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Four Ways to Market to Millennials (Without Underestimating or Patronizing Them)

by Kelsey O'Neill  |  
November 8, 2016
  |  2,234 views

We Millennials are widely regarded as the least proactive and most vacuous generation. So, most businesses think that to win our business, they must have to create gimmicky and childish campaign ploys.

But what if I told you building customer relationships with Millennials can be as simple as following four basic principles?

1. Hear us

Millennials just want to be heard. With social media, it's easier than ever for companies to reach young consumers in ways they never could before.

American Express has launched a creative campaign that capitalizes on this phenomenon, using promotional videos hosted by the delightfully funny Tina Fey. But these aren't your usual commercials; they are more like greeting cards, congratulating Millennials for some of the milestones of growing up (such as throwing a dinner party, landing a new job, and visiting the in-laws).


The real genius of this campaign is in its precise targeting. American Express scoured through Facebook and Instagram posts to identify particular users voicing their own "firsts" and responded with these oddly endearing videos.

Although campaigns like this can often appear overbearing or condescending, American Express doesn't come off this way at all. The company approaches Millennials in the role of a supportive friend who wants to acknowledge and celebrate our important moments with "Everyday Congrats."

We Millennials share the events of our daily lives more than any other generation by far. And though some may think of this as a curse (or a self-indulgent annoyance), doing so has opened the door for companies to listen to and reach us in new ways.


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Kelsey O'Neill writes about POS systems for Merchant Maverick, a comparison site that reviews and rates credit card processors, POS software companies, shopping carts, mobile payments services, and small-business software.

LinkedIn: Kelsey O'Neill 

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  • by RussB Tue Nov 8, 2016 via web

    First, let me say that I love the article; blunt, honest...not enough of that these days. The only comment I have is that this doesn't just apply to Millennials. Replace millennials with Gen Xers or Boomers...same thing. I don't care what buzzword tagged age group someone is part of as they are all more connected, more informed and demand more before they give up their loyalty to a brand.

    Each group may have different emotional triggers, but they have them. For example, Millennials may want to make the world a better place through local and global efforts (as you said), but maybe Gen Xers want to know that they already are and that the decisions they made 10 years ago were the right ones.

    Like I said, as connected as people are today, they all want those 4 things, not just Millennials. Just a thought...

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