Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Old Millennial Wisdom

Despite being reminded that we are “old millennials” by a recent guest speaker, the Marketing Fellows continue to be solicited for advice about how to engage younger generations. Millennials, generally referred to as those born between 1982-2001, will soon outnumber Baby Boomers in the workforce. With more spending power comes greater attention from brands. However, millennials tend to resist overt advertising and are rarely brand loyal, which creates inherent tension among companies and customers.

In this week’s Customer Strategy class, our discussion centered around this hot topic: How can established brands reach and retain younger customers?

Michael Westgate, W2O Group
Michael Westgate, Head of Marketing at W2O Group and McCombs MBA alum, began the session with a challenge facing one of W2O Group’s current clients, NBC.  

Westgate shared with us the W2O Group’s 1-9-90 principle to digital audience segmentation. One percent of customers create content (Opinion Leaders), nine percent share, comment and repackage content (Influencers), and 90 percent listen and lurk (The Market). According to Westgate, companies are skilled at identifying the Opinion Leaders but not the Influencers, which W2O Group helps them to understand and identify.

 Another interesting opinion held by W2O Group is that paid media should come last in the planning cycle after earned, shared and owned media. This nontraditional approach encourages W2O Group’s clients to optimize and exploit free channels and then select a highly targeted, relevant media buy.

Alice Liu, American Airlines
American Airlines’s Alice Liu, Managing Director of Onboard Products, and Brian Richardson, Director of Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity, led the second session of the day. The McCombs alumni were interested in hearing the Marketing Fellows’ ideas about branding and promoting American Airlines’ wireless entertainment offerings.

 Sessions like this prove to be invaluable learning experiences both for the Marketing Fellows and the company executives who volunteer their time to engage with us. The real-world experiences and feedback we receive will no doubt help us old millennials as we embark on our summer internships in the coming months.

Allie Wallace is member of the McCombs Marketing Fellows, Class of 2016. She's passionate about marketing because she loves that it allows a mix of creativity and discipline.