Millennial Marketing

So many agencies I talk to these days are fixated on helping their clients reach millennials - from alcohol to chocolate to beauty brands.

Origins, one of my all-time favorite beauty brands - perhaps because they are one of the ‘originals’ in the wellness space and were savvy enough to tap the wonderful Dr. Weil, has even put some muscle behind this target group. Start treating the issue before it becomes an issue. Good logic. It’s easy to look at millennials and make the assumption: if you can capture their mind and hearts early you can keep them for life.

I’ve worked with a myriad of brands over the years and one of the most disappointing things I’ve seen is an iconic label resting on its laurels. One very well known American eyewear brand had well over 40% of the market when I was working with them. The executive team thought they could continue to do the same marketing tactics year-on-year to retain (and grow?) their loyal customers. But times change, people’s tastes changes and more importantly the ways to ‘touch’ those you most want to reach change too. I was at one of the first WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing) meetings in New York and everyone was so excited about this ‘new medium.’ Only a few short years the landscape for using digital has changed forever. Needless to say, the eyewear brand started to lose its foothold and its slide was the thing of ‘what not to do’ case studies.

Here’s the thing: yes, taking territory with consumers when they are young is a fine idea. But assuming that you will hold them for life – once you’ve got them – is silly.

The world of marketing has changed and now every plan needs a good cross-section of tactics to stay ahead of the competition, from paid to earned. Smart brands will look at the customers they are attracting today with an eye toward sowing seeds for the future – while still keeping an eye on today. Yes, creating the right ‘matrix’ can feel like alchemy, but it’s also challenging and therefore fun. So go ahead and target the youngsters (hint: they are attracted to authenticity) but don’t think you’ve hit the jackpot if they fall in love because it might just be a crush.