Marketing and Millennials: Using Big Data in the Fight for Younger Buyers


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The consumer landscape of today looks very different than twenty years ago. Cookies used to be something you only baked in the oven and tweeting was something only birds did. A ‘selfie’ wasn’t a real word and toddlers didn’t know how to operate a smartphone. Today the marketing game is as dynamic and customized as the millennial buyers who so elusively avoid your brand. The inevitable solution to this conundrum? Harnessing big data.

Many companies make the mistake of overly relying on traditional advertising methods when attracting younger buyers. This is a tremendous oversight. Companies take out online ads that are generic, poorly placed and just not compelling. Traditionally marketing dollars put ‘somewhere’ would yield some sort of desirable outcome, eventually. However, now a shotgun approach fails to appeal to millennials or even target them where they might be inclined to listen.

Consider younger buyers for a moment. Millennials have been raised in a time of unprecedented mobility and unparalleled access to information online. As young as grade-school children have smartphones and social media applications before they know how to write research papers or drive a car. As more school’s adopt bring your own device policies, continuous access to online platforms will only increase. From the onset these future buyers are exposed to society’s greatest cash cow: advertisements, and lots of them. Conservative estimates say that the modern buyer sees about 3,000 marketing messages a day. Less conservative estimates indicate that number can be as high as 20,000 messages per day. Whatever the true number is, there is no conceivable way a person can pause and perceive every single advertisement he/she comes across. A person can’t even pay attention half of the advertisements he/she is exposed to. Millennials raised in a constant barrage of advertising have developed a keen personal filter to discern what content is interesting and worth considering and what content gets glazed over and forgotten instantly. Many of your company’s advertisements may fall in the latter category. The emergence of big data has provided a very powerful way to cut past the millennial filter and appeal very specifically to consumer wants and desires.

So, how can you leverage big data to reach millennials and get them to buy your products? Look at the big picture and put the pieces together. Every click, view and swipe is an opportunity to understand your buyer better and guess what he/she is looking for. Likewise, every click, view and swipe is a chance to reach out to prospective consumers where and when they are most likely to convert into sales. Millennials wear their personalities on their sleeves, their online sleeves to be exact. With sophisticated big data platforms of today it is now possible to collect and analyze billions of data points and put together a cohesive picture of target demographic groups. Such a picture gives marketing a personalized and fresh approach sought out by younger buyers.

Here are five simple phases for your organization to harness big data for millennial marketing:

1) Collect the data-

Identify a demographic you need to understand better. Pick the appropriate genders, age ranges, ethnicity and other distinguishing factors. Use a big data provider to collect all relevant information on the group including buying habits, communication channels, influencers and interests.

2) Analyze the data-

Once you’ve collected information through a big data provider you need to analyze it and aggregate it into usable charts, graphs and reports. Cut out any extraneous or irrelevant information.

3) Interpret the data-

Key in to any trends that emerge. Identify what your consumer group responds to based on the analyzed information. What are key likes and dislikes? What motivates the group to buy? Where does the group spend time online? Interpreting the data should be a collaborative effort of the marketing team. Avoid letting bias or preconceived notions skew what the data suggests.

4) Execute marketing plan-

Finally, execute a marketing plan or strategy based on insights gleaned from the data. Target consumers where they spend time and use messages and ideals that resonate based on research.

5) Evaluate-

Use big data and analytics tools to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign. This helps establish ROI and indicate what progress took place with the campaign.

Big Data is a buzz phrase right now in the marketing industry, and rightly so. Big Data promises unparalleled access to consumer habits, tendencies and predispositions. Why is this so valuable for millennials? They expect it, and only big data gives the insights needed to target millennials effectively. Content that isn’t high quality, personalized and intriguing will get lost in the rest of the advertising clamor online and ultimately get ignored.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.


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