When It Comes to Millennials, Perhaps Agility Is the Wrong Approach

Many marketers are struggling to keep pace with change, and it’s fairly obvious to young digital natives such as myself. We’ve watched marketers play catch up for many years now, from the pop-ups era to the phishing era to the spamming era, and beyond. Throughout these digital epochs we’ve noticed how far marketers seem to lag behind us as our technology evolves and our interests shift. 

So, what’s a marketers to do? Adopting an agile marketing strategy seems to be the more common answer. However, as a product of the digital age I beg to differ; in fact, I insist.

Marketers don’t need to be more agile, they need to be more organic. More real.

Judging from the Big Data rhetoric, marketers have a surplus of customer data and insight. Unfortunately, this data amounts to little when paired with today’s dearth of originality and authenticity. After all, is an email truly personal if the only personalized field is my name? Is a retargeted ad still relevant after I’ve purchased the product? These marketing faux pas happen with a notable, starting regularity. A regularity that many digital natives have noticed.

Marketers must understand that being agile simply isn’t enough for many of us. We don’t want you everywhere, we want you when and where we need you. Brand messaging doesn’t resonate with us in the way that it may have with our parents. We know what sucks; we know what doesn’t, and we know when we’re being lied to. And we aren’t afraid to flood the digital ether with our take on these messages at every opportunity.

So, then, what should marketers do? How are marketers to reach an audience that has grown cynical of brand content to the point where millions block Internet ads completely? What should marketers do in the face of a generation that doesn’t care? Well, they probably shouldn’t do more of the same and they probably should focus on having the best possible product and customer experiences possible. Beyond that, they should be honest.

Take Chipotle for example. When the Mexican cuisine company says, “Food with integrity,” it’s evident that they’re serious. From the recycled bags, containers, and napkins, to watching the cooks clean, cut, and season meats, the whole Chipotle experience reeks of authenticity and integrity. “Food with integrity” seems like less of a catch phrase and more like a statement of fact.Google has a similarly authentic brand image, as do Amazon, Audio-Technica, Playstation, and Whole Foods. Millennials such as myself covet these brands not because their marketing is exceptionally agile or relevant, but because the products and services they offer are of the highest quality and their brand voice is authentic.

It’s one thing to have an agile email, mobile, and social marketing strategy. It’s another entirely to have a product or service so good that it speaks for itself, and for digitally savvy millennials such as myself, that’s what resonates.

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