Generation ‘Self’: Millennial Marketing4 min read

The newest consumer: the millennial

To be an advertiser simply means to be a convincer. But, it also means being a social analyst, an understander, and a persuader. As time progresses, so does the media and technology. But, to be successful, advertisers must keep up with these changes and adapt to each generation as they come. This is why one-to-one marketing is one of the few phenomenons of the current marketing world. It has recently resurfaced in a newer, stronger way through the help of widespread social media. Because of this, harnessing this method can be both incredibly useful and tricky.

It is crucial to understand exactly what one-to-one marketing (or relationship marketing) is. And, in addition, how its effectiveness can be directly linked to its intended audience. According to the Harvard Business Review it is when a company “increases the value of their customer base…by being willing and able to [relate] towards an individual customer and appeal to their emotions.” It is thriving in the marketing world right now because of the availability of widespread media influence and a target audience of, “Generation Self.”


Courtesy of the Odyssey

Social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all encourage the millennial ego by stressing importance on the number of pictures and tweets you post, likes you get, and followers you have. These advances in technology and changes in interest have turned this era into one completely unique from those in the past. The New York Times even goes so far as to call this generation, “Generation Self” because of the popularity of these self-promoting sites in this generation. Studies from the Pew Research Center even suggest that a huge gap exists between several characteristics of the millennial generation and older generation, including a high-rate of self-interest and self-involvement among Generation Self.

So what do you do?

Smart advertisers keep up with these changes, especially ones that affect a generation as widespread over social media as the millennial generation. This is why one-to-one marketing has surfaced in recent years: because in this time, with a consumer-base so focused on ‘the self,’ it can be extraordinarily effective and successful. Relationship marketing can be done in multiple ways, but there is one particular way that brands are focusing on: using consumer’s names.

So, really, “What’s in a name?” If you’re looking for a successful advertising campaign, everything. One-to-one marketing is surfacing all over the media and even popping up in your grocery store. Companies such as Google and Aol have started inserting the names of their users into online advertisements, and Coca-Cola has taken it a step further and placed them right onto the product itself in their “Share a Coke” campaign. These marketing ploys have garnered attention from people everywhere, but what does this mean for the future of advertising?


millennialCourtesy of IAB Beligium


The “Share a Coke” campaign has been one of the most successful for Coca-Cola, increasing their sales for the first time in over a decade. They recognized that people were not only more apt to buy coke cans and bottles with their own names on it, but cans and bottles with their friends and families’ names on it because of the personalized touch that came with each sip. They also noticed an increase in Coca-Cola references on social media, partially because consumers were posting so many pictures of their named-cans online. This campaign came as a breath of fresh air for the sugary soda company in an era of fitness and health, and for reasons that aren’t that complicated. By personalizing their products and appealing to the innate human ego, Coca-Cola established relationships with its consumers that allowed an increase of sales and popularity.

Ego-centric marketing isn’t for everyone though

However, be warned: some users, particularly ones that fall into the older generations, don’t take to this marketing strategy as well as millennials do. There’s been concern over Facebook ads popping up alongside users’ names for products that they had been searching for days before, and users often find these ads invasive and an overstep of boundaries, which might cause a general distrust of your product or service. Knowing your demographic and target audience is crucial, because while millennials might take well to this individualization, other generations may not.

The end-result of both the Coca-Cola ads and the Facebook ads, though they utilize the same kind of marketing, fall on completely opposite sides of the spectrum — Coke’s end results were super successful, while Facebook’s were not. This only demonstrates the frailty of experimenting with such a new, fickle phenomenon. As the media grows and each generation adapts, so must advertisers, exemplifying just how susceptible both consumers and marketers are to the fleetingness of time.

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By |2018-08-08T16:51:33+00:00June 7th, 2017|Content Marketing|

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