Everybody’s attempting to do the brand new dance now – it’s called TRY AND REACH OUT TO MILLENNIAL CONSUMERS. Well, what do Millennials think of all this? Granted, there aren’t nearly enough people attempting, but let’s look at the landscape.
It looks a lot like the dancefloor at the last wedding you went to. Now, not everyone is out on the floor – it takes a certain amount of courage to get out there. Of the people out on the floor, you observe a few different types. First off, there’s the “kids.” They’re looking pretty good – they know the music, know the moves, and they’re having fun. Then there’s the “grandparents” – we love them just for getting out there and trying. Then there’s the “parents” – they’re a bit older than the kids, but they’re out there. They’re trying. Some of them are attempting to bring back their own famous dance moves from back in the day – with little success. Some are trying to copy the “kids” since they must know best, right? This can be pretty embarassing to watch. Some of them, however, know the music and know the scene and can get right down to business.
Welcome to the party that is the wine industry right now. Good for everyone on that dance floor for just getting up and trying. As an observer, though, you can see that not everyone is… let’s say effective. Most of the “kids” look great. You want to go up and hug the “grandparents” just for being awesome enough to try. But it’s the main population of the dance floor, the “parents,” that are tough to watch. The best people on the floor know the music and the scene – regardless of whether they are 14 or 62 – the rest are trying, bless their hearts, but they’re not really getting anywhere.
So if the dance floor is made up of companies vying for the Millennial consumer, that would make the Millennial consumer… YOU. THE OBSERVER.
Millennials have had advertising campaigns shoved in our faces since we were propped up in front of our parents tvs. It’s safe to say that we’re a pretty savvy group. It’s not like we don’t KNOW that we’re being marketed to. We fully realize this – we’re used to it. In fact, we get perturbed if we are NOT marketed to, and yet a company telling us that they are hip will not make us consumers. We are innate experts at taking in and analyzing information in order to form opinions. And we are REALLY good at forming opinions, as any Millennial parent will tell you. And just as it’s crystal clear to anyone looking at that dancefloor that Uncle Billy is making an ass of himself, it’s just that easy for us to see which companies are wasting their time.
Possibly the most simple and powerful example of this comes from a recent post on FineArtsLA.com. The post is a piece on a new wine tasting group in Los Angeles (WTF LA – yes, this is my group and apologies for the plug, but there is a reason for it…). The freelance writer, Jenia Gorton, is a Millennial and has some VERY interesting things to say about how young people are treated as consumers in the wine industry. I think the most interesting is this quote:
It seems like there is “good” wine, which young people are expected to know nothing about, and “cheap” wine, for us ignorant 20 and 30-somethings, bums, and broke alcoholics.
It speaks directly to what many companies and marketers think of young people consuming wine today: we aren’t educated and we won’t spend the money. Yep, we hear you loud and clear, but maybe we don’t want some company’s version of 2 Buck Chuck. Or the new Yellowtail. It’s possible that we want to be respected as consumers and have a company or two reach out to us based on qualities other than our wallets. Like our tastes, our sense of humor, our lifestyles, our shared experiences – but if a company is not connected to any of these things… that effort will still be a FAIL.
So what can marketers learn from Millennials like Ms. Gorton? If you’re going out on the floor, you better know how to DANCE.