Marketing to Millennials

As much as retailers and suppliers would like to think they significantly influence brand choice and preferences of young consumers, a recent report from the Hartman Group found family holds more influence than one may think.

According to findings from Hartman’s Culture of Millennials 2011 report, the dynamics of household structure are among the top influences guiding 16 to 30 year olds down the product purchasing path. When the report was being released this fall, Laurie Demeritt, president of the Hartman Group told me that considering the significant attention and marketing spend shift toward shopper and retail-oriented promotions today their findings could significantly affect the way Millennials are marketed to. “We found it particularly interesting that the formation of brand preferences and choices occur primarily in the household, not in the store,” said Demeritt.

Demeritt went on to explain to me their findings don’t suggest that Millennials are averse to forging a relationship with a brand, but that companies might want to rethink and “reimagine” how they market to them. “Given that one out of five (20%) Millennials switch almost entirely to different brands when they move out on their own, there is indeed an opportunity to establish brand loyalty,” she said.

However, Demeritt also pointed out that one of the most effective ways to connect with Millennials may be not be the traditional means of marketing directly to them. “Millennials don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be advertised with,” she said, noting that some of the most popular ad campaigns with Millennials have next to nothing to do with the product and everything to do with it being fun, whimsical and entertaining.

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