By: Michael Arcidi
Steve Olinski, a Forbes contributor, writes an article detailing the importance of integrated marketing communication when targeting Millennials. Steve supports his claim with two major points. The first is that Millennials spend the majority of their retail dollars in stores, and that newspapers still remain the first choice for coupons and deals. The article claims that 81% of Millennial retail purchases were made in a brick and mortar store rather than in an online purchase. This, of course, raises eyebrows, as many would expect the tech-savvy generation of the Millennials to predominantly shop online. While the usage of tech is prevalent in brick and mortar retail, the fact of the matter is, that Millennials are still present in stores for one reason or another. Olinski argues that this should be taken into account by anyone trying to market to Millennials. With these two figures in mind, Olinski argues that anyone trying to market to Millennials should not make assumptions based solely on age or demographic. Rather, marketers should meld both traditional and nontraditional means of marketing in dealing with the Millennial consumer.
I agree with Olinski’s position on the importance of Integrated Marketing Communication. Being at the tail end of Generation Y, I share many qualities with that of the tech savvy Millennials. Growing up alongside the Internet, and experiencing the bombardment of website ads, pop-ups and junk email, Millennials have become skeptical of many of the strategies employed by traditional marketing. In this modern day, the tables have been turned. With the implementation of the Internet, advertising became relatively cheap. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to capture the attention of the targeted audience. It is because of cheap advertising that it has become difficult for a brand to single itself out amongst the noise of competitors, thus leading to the advent of nontraditional marketing techniques. However, as Olinski points out, traditional techniques still seem to play a vital role in millennial consumption. I was very surprised to learn that 51% of coupons and deals came from the newspaper, and that 81% of retail purchases were made in physical stores. These two statistics seemed contrary to popular beliefs about Millennials, considering their heavy reliance on technology. I would not expect this generation to be reading newspapers, let alone taking the time to make use of the coupons within them. I also could not imagine 81% of retail sales coming from a physical vendor, considering the greater variety of options and cheaper prices of online shopping.
As far as marketers are concerned, this information should be a wake-up call. Millennials are a sought after and valuable consumer base, ergo making it prudent for marketers to understand their purchasing habits. Although technology plays a large role in lives of Millennials, it seems that some of their purchasing decisions are still cemented in traditional ways. It is because of this lack of knowledge pertaining to the buying habits of Millennials that Integrated Marketing Communication should be a vital part of any marketing campaign. Marketers should not make assumptions based on common beliefs of Millennial preferences, they should instead utilize modern marketing techniques in harmony with the old. Using IMC, marketers are able to send consistent brand messaging across both traditional and nontraditional marketing channels, allowing for more efficient targeting of Millennial consumers. IMC is able to capture consumer attention, while still providing the basic benefits of traditional marketing.