Marketers must tap into millennials' desire to record lives: Acer CMO

For millennials, 'every moment is an opportunity for self-expression,' says Michael Birkin

Acer CMO Michael Birkin wants marketing to connect with millennials.
Acer CMO Michael Birkin wants marketing to connect with millennials.

Social media has increased the importance of producing marketing that spurs word of mouth, according to Acer CMO Michael Birkin.

However, brands must carefully craft their social messages to reach a very self-aware generation of millennials, Birkin said at the AANA and World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Global Marketer Conference in Sydney.

By 2018, millennials will have the most spending power of any generation ever, Birkin said. Next year, their spending power globally will be $2.5 trillion. However, connecting with them can be a challenge because it is a diverse group in which it’s hard to find common traits, he said.

Acer has focussed on one major commonality among the millennials, which is that they all began using the Internet before they were 18 years old, the CMO said. Acer has used this trait to relabel millennials as “the connected generation,” he said.

This is a very “self-aware” group that uses social media to carve out their persona, he said. For example, the generation uses selfies and status updates to convey an image of who they are, he said.

"Every moment is an opportunity for self-expression.”

Marketers must "tap into the connected generation's natural inclination to record their lives," he said.

The prominence of social media in their lives has also made millennials more tuned into what their peers are doing. Birkin said that an Acer survey found that 98 per cent said they are more likely to engage with a friend’s recommendation than a sponsored brand post on the Internet.

“The importance of word of mouth is greater than it’s ever been, and word of mouth means something very very different in today’s world,” he said.

In separate remarks, Unilever senior vice-president of marketing, Marc Mathieu, said marketers today must eschew a purely business view of its potential customers if they want to connect.

“We call them target groups … as if we want to shoot them,” he said.

“Stop thinking about consumers. Stop thinking about marketers. Stop thinking about advertisers. Start thinking about human beings."

Earlier, Pernod Ricard CMO Martin Riley noted that digital has provided the opportunity for a brand “to be part of people’s lives ... on a continual basis,” Riley said.

Social media has also turned marketing into a two-way conversation with customers, he said. Now marketers are the “eyes and ears” of the business, he said.

However, Riley warned that the rise of digital has also required brands to take positions on public policy issues and ensure that their messages are unified globally.

Read more: Brands must look for emotional connection and shareability, says Buzzfeed

Brands used to be able to focus on each market separately but the Internet has given consumers a view into what the brands are dong throughout the world, he said. As a result, “brands are only as strong as their weakest link,” he said.

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and wearable computing for CMO and is the author of a dystopian novel about surveillance. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook:

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

What happens when the 'market' becomes a 'customer'?

One of the insightful things that has been said to me recently came from an independent consultant working at a major FMCG client. He said: “The problem here is that we have some people who are world-class at marketing to the masses, but they haven’t got a clue about how to speak to a customer.”

3 Metrics to measure B2B content marketing ROI

Content marketing has become a key pillar for marketing departments of all sizes across the world. But how do you measure – and ultimately prove – the effectiveness of the time, money and energy spent on content marketing?

How global brands can connect on a local level

The dot-com boom allowed brands to easily access the global market. Thanks to this increased exposure and worldwide awareness, brands can no longer exist in a local bubble.

Dan Ratner

managing director, Uberbrand

Informative comments , I loved the info , Does anyone know if my assistant could get ahold of a blank 2011 IRS 8804 - Schedule A document...


Telstra unveils fresh digital content media services

Read more

So, the one thing I would say is .. the customer already has a voice, whether you wanted them to have one or not .. and they have a platf...

Paul Gilbert

Why digital strategy equals customer experience

Read more

Appliances online are doing a good job online, but they're still not giving customers a truly powerful online experience in my view. Wher...

Graham Howlett

Navigating the future of omni-channel retailing

Read more

For both businesses and marketers alike who want a digital marketing platform that supports data visualization, integrated analytics and ...


Adobe to bolster analytics capabilities of Marketing Cloud with Digital Analytix acquisition

Read more

Good Content is a crucial part in Marketing ROI. No doubt metrics like sharing & engagement, consumption, & lead generation &...


3 Metrics to measure B2B content marketing ROI - B2B marketing - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in