Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships
There’s no demographic today that brand marketers are more focused on picking apart than the millennial generation—an opinionated bunch that’s fixated on innovations in tech, social media, and commerce. This leads us to wonder: What will retail marketing look like when millennials are the ones calling the shots? Here’s a look at the four biggest factors that will influence the next generation of marketers when the torch is passed to them a few years down the road.
Let’s Get Personal
One common criticism of millennials is their inherent self-focus. It’s not a baseless critique, but it will lead to positive outcomes—especially for brand marketers. Think about the interest generated by seeing your name in an email from your favorite retailer, or how easy it is to treat yourself when a website recommends or upsells a product based on purchase history. Millennials thrive on that kind of personal attention and have a tendency to pay it forward, passing on links, recommending businesses through reviews on user-curated sites, or tweeting about their positive experiences. The unique ways in which they share information are certain to evolve, and when they step into leadership roles in the world of advertising, their connection to their customers will be that much more genuine. Millennial marketers will have a direct line to customers who contribute to review sites, and hyper-personalized campaigns—along the lines of Coke’s recent rollout of name-bearing bottles—will be their go-to strategy.
Keep It Simple
Back in the 90s, when you were tracking AOL keywords and fussing with your dialup modem, online advertising was full of bright colors, big typefaces, and “Look at me!” messaging. Millennial marketers will take a subtler approach with ads and email offers. Their designs will be clean and simple, their messages short, sweet, and to the point. This is rooted in sensitivity to shoppers’ heightened expectations—and shortened attention spans. You only have a few seconds to hook your potential customer, so you better use them wisely. Millennials know better than anyone that blinking means missing the sale. And for that reason, they’ll create uncomplicated, innovative campaigns that are there just long enough to make a huge impact.
The Changing of the Social Media Guard
As Facebook becomes inundated with more and more parents and grandparents, millennial marketers will migrate to a diverse range of other platforms—because they’ll be following their primary audience. In place of the virtual monopolies we’ve experienced over the last 10 years or so, social media sites will begin to cater to more specific demographics, and the diversity of offerings will increase in kind. We’re in the beginning stages of this right now. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr already hold great potential for marketers. Moving forward, we’ll see a lot more retailers encouraging omni-channel interactivity through a wider and wider range of apps and sites, whether it’s expertly filtered Instagram snapshots of new product lines or Pinterest-exclusive promotional offers.
The Value of Nostalgia
From vintage shopping to classic car cruises, everyone loves looking back on what used to be. Observe the phenomenon of Throwback Thursday. It’s a simple idea: dig up a picture from your past, preferably an embarrassingly dated one, and post it to your personal feed with a self-deprecating comment. Then watch the likes and comments pour in. Millennial marketers will capitalize on the immense popularity of glimpses of yesteryear—whether it be the 60’s or 2006. They’ll be well aware that this feeling is universal, shared by every generation, from GI to Generation Z. And they’ll recognize that the window of nostalgia is steadily shrinking the more technology advances—so they won’t have to reach as far back to conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings among their target markets.
What other trends will emerge or grow in the coming years? Let us know what you’re thinking. Comment here, post on our Facebook, or tweet @medallionretail. We’d love to hear from you.