I can’t count the number of stories, reports and blog postings I’ve read describing Generation Y, the Millennials as spoiled, selfish consumers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because all you Baby Boomers are trying to transfer guilt for your own behavior … doesn’t make it so. And these kids are about more than texting, Facebook and Twitter. It’s about the world and cleaning the messes made by their parents.
Millennials are often seen to as the Holy Grail of marketing partly because of their disposal income and partly because their tech-savvy means they can be reached in so many ways. The biggest mistake brands make, however, is to think they reach Millennials through technology.
According to this new survey from the Pivot Center, the answer is cause marketing. Almost two-thirds of the respondents to the poll agreed that green and socially conscious initiatives were one of the top factors that differentiated Millennials from other demographic and psychographic groups.
The fastest way to reach Millennials is not through twitter, Facebook or any one of the location-based services, but through their hearts and minds by adding meaning to their lives.
Rather than focus on what brands can sell using social media, companies must focus on how they can serve their community by investing in what Millennials care about. Do that and brands will not only be relevant to their lives but their community will work with them to achieve common goals.
It says something about past marketing strategies that we must now make a case for the simple proposition that brands must do something good for their communities for customers to like them. Report after report tells us that consumers, including Millennials, want brands to build a better world, not just better widgets. Those that do will profit (in every sense of the word) exponentially, and those that don’t will continue to stare at their number of twitter followers, Facebook fans, ROI formulas or P&L breakdowns looking for answers that just aren’t there.