Arthur Duvall is 55 years old. He’s been playing in a 70s themed rock band for about thirteen years, but he’s been running to same old pitfall as almost any marketing campaign:
Those dang millennials.
No matter what he does, he can’t seem to connect with this group of people who were born between 1981 and 1996. It should have been so easy; they love vintage things, especially music. Why was playing 70s music not adding young people to his steadily growing fanbase?
This is where Dr. Larry Schimmer came in. Dr. Schimmer, or Schimm as we like to call him, is the bands business coach and has been studying millennials inadvertently ever since the birth of his daughters in 1986 and 1992, long before he thought about becoming a psychologist for adolescents. His background led to some groundbreaking discoveries on the lost connection between marketers and this “stubborn generation.” I had the privilege of recording one of their converstations about how to connect with millennials and this is how that went down:
Duvall: Why don’t millennials like us old guys?
Schimmer: The first thing you must understand about millennials is that they’re not a fan of the title. More often than not, their generation is associated with laziness, lack of ambition and attention span, when they might be one of the hardest working generations this country has ever seen. They are also a lot smarter than people pin them as, so they can see through many “millennial-catered campaigns” in a heartbeat.
Duvall: What do you mean by “millennial-catered campaigns”?
Schimmer: Have you ever seen a commercial that ends abruptly with a “hashtag” or uses outdated Instagram terms non-ironically? These campaigns essentially communicating the following message to millennials: “we know you don’t understand or care about anything unless we make it ‘shareable,’ so here’s our attempt to reach out to your poor forsaken generation.” It’s essentially calling someone vain and stupid at the same time.
Duvall: Okay, so avoid tech talk. But phones are how millennials are getting all their information — it’s how they even find out if something is trending. How do I even show up on their radar if I am not active on the internet?
Schimmer: Oh, please don’t misunderstand me — your business will definitely not grow without building an internet presence. I merely suggest that you hire a social media manager who matches the age of your target audience. Modern day marketers often think that age=experience, especially in the area of social media. You need someone who has grown up with it, someone who has seen how quickly internet trends come and go, and how ineffective it is to use a trend that will become outdated so quickly.
Duvall: What’s a good example?
Schimmer: My sister used to write for an online magazine that was targeted to women significantly younger than her. There is no problem with this, but she ran into trouble when writing about Snapchat. She constructed this beautiful article about teaching one’s grandmother how to use it, thus creating more consistent connections between extended family. However, the article became defunct within a month when Snapchat updated its entire platform, rendering all her information incorrect.
Duvall: And a younger person wouldn’t have written it?
Schimmer: A younger person probably wouldn’t have spent their time, and your money, working on a campaign that does not have “evergreen” value (by “evergreen” I mean content that usually stays relevant no matter how much time passes).
If I could leave you with anything, it would be this: if you want to connect with millennials, hire a millennial who is experienced in social media work. They usually know to choose good content over trending topics, as well as finding the niche within the huge “millennial group” on which to build your foundation. If you start there, you’re in a good place to start building your reputation with them.”
If you are in the southern California area and could use similar consulting, you can check out:
5 Somerset Dove Canyon, CA 92679