More than Social Media: Marketing to Millennials

Millennials: They are mobileWhile attending an emergency preparedness workshop last week, there was a robust discussion regarding the role of social media in an emergency. There were two groups of people that discounted social media.

  • First, there were those people that reside in rural areas. They argued that cellular coverage was spotty, 3G and 4G networks virtually non-existent. They needed a more reliable communication method in an emergency.
  • Second, was a distinct generational gap – the Baby Boomers in the room (born before 1964) were unanimous in denouncing the importance of social media.

Interestingly, there was a group of Millennials (born after 1984) in the workshop who were unanimous in stating the power of social media. Full disclosure: I am in Generation X (1965-1984), and in this workshop the Gen Xers were divided about the importance of social media.

The generational gap became an interesting discussion among the small group of marketing professionals. The following are the differences I see in marketing to Boomers v. Millennials.


Baby Boomers


Advertising Method Unwelcomed Interruption Engagement
Advertising Content Features and Benefits Sincere Authenticity
Desired Response Reaction Share/Interaction
Desired Result Repeat Users Engaged Participants
Expectations Big Promises Personal Gestures
Marketing Success Consumer Co-creator
Never Return Broken Promise Corporate Shill

Marketers have figured out how to position their products and services to the Baby Boomers. However, for many, it is a new frontier in marketing to Millennials. Here are a few tips:

  • Tablets are currency to the MillennialsCompanies must develop a participation strategy in order to engage Millennials. This is not a quick fix; patience, consistency and long-term commitment are key factors to success.
  • Companies must provide a way to make Millennials look good to their peers. All you need to do is look at the way Apple markets products. The white earbuds of an iPod became an iconic symbol. If you had the earbuds, you were identified as part of the inner circle.
  • Millennials strongly desire to be part of the solution supporting a greater cause. They favor employers who actively support charitable organizations and they purchase products and services from companies that are active with altruistic endeavors.
  • Mobile presence is no longer negotiable if you are targeting Millennials. It is not just access by smartphone; they are also using tablets and gaining knowledge about your company through mobile apps.

All in all, if you want success in marketing to Millennials, you should seriously consider utilizing these four tips. Even better, when combining these tips with a reward program that provides genuine value as compensation for loyalty, you have a winning formula. Because what Millennial doesn’t like ‘free’ compensation.

Let us know your thoughts on marketing to Millennials. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

32 Responses to “More than Social Media: Marketing to Millennials”

  1. February 12, 2013 at 8:58 am

    This post is right no because myself I am gen X and more drawn to the Millennials because how involved I am in technology have seen this trend come to be. Lets face it it fun to have the smart phones and the tablets to have the information you need at any time no matter where you are. With these devices being social is much easier. Thank you for the good post

  2. 2 Mark Plumb
    February 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate you reading the SideNote. Let me know if you see more categories or tips to include.

  3. February 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    As a Millennial myself I agree that game has changed. Even in my short 21 years, I have seen a significant shift in the way messages are being sent and received. I remember my parent’s first cellphone as being little more than a brick with an antennae and now it is not out of the ordinary for me to be on my phone, laptop, and iPad all at once. Bottom line is my generation is ALWAYS connected and to be successful, companies need to find a way to capitalize on this whenever possible.

  4. 4 Mark Plumb
    February 13, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Thanks Katie. We agree that if you do not have a digital presence, a mobile presence and a social presence, you will soon be irrelevant to the Millennial generation. Thanks for your thoughts and Go Buckeyes.

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    Dear Thesidenoteblog,
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