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Marketing for Millennials

May 15, 2009

Are Millennials into e-mailing or not? Marketing minds want to know. A recent study has revealed that 28 percent of Generation Y recipients found email received from companies to be relevant, while 32 percent had no opinion.

Respondents from the study, which was conducted by the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN) and Pace University’s Lubin School of Business Interactive and Direct Marketing Lab, also said they would potentially welcome direct brand interactions via email, but want more control over what and how much they receive.

Karen Bannan of BtoB Magazine talked to Jeannette Kocsis, vice president of digital strategy and media at Harte-Hanks, a global direct and targeted marketing firm, and Joey Wilson, vice president of marketing strategy at Sapient, a business technology consulting firm about marketing to Gen Yers. They offer the following insight:

•    Create “automated relevance.” Behavioral marketing works, but when you’re marketing to Millennials, you’ve got to be faster and more precise, Wilson said. “Millennials are almost wired to block out advertising and marketing. They are capable of finding what they want when they want it, so you have to be fast and give them something relevant as soon as you see a specific ‘hand-raising’ activity,” he said. A hand-raising activity is when an individual places an action or request to follow up on a particular product or service.

•    Don’t stop emailing. As a marketer, you might think that if Millennials don’t love email you should be sending less-frequent messages. That’s simply not the case, Kocsis said. “You don’t want to be communicating every day, but you definitely need a cadence strategy so you’re touching your list more often than once a quarter,” she said.

•    Get personal about the right things. There are differences in what you’ll need to know to market to Gen X, for example, and Gen Y. For one thing, Gen Y Is less likely to answer personal questions about what they buy and why, Wilson said. Instead of asking how Gen Y thinks about and uses your products and services, Wilson suggests asking about what’s important to them in the buying cycle. “Is it having a personal reference? Ask how often they purchase rather than what they are purchasing.”

•    Avoid the one-off email. Relationships are important in marketing and even more so for Millennials, Kocsis said. Instead of sending a promotion, send advice. Something meaningful, smart and educational, she said.

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