As a prime example of the species ‘cynical consumericus’, or more generally known as Generation Y, I am here to tell you that mass media marketing is dead to me. A snarky and bold statement, but it is after all in my nature as a young consumer to be a critical know-it-all. So why do I dare declare centuries-old communication modes, such as the TV and the newspaper to be relics?
Quite simple: I am a mid-twenties European, who was practically breastfed with technology. From the age of five I could go online, chat on social platforms and/or write product reviews. I haven’t stepped in an actual library since Bill Clinton’s presidency. If I’m outside enjoying nature, I’ll stop every five minutes to take a picture, Instagram it, then Facebook it and add it to Pinterest. I interact with friends not through phone calls and dates, but through Google Hangouts. And worst of all, I share content and measure my social popularity through the number of ‘likes’ I receive. We, the 20-somethings, may be a narcissistic bunch, but we are a well interconnected one. Which is why I dare say conventional marketing cannot get through to us. We don’t watch TV, we watch Hulu. We are not going to read a newspaper, we’ll open our RSS feeds and e-mail subscriptions and get the targeted news we want. We find comfort in the digital sphere and we’ve left our virtual prints all over the ‘interweb’.
I am a part of a community of sarcastic, digitally connected individuals, who have learned to tune out traditional advertising noise. The good news for marketers everywhere however, is that this same digitally narcissistic behavior of ours is also going to drive us to share our brand preferences with all of our friends out there. My opinions matter to my peers (and vice versa) more than a TV ad ever would. I won’t be impressed if you shove a billboard in my face, but if you are interacting with your fans digitally, that’s another story.
So dear Marketers, the key to snatching us up as consumers is through simply showing you value us as more than a dollar sign. We are co-creators of your brands and could be the best brand ambassadors you could ever ask for. All you need to do is to gently caress our online egos through customized consumer-led marketing strategies. Recreate one-on-one brand discussions, show us you hear our voices and this is how you will win our long-term loyalty. And if you manage to do so, we will follow your brand till the end of the world and back, guaranteed.