Recap of Marketing to Millennials by Keith Kaplan

As a Millennial, I’m quite used to be talking at and told about myself. Told about my generation’s sense of entitlement, laziness but eagerness to party. Generally not the positive attributes you like to hear about yourself. However, after listening to the “Targeting Millennials” presentation by IBM’s Keith Kaplan Tuesday at LIFT – Long Island Forum For Technology – in Bethpage for the Social Media Association, I was reminded about how Millennials – those born between 1980 and 1995 – are a crucial part of the workforce and changing world. It reminded me of our generation’s value. It was a nice change of pace from the Miley Cyrus selfie generation that only cares about what celebrities are doing on a Friday night. After breakfast and the approximate 20 people engaged in conversation, Kaplan captivated the room with his presentation which began – naturally – with a Saturday Night Live video parodying the stereotypes expected from Millennials. From there, the stereotypical myths were broken down. Like when Kaplan pulled up a statistics that said by 2020, 50 percent of the United States workforce will be Millennials. Once hearing that, it’s easy to understand why firms must value targeting to Millennials. The group is going from those partying in college and entry-level positions at companies to rising up the ranks in importance. They will begin to have the money and by marketing toward them, a company can improve its bottom line. Kaplan pointed out how Millennials are adapting and doing things in a different way. And it all stems from the willingness to embrace and utilize technology. From little things to watching television on a phone to watching more online videos, the changes are occurring. Once a company understands these changes, it can make the necessary adaptions to its marketing department. For example, mobile-first thinking. Even when watching television, Millennials are on their phones – often watching videos. The majority sleeps with their phone within an arm’s reach. By creating clever marketing ploys, those videos can be your company’s pitch. Short 15-second videos like what Buzzfeed offers can be perfect for marketing. And a creative pitch makes it come off less like an ad and more like entertainment. Interaction is key. But it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face. When people tweet or tag a company in a social media message, it’s an opportunity for a company to begin a conversation. It can even turn a negative statement into a positive by offering an apology, or using humor and wit. On a personal note, I remember tweeting something to SNY – SportsNet New York – during a Mets game and they responded and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. People began retweeting our conversation and it made me feel like I was a part of something bigger. By learning about Millennials, a company can better create marketing strategies to increase profit. Kaplan had great information and techniques about how to do so, and demonstrated it in an environment and voice that was easy to understand. Us Millennials aren’t all members of the entitled species portrayed on TV. Studies Kaplan showed demonstrated how we often value the same things as the generation before us – security, loyalty and a willingness to work toward our goals. It’s becoming the Millennial’s world. And that may not be as scary as you may think.

Written by Owen O’Brien

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