Marketing to Millennials: Pivot Conference 2010

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of speaking at (and attending) Pivot – an outstanding conference in New York’s Time Square focused on the new ‘social’ consumer and millennial marketing. As part of the opening session, I joined Chris Shipley, Carol Phillips, Chris Pitre, and Maria Giudice and discussed new media marketing methods and what makes Gen Y a unique “species” of consumers.

I strongly encourage you to watch the video below – it’s lengthy, but completely worth it. If you feel like skipping ahead to yours truly, I make my first appearance at the 50:30 mark.

The “independent band” concept

Millennials have what I reference in the video above as the “independent band syndrome” – the idea that we hear about a band before anyone else, we form a connection with that band, we act as their biggest supporter, and are very protective as they grow in fame – quick to tell others, “I heard them first”. In short, Gen Y consumers crave and demand thought leadership, they want to be the trend-setters and innovators. Brands can (and should) be using this to their advantage – create evangelists for your brand who will market FOR you.

Brands we support are a reflection of ourselves

Buying decisions, now more than ever, are a direct reflection of the buyer themselves. Think about it – when you see a guy at the coffee shop using a MacBook and writing in a Moleskine – you can connect the dots to a lot of characteristics “that guy” possesses.┬áMillennials connect with brands for a variety of reasons, with one very important one being the status or appearance that purchase will illicit from the communities they’re a part of. A brand is more than a final product, it’s an experience and emotional connection – if you’re not tapping into this you need to start paying attention.

Same thoughts, different tools

This is something that was brought up often by the millennial ‘voices’ in the audience. There is a tendency to think of twenty-somethings as if they are a totally new species – but it’s important to understand that the thoughts have not radically changed. Instead, we are equipped with new tools that make communication instantaneous.

How does this reflect for brands? Do something to make us happy? The first thing we’ll do is sing your praises to our online and offline communities. On the contrary, we’re even quicker to complain (publicly) about our negative experiences. Social media allows for instant sharing of information and opinion – it’s important to consider that in everything you do.

A very special thanks to the folks at Pivot for allowing me to be a part of this amazing event…To everyone I had the pleasure of meeting, Cheers, and let’s keep in touch!

(Image c/o PivotCon)