measurable goals; reach Millennials where they are; make sure marketing tactics and communications are relevant; demonstrate to Millennials that your brand’s soul is aligned with their core values; converse and connect with Millennial influencers one on one or in small communities; don’t forget your Millennial employees; and motivate Millennial referral, addressing criticism on social media with contriteness, candor, and facts.
“If they haven’t already begun to do so, companies must transform their marketing organizations to master the reciprocity principle,” Barton told CMO.com. “First, there should be fewer organizational silos separating such functions as digital marketing, private-brand organizations, public relations, direct marketing, analytics, and pricing. To make data-driven marketing, investment, and business decisions, executives and marketers need an integrated, comprehensive view of consumers across channels and in terms of their lifetime value as customers.
“Second, marketers must build new organizational capabilities and partnerships required to succeed in a reciprocal ecosystem. Third, companies should shift marketing investment from traditional media to more innovative media and tools that can measure short- and longer-term returns from marketing, aggressively eliminating anecdotal biases, boardroom emotion, and pet programs that do not drive incrementality.”