Marketing to millennials can't be 'phony'

Organisations can't just do digital, they have to be digital businesses, says Pegasystems CMO

Marketing to millennials on new media platforms needs to be authentic and embedded in the way you do business, otherwise they won't respond, Pegasystems’ CMO and CTO agree.

Speaking at a business lunch last week to discuss digital disruption, Don Schuerman, CTO of Pegasystems, along with Robert Tas, the vendor’s CMO, discussed marketing methods for hooking millennial consumers in the digital age.

Schuerman said the message needs to be genuine to succeed, otherwise it is a "facade" that seems "jarringly painful".

"Going back to Holden Caulfield’s time - millennials have been very good at diagnosing phonies...fakers… it’s got to be genuine," he said. "Millennials can figure out the corporate pitch on Tumblr that’s not actually a real guy. The organisations that do this should know how to use the new media in a way that is genuine to the millennial consumer and not just grandpa on Twitter."

According to Tas, organisations are too often trying to "do digital" instead of "be digital". Relying on new media like Twitter and Facebook means not just asking millennials what they want, but also responding to what they don't want, he said.

"The point of authenticity and transparency is it’s OK to make a mistake, as long as you admit it, and I think that's the first step in our new world," said Tas. He cited an incident where Bank of America announced the introduction of new fees on Twitter, only to rescind them after a public backlash.

"It's interesting that the bank changed its strategy because of social media. I think we’re seeing that evolution, and companies are trailing a little bit on learning how to internalise that, learning how to do the change of management," Tas said.

Related: Vice: Targeting millennials is about opt-in content
New report busts myths about millennials and their digital and social behaviour

Tas recommended organisations struggling to embrace digital in all elements of business strategy should read What would Google do? by Jeff Jarvis.

"It imagines if Google was in the auto business or the finance business and so forth, and it really makes you think. If companies like Facebook or Amazon were in your business, how would they do it?" Tas asked.

Even traditional industrial companies such as General Electric (GE) are blazing the trail, particularly with Pinterest handles, which Tas said illustrated the authenticity brands needed to be successful.

"They’re posting about an aircraft engine on Pinterest and it’s their brand, it’s their storytelling, it gets the morale of their employees going and shows their product in a light that you wouldn't otherwise think about," said Tas.

"You sense that this engineer talking about this engine loves this engine, and other people will want to hear about and see what he or she is posting," added Schuerman. "And it's working for them, because it’s genuine."

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

who wants to date me I am 9 years old and i am a boy

Jeremy Hawkins

Sink a sub gaming experience signals Subway's renewed brand push

Read more

Great read. I agree that it should be a perfect balance between interacting with your customers and knowing your brand. As a business, yo...

Caroline Scott

7 ways CMOs can improve their customer engagement game

Read more

Very true. Team development helps improve collaboration among the team members. I was able to improve my team's collaboration skills by t...

Quent Sinder

Why empowering others can help make you a great leader

Read more

CRM is a very good software that can help you succeed in your business. In my company, this system has allowed me to improve customer rel...

Anna Janicka

Sensis rebrands to Thryv and brings business software to Australian SMBs

Read more

AI Leasing Assistants have finally arrived for the multifamily industry. With so many to choose from it can be hard to figure out which i...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Blog Posts

Unboxing 101 - How savvy influencer engagement can build a brand

The humble unboxing video is a powerful tool. Correctly executed, it harnesses consumer fandom, viral authenticity and brand design magic to deliver a high-impact message to a tightly targeted cohort of consumers.

Gali Arnon

Chief marketing officer, Fiverr

​Power to the people

Purpose is the ultimate statement of intent for many organisations. Why are we here? What are we trying to achieve?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

The playbook to develop strategic brand moats

Warren Buffet is an unlikely ally for marketers. But his belief businesses need strategic moats that increase their value in the market while acting as barriers to competitors can offer marketers a new playbook for brand building and driving growth.

Fabian Di Marco

Founder and managing director, Tzu & Co

Sign in