Part 2 of Millennials, “The Greatest Generation” and Direct Marketing. Time magazine recently profiled as the “Me Me Me” generation and described on the cover as “lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents.” Here are ways that these assumptions might be off base, and how marketers can reach this new generation.  
 

Millennials are responding in adaptionary/evolutionary way to technology. A recent experiment,“One Laptop per Child,” delivered tablet computers to Ethiopian villages – with no instructions or teachers, and with preloaded programs. The results were staggering, but reflect what we already know about the technology the Millennial generation has grown accustomed to. Read an excerpt from the study:

  • Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

I cite this example not to parallel children in an Ethiopian village to the Millennials discussed in Time’s article, but moreso to point out that technology has gotten so user-friendly, that younger generations can be portrayed as lazy, where they may, in fact, be quicker problem solvers and efficient.

The use of social networks is a shining example of this phenomenon, where collaboration between teams and organizations will be an expectation of doing business for the Millennials. That being said, a collaborative approach to social media is imperative within businesses, as well as when trying to use social media as a marketing vehicle for your business. Additionally, since social media is becoming more and more of a mobile activity, marketers are charged with reaching Millennials on their smartphones and tablets. This compounded with “second-screening” and interactions through console gaming devices make the marketer’s job challenging. 

A key fact to remember in all marketing campaigns is that the Millennial is born into a “social” technology world - one that is inherently multichannel, and seamlessly so. Most of all, marketers must adapt to the new generation of customers the same way they have adapted to the rapid technological changes that have occurred in their short lifetimes so far.