Another of the sessions I attended and blogged about while at ad:tech Chicago was one on whether Millenials were distracted or connected due to their widely regarded ability to multi-task (see: bored). It was a great opportunity to listen to two of the sharpest minds in the business expound on how to actively engage and succeed in marketing to millenials.
The flow of information during the session came out as millenials tend to behave – fast and furious. Kris Oser, Director of Strategic Communications, at eMarketer was a great choice to moderate this small numbered but incredibly knowledgeable panel of which was comprised:
Samantha Skey, Executive VP, Strategic Marketing, Alloy Marketing and
Erin Matts, Group Director, Strategy, OMD Digital.
Ms. Oser demonstrated a strong grasp of the task at hand and drove the discussion without getting in the way of the process which is no easy task for any moderator. Both of the panelists provided deep insights into the challenges for brands when targeting the millenial demographic (regarded as those born between 1982 – 2000 with 12-19 year olds being a key subset of the millenial demo).
After suffering through some pretty horrific technical issues (most of the sessions were plagued with gremlins), all three women were applauded for plowing past those difficulties and providing the audience with a very informative look at concrete examples of what has worked from their experience with brands trying to reach the millenial demo.
As a designated member of what Samantha Skey called the ‘pissed off GenXer demo’, it is tempting to categorize millenials as distracted, pampered whiners with acknowledged thumb typing skills great for typing out ‘sup!’ and ‘c u l8r’ but are often seen by GenXers and Boomers as having serious manageability issues.
The truth is that when any heir apparent demo takes the spotlight, the one being supplanted doesn’t want to yield it. Well, millenials are center stage now and if you want to successfully navigate what millenials see online as ‘their space’ the panelists have provided some key rules to live by.
Samantha Skey stressed that you need to use caution as teens will quickly edit you out and that it is imperative that, as marketers, you need to: Be sensitive; Be open and involve users; and Be innovative and provide value back to them.
She went on to discuss data gained from a research paper that her firm Alloy Media and Marketing sponsored via Grunwald Associates. The 1,000 parents and 1,200 teens and tweens in the study surveyed yielded some interesting data such as that 70 percent of tweens and teens between the ages of 9 and 17 visit social networking sites weekly and when online they tend to find out about new web sites from their parents (50% of the group indicated this) even though WOM remains a huge factor in their surfing habits.
Erin Matts went on to explain in detail OMD Digital’s experience working with Doritos where the winner of a consumer generated commercial would see their work appear during the Super Bowl (remember those?). The effort charted a 12.5% sales growth for the brand. Obviously, when done right, efforts aimed at millenials works and works well (and not so well if one recalls the Chevy Tahoe effort).
Here is a link to the Doritos consumer generated winner that appeared during the Super Bowl: (thank you, Erin!).
Two segments were targeted for the Doritos effort which OMD termed ‘makers’ and ‘watchers’. Both were seen as critical to making the effort work along with a confident and transparent approach exhibited throughout the process by the marketer (Doritos).
At the end of the session, it was apparent that the best advice for agency people was of limited value (not unlike the old saw: the best way to make a million dollars is to start out with two). The key to success for agency folks seeking to do great work for millenials? Have a good, forward-thinking client.