From a Millennial to a Marketer


Chelsea Shettler, Prevish Marketing


AttitudesAs I walk out into the adult world this December, degree in hand, I will soon join the job hunting, apartment scouring, herd of rapidly aging Generation Y kids (you know, the Millennials). I’ve spent the last four years of business school studying amongst my marketing peers, hoping to gain an understanding of both companies and their consumers. All the while, my friends and I were under intense market research scrutiny by those who were hoping to gain an understanding of us.


I do not pretend to have all the marketing answers, as I only have a few marketing internships under my belt. However, I have spent quite some time in marketing classrooms where my fellow students and I frequently engaged in the topics of target markets and advertising. There seems to be a lot of fuss surrounding Millennials. After all, we have a lot of buying power, we are highly educated, and we love to spend our hard earned consumer dollars. It is no wonder that companies want to target our hopes and dreams in their flashy commercials and print advertisements. Yet, I get this overwhelming feeling that companies and marketers are just missing the mark. Allow me the opportunity to point out two reasons why your millennial campaigns just might not be working:


  1. Paint a picture of our ideals. We never settle, especially when there is so much possibility. We don’t want to purchase commodities; we want ideals. We want to change the world and the companies that we buy from are going to help us do so. I am no longer weighed down by the same social obligations of my parents. There is money to be made, lives to be changed, causes to be helped, and adventures to be had. The wonderful folks over at Tom’s have figured this one out. Their “One for One” shoe campaign is brilliant (granted the price of one shoe is enough to cover the second, “donated” pair). It conveys this ideology of stakeholder over stockholder. Millennials adore a company that makes a difference with their profits and such a campaign in itself drives so much positive brand awareness. It is a sort of awareness that is infectious. When I am out sporting my glitter Tom’s, I want people to know what my ideals and values are from looking at the products I’ve purchased.


  1. Say “no” to stereotyping. If your market research told you your target consumer was a Millennial who wears fedoras and oxfords and can never step away from their white iPhone, you might want to conduct that research again. Consumers, especially those from my age group, are tired of products that are pink and are therefore, made for females. We are tired of being portrayed as existential socialites in cracker commercials of all things. The fix-it father, the housewife mother, the on-the-run urban professional . . . Honestly, if you want to be real, portray your consumer using your product alone on a Saturday night while watching Netflix. I am not saying that stereotypes cannot lend themselves to being memorable in a satire commercial. But from what I have studied, the companies that have stood out from their competitors did so because they appealed to their target’s emotions (Dove, Always, Old Spice, UnderArmour, to name a few). They did not try to appeal to some stereotypical standard of living.


I am part of the Millennial generation and in 10 years we will be a thing of the past in the eyes of companies, but I can make you one promise, we will forever be a generation that never stops dreaming, never stops trying, and never stops loving the brands we call our own.



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