Decoding millennials, India's fast-growing buyer pool...
Pick up any marketing magazine, read any online interview, watch any marketer talk about a campaign and chances are that they would be mentioning how they are targeting the millennial consumer and how the entire product, campaign or launch has been planned, keeping the millennial in mind.
In fact, it has become a sort of badge of honour to mention that you are marketing to millennials, irrespective of which brand or category you are marketing for.
There is nothing wrong with marketing to millennials; they make up significant numbers, both in terms of the population as well as their spending ability. However, I do feel that each marketer must pause and think about what product they are marketing for and who it is most suitable for.
If you strongly believe that the millennial is the right target audience for you, then do not do a disservice by painting all millennials with a single paintbrush. They are clearly the demographic that is misunderstood by a lot of marketers as all millennials are defined in the same way. This couldn't be further from the truth.
The fact of the matter is that a millennial born in the early 80s has probably changed multiple jobs, gotten married and now has children of his/her own and is probably going through a mid-life crisis while struggling with the various social media apps proliferating. Whereas a millennial born from 1994-1996 is probably just starting his/her first job, looking for a match to get married or planning to buy the next smartphone and has not seen much of the pre-cable era of Doordarshan.
You get the picture.
Despite both being 'millennials', the two are very distinct identities that will have different triggers of purchase. So, once you have decided that you want to go after millennials and you want to make your marketing more effective, I urge you to go one level deeper to dissect the big group called millennials. Try and define their different behavioural and personality traits, what are their challenges depending on their age, economic situation, the city they live in, motivation factors, lifestyle, current challenges, the heroes and icons they follow, the language they use, emotional triggers, purchase behaviour, media consumption patterns, their shopping approach.
You will be surprised at the nuggets you will unearth. These will help you carve out your communication, your positioning and your media planning in a more effective and sharper way, ensuring better returns.
On the other hand, I believe that marketers that are not focusing on or talking to two other important generations - Baby Boomers and Gen Z - are missing out on a clear opportunity. As you may know, baby boomers are the generation before millennials and they probably have more money and the willingness to happily spend it on a brand that talks to them. Chances are that some of them have achieved a lot of their life goals, their children have gone away for studies or jobs and as a result, these empty-nesters are much more spending-oriented than saving-oriented. Therefore, a brand that reaches out to them in the right way could unlock a key business opportunity.
Gen Z, on the other hand, is the generation after millennials. This is the generation that hasn't seen life before cell phones or social media, so their challenges and requirements are quite different. They are the ones seeking social validation online as well as offline, far more than the millennials or Baby Boomers. So, brands that target this aspect of attitude, coolness, and external validation should be focusing on this set of consumers more than millennials.
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One word of caution, though - even if you are targeting baby boomers or the gen Z, you cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach. You will have to peel the onion, unravel the layers and define different customer segments within each big cohort.