Millennial Marketing in a Shrinking World
Lessons learned from a Millennial’s travels that can enhance brand strategy
I remember, like it was yesterday, the rush of holding my boarding pass and stepping onto that plane en route to Northern Ireland — all alone. I was headed there on exchange for a semester-long adventure of getting to know the country’s endless rolling hills, breathtaking views, and Guinness. Er, I mean..I was headed there to study.
Yes, don’t worry, I attended my classes and completed all the coursework. But when it came down to it, I actually felt like a student more out of the classroom than in it. With the help of my new international friends, we navigated to the coasts by way of the beautiful countryside — from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland. We even ventured off to England, Scotland, and France. And along the way, I learned the value of stepping outside of my comfort zone to explore the beauty in culture and the unfamiliar.
Though I’d jump on a plane at literally any opportunity to travel, I must be a little biased at my tender age of twenty-three. Results of a recent YPulse survey showed that only 35% of 18-32-year-olds are currently saving for travel. Does this mean that Millennials don’t share the desire to feel the same rush I felt flying over the vast Atlantic Ocean and touring castles on Irish hills?
Well, not necessarily.
Signature Travel Network Vice President Ignacio Maza made an encouraging statement that, “Over the next five to 10 years, Millennials will become the biggest customer segment for hotels worldwide, and hotel brands are rushing to meet and exceed the needs of these travelers.”
That’s more like it.
It seems to be encrypted into Millennials’ DNA that this is our time to embrace the unknown. We are young and ambitious. We have an urgency to better our communities, preserve our environments, and shift progress forward. In fact, “85% of Millennials correlate their purchasing decisions and their willingness to recommend a brand to the social good efforts a company is making,” wrote Hannah Becker who deems that Millennials are the “Purpose-Driven Generation.” Millennials want to know that their decisions and habits create a positive ripple throughout society.
What’s more, as I learned from befriending students from Sweden, Holland, Australia, France, Germany (shall I go on?), is that different backgrounds produce unique perspectives and generate endlessly interesting discussion. While abroad, I noticed myself gravitating towards students that were not, in fact, from the U.S., but from countries that I knew little about. And while there were sometimes differences of opinion, what I learned is that people, no matter their cultural identity, are inherently kind-hearted. And that knowledge is reinforcement of the potential good we can do to as citizens – lessons that I could only have learned through the experience of travel.
While firsthand travel is best, other places and cultures are more accessible now than ever before, thanks to technology. While abroad, it became evident rather quickly that no matter where you are from, there is a way to not only connect with someone from halfway around the world, but also to share similarities and common interests with them. But how can this be? Well, the world is shrinking. Brands today can leverage technology to extend reach to locations that would have never been possible in the past. Marketing efforts are no longer limited to specific geographic locations because technology has no boundaries. And show stopping marketing campaigns are on the upswing. Seth Godin, a brilliant entrepreneur and marketer, centered his TedTalk around how to get your ideas to spread. His advice? Be remarkable. When brands think big – think globally — and use technology strategically, connections can be formed around the world. That’s why when my Australian friend showed me that band that she’s obsessed with, I already knew exactly who they were. And when my Swedish friend showed me that hilarious commercial, I laughed because I’d already seen it and could anticipate what was coming next. Embrace the potential in cultural collaboration and make your brand go viral worldwide.
To brands that are targeting their efforts to Millennials, understand that the mission, at our core, is to learn and to improve. By traveling, we subconsciously educate ourselves on the methods of other communities. We think beyond current structure and challenge ourselves to affect change in innovative and effective ways. Whether those changes involve technology, human rights, environmental sustainability, or something else, Millennials are on a mission to improve the world.
And in the words of Confucius, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
Abigail is Newbridge Marketing Group’s Creative + Social Media Manager.
Follow her on Twitter @abigail__price.