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Always playing catch up with millennials’ thinking

For advertisers it’s as much of making informed guesses as hard facts

Gulf News

Every time I have to work on a campaign targeted at the millennial, I get concerned, mainly on account of the fact this consumer is still an enigma to me. These young consumers of today are quite difficult to understand.

Moreover, they cannot be easily put in a grid. Usually we try to map our target audience, but as days go by this is becoming quite difficult. Not because we don’t know to whom we are talking to.

It is rather on account of the fact that we are yet to get a firm understanding of this audience. To add to this, the millennials have a mind of their own and can be quite unapologetic about it. Most times, they are not really bothered about what they think as well as what others think.

For the advertiser or marketer, it is a difficult task to get the big picture. And that takes us to the big question on how to reach them. The answer is not easy, since some of us don’t have a clear idea of how they consume media.

All we know is the fact that the way they consume media has changed, but we are not sure on how the consumption has changed. The changing media landscape is creating an environment that is not only challenging, but also quite crowded.

Today, as brand custodians make the necessary effort to understand and decode the millennial consumers, we need to have a clear idea not only about our audience but also about our brand. Apart from paying close attention to the media mix, it is equally important to understand the role that a brand plays in the life of the consumer.

For effective reach, brands need to move from just offering a key selling proposition to one that is driven by a purpose. Gone are the days when the buzz was created by the brands. Nowadays it is the consumers who create the buzz around a brand.

The more positive a buzz is, the better it is for the brand. From telling a millennial what is right for him or her, we have moved to the millennial telling his circle of associates which brand meets their requirement, based more on their desires rather than their necessities. For the millennials, there are multiple media vehicles to source as well as disperse information.

Rather, the sources that provide the millennial with information — as well as misinformation — is increasing by the day. Content seems to be playing a big role.

Content aggregation is seeing a dramatic shift from the side of the server to the side of the receiver. The context in which a message is served is what really matters.

Equally important is the communication vehicle. There was a time when it was considered as a good idea to incorporate mobile advertising into the strategy. Now it has become mandatory to optimise the websites for mobile devices.

The massive debate going around the privacy issue of social media platforms has not resulted in a downward shift in their consumption. Rather, of late, I find the consumption is showing an upward growth.

The millennial still relies on social media sites — be it Facebook or Instagram — to announce their presence to whom they think matter. The lifestyle that they lead provides them with enough content to flaunt, post, share, discuss, like, etc, and this to a large extent is not possible through traditional media platforms.

In this scenario, the marketers and advertisers are still trying to get a grip on the fast changing media scenario. And it is important to catch up before it gets too late.

The writer is Account Director, Publilink Advertising.