Storytime marketing to millennials
Storytelling is an ancient human trait. We were perhaps making manifest our imaginings even before we had the spoken word. In the modern world, stories are as important to us as they ever were and are crucial to many human endeavors in the creative arts, in scientific research, and, of course, in the commercial world. Work published in the International Journal of Business and Globalisation, investigates the way in which storytelling in the digital realm can be used to influence the choices of millennial consumers.
The so-called millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, represent those people born in the period spanning the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. The millennials are often thought of as the digital natives having been born into a world of increasingly mainstream information and communication technology. Precise definitions as to the exact dates spanned can vary from treatise to treatise, but 1981 and 1996 are usually considered the boundaries. Generation X preceded the millennials and they were born after the baby boomers from 1965 to 1980, approximately. They were succeeded by Generation Z (1997-2012) and the next cohort, Generation Alpha (early 20102 to mid-2020s)
Yukti Ahuja and Indu Loura of the Jagan Institute of Management Studies in Delhi, India, allude to the fact that marketers often struggle to engage with millennials. This generation is thought to be the first global generation, one that is highly engaged with ICT and perhaps not readily coerced by the older generation hoping to exploit them using such technology. Their interests are varied and extravagant but are also cynical of inauthenticity and efforts by marketers and advertisers to create fake virality around products.
Companies that can create an authentic story without patently attempting to exploit their target audience, however, can reap the rewards. After all, millennials need to acquire goods and utilize services just as every previous generation and every future generation. Suffice to say, they simply find efforts to patronize them online wholly transparent in a way that the older generation raised on conventional media may not.
Ultimately, millennials, and indeed others, expect authenticity. They are more likely to be enticed if the offering does not seem fake if the "story" around a given marketing drive captures their imagination in a non-patronizing way and offers them a product or service in such a way that engages them. At this point, they will feel able to be parted from their hard-earned cash.