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Marketing to millennials 3 things you need to know

The Leading Women Summit provided great insight into The Rise of the Millennials

The recent Leading Women Summit (LWS2016) brought together influential women from different walks of life and industries like governance, media, and entertainment. Presented by MTN Business in association with Forbes Woman Africa, the group of women, together with esteemed panellists shared ideas, stories and experiences about the phenomenon of ‘The Rise of The Millennials’. According to World Economic Forum, over 50% of the world’s population is under 27 years old and rising to 70% in Africa. This group of millennials, with their smartphones in hand, are determined, ambitious and are taking control of their future. Here are our 3 takeout’s that you need to know about ‘The Rise of The Millennials’:

1:  Millennial Women Are Unstoppable

The millennial woman has multiple roles; she’s a professional, a mother, a spouse, and through her aversion of being confined to one platform, she is using technology to change how societies live, work and play. Mandisa Ntloko, Head of Marketing for MTN Business South Africa said, “Millennial women are using technology to seamlessly advance their careers while ensuring that they remain connected with their loved ones”. Autonomously accessing the internet always and everywhere, in conjunction with the rise in interconnectedness, between people and their devices, as well as between peers is creating an interactive culture, where content, information and opinions are unlimited.

On one hand, businesses need to create environments that address millennials needs to grow their careers, create workplaces that enable and complement BYOD (bring your own device) and support occasionally working remotely from a cafe or at home. Doing this will show millennials that your business is a place where their dreams to fulfil their purpose while conquering the world can manifest, which in turn will attract more millennials to your business. On the other hand, business leaders and managers alike need to instil a culture that allows and facilitates employees to create their own careers because “the millennial woman is an unstoppable force that is making the internet truly mobile”, Mandisa Ntloko passionately said.


2: Marketing To Millennials

There is an assumption that millennials are a lazy bunch of people who lack brand loyalty and only care about ‘me’ –hence the nickname the ‘Me Generation’. Based on this, marketers in the past, have deemed them a low priority group because of the difficulty in selling products and services to a group who are not particularly spending.

During the panelled dissuasion, Michelle Jones, a millennial journalist turned digital marketer, mentioned that the key to marketing to millennials is understanding the different demographics and groups within the millennial target audience. Ronen Aires, founder and CEO of Student Village, who also contributed to the panelled discussion, identified key aspects to marketing to millennials. Firstly, understanding their way of thinking, “I am at the centre of the universe and you (the brand) have to fit in with me”. In their self-centric way of thinking, millennials also value giving back and all they really want is to be great and leave a legacy behind.  Secondly, know the millennials biggest fear, which is the letting themselves down. As marketers, you must understand this simple yet impactful equation; if millennials get what they want -like working in environments which approves of shared their value, they become fearlessly loyal, which makes your job that much easier.

3: Millennials and Money: Spend

86% of the 8 million millennials are citizens of emerging countries and according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, this generation will be one of the most educated generations to date, and that millennials are very well positioned to change and shape the global economy. We also see that they are reluctant to spend and invest their money.

The global financial crises has made millennials very fiscally cautious and sceptical. Millennials will not invest or buy from just anyone.  Some key concerns which are driving their hesitancy to spend furthermore making them risk averse, are that they have graduated from university with the highest levels of student debt, poverty and unemployment. Thus the question that arises is twofold; how do businesses encourage millennials to actively participate in the economy, and how do businesses empower millennials to create opportunities for themselves?

Economist, Thabi Leoka said that there is a disconnect between the financial and banking space and the millennials and that they still have a long way to go in attracting young people to invest. This, she said, was due to the lack of financial saving initiatives like FNB’s Bob Junior that taught teenagers to save money, have neglected children, teenagers and millennials completely. The panellists called upon female millennials to create their own enterprises and influence strategies which in turn will shift their perspectives on investments. Moreover, they warned those in the financial industry not to underestimate how tech-savvy millennials are.  Anthea Gardner, Managing Director of Cartesian Capital, posed a question to the financial services and asset management sector; "[if] millennials can order transport, takeaways or send money via their mobiles, then why can't they invest via their mobiles?" She said that those who do not offer a robo advisory services, an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use human financial planners, will be left behind because millennials are and will change the future of banking.

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