Fri, March 26 2010

How to engage with Millennials - and how they’re different from teens

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

I had the pleasure of serving on a panel yesterday at the Legacy Foundation’s event to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Truth Campaign, one my all-time favorite examples of stellar social marketing. You should check out the slides from my fellow panelists (Peter Zollo of TRU, Paul Farhi of the Washington Post and Nick Shore from MTV), which you can find here. Among these panelists’ fascinating observations:

1. NOT rebels and NOT without a cause: Teens today compared to teens a decade ago (when the Truth launched) are different. While the prevailing characteristics of teens ten years ago were prevailingly rebellious, irreverent and focused on friends and fun, today’s teens show more conformity, respect for family and responsibility. And while the number that describe themselves as religious has dropped precipitously, far more say they want to make the world a better place.

2. Glued to screens: Teens spend most of their waking hours in front of screens - on their phones, on their computers, etc. I only need my sample size of one to agree this is true (my 11 year old texts all the time). Technology is accelerating means of connection, intimacy and self-expression for them. Moreover, they trust the Internet as a leading source of information.

3. Wildly optimistic? One in five believes they will be famous. And 80 percent believe they’ll reach their life goals by age 30. MTV has tapped into this ethos with its Buried Life series, which shows teens accomplishing their bucket lists.

4. Self-organizing: Teens are using social media to create and pursue their own causes. Given the above, charities had better go out, listen, and engage with them where they play online. A whole virtual universe is out there growing by the day - and we can’t afford to stay on the sidelines.


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