The art of nostalgia: Marketing to the new millennial mindset

These digital natives just want to be plain native, authentic, and real.

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Miami’s new Brickell City Center – an interactive, luxury shopping concept that blends urban design, food, entertainment, and commerce together – is living proof of the new “new” millennial mindset. The Center’s eco-friendly, temperature-regulating “sky ribbon” guides pedestrians along a suspended path among the high rises of Miami’s financial district. Along the way, they’ll find unique dining options, like professional golfer Erni Els’ restaurant, and one-of-a-kind shopping experiences, like Saks Fifth Avenue’s most luxurious store to date (complete with a marble staircase, five star restaurant, wine bar, personal shopping salon, and shoe library). At first blush, this opulent shopping center might seem just plain opulent; but underneath the glitz and glamour expected of the Magic City, an emerging trend is shining through.

Debunking the millennial myths:

To put it simply: Millennials are spending less time on their phones and craving authentic, real world experiences. You might call it a correction on a generation that over-rotated into the digital world. According to the New York Times: “[Generation X] adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger [Millennials]”.

While that isn’t a dramatic difference, this figure does help debunk the pervasive myth that millennials are social-obsessed narcissists who can’t tear themselves away from their digital devices. The reality is, millennials don’t spend more time on social media than the generation before them … in fact, they spend less. While over 90% of the United States’ population has access to smartphones, the digital generation spends less than an hour a day on social networks. That’s a pretty encouraging statistic for those who worry we are losing touch with the world around us.

Marketing to the real millennial audience:

As digital marketers, it also means we need to stop stereotyping millennials. Aside from being the fastest growing demographic with disposable income to burn, our youngest generation isn’t that much different from the baby boomers or Generation X in terms of attitudes toward financial responsibility and work-related matters. Time magazine cites a PwC study that indicates, “the similarities in attitudes across generations are striking. More than 60% in both [millennial and baby boomer] generations agree that work interferes with their personal life. Both generations highly value things like flexible hours, job sharing and telecommuting”. Marketers have a tendency to assume the only way to reach the millennial market is by bombarding them in the digital world or appealing to the stereotype of a spoiled millennial demanding more flexibility and more pay for less work from behind the anonymous screen of their sleek, new laptop. But are we getting it all wrong?

While millennials, having grown up with digital devices in their hands, may be more adept with or eager to adopt new technology than previous generations, these studies show that the digital world isn’t entirely replacing traditional means of connecting, but rather, augmenting it.

Millennials spend more money on experiences as opposed to material goods than any other generation, according to that same PwC study. They spend less time on social media than their older siblings, and they have the same values as their parents. Who would have guessed? That means that having a holistic, multi-channel, digital, and non-digital strategy is the best way to reach this audience. Sure, they are comfortable consuming integrated advertisements disgusted as clever Instagram posts … but they are also equally (if not more inclined) to be moved by a memorable, guerilla event campaign.

Millennials are unequivocally the most important consumer group as they continue to mature and take on the majority purchasing share in the market. Today’s leading digital marketing trends aren’t about being everywhere at once or spraying and praying across digital channels. The most effective digital marketing techniques hinge on understanding how your audience sees the world, anticipating what information your customers need, and how they like to consume it. Striking the critical balance between digital spend and traditional marketing efforts is as much an art as it is a science. And millennials are all about balance. Balance between the digital and real world. Balance between their professional and personal lives. And balance in how they spend their income.

The art of nostalgia: Marketing to the new millennial mindset
To unlock your marketing potential with this demographic, you need to understand your buyer personas’ purchase path across channels and devices so you can be at the right places at the right times. Our team of digital trailblazers do just that. Let us help you get on board with the millennial mindset to understand your most valuable customer and reach them on all the frequencies they hear.