Marketers Offer Insights Into Millennials at BAA Panel

Marketers must understand what makes Millennials tick and then properly tailor their messaging to reflect those tendencies and behaviors. That was the message delivered by four panelists at a Brand Activation Association event last week in New York.

The session was entitled “Creating Relevance and Winning – For Brands and Their Millennial Customers.”

“Brands don’t need to be front and center,” said Sam Raeburn, Strategy Director of VICE Media. “Authenticity means telling the truth and giving value. The minute you are ‘trying to be authentic,’ you stop being authentic.”

Raeburn added, “If you give Millennials something worth their time, they will invest in it and the brand.”

Jim Alkon, Marketing Director of audio marketing company CRN International, said, “You can’t beat Millennials over the head with hard-core messaging. Your first order of business should be to ‘get elected,’ engage with them, let them develop a level of comfort and trust with you. Then there will be plenty of time to fill them in on the benefits of your product.”

Citing a recent CRN study, Alkon noted that Millennials prefer messaging in the form of custom content that either entertains and informs. Brands that provide this will be looked upon, according to the Millennial respondents, as more favorable candidates for purchase consideration.

The study also noted that Millennials, collaborative buyers by their nature, put much value in testimonials and endorsements from peers, and others who display similar behaviors and attributes.

Perhaps the most misunderstood finding was that traditional spot ads, the most common form of messaging on the radio, was one of the least popular formats to draw in Millennials.

When it comes to Millennials, “Failure happens when brands do not tap into any true insight or what their customers want to engage with,” said Katie Tyson, Director of Digital Marketing at FreshPet, which provides fresh, natural foods for pets. “Campaigns will work better when you run with the idea and resist the urge to check all the boxes on brand communication, positioning, etc. It’s much harder but worth the effort.”

Millennials are known to have a high level of interest in incentives and giveaways to encourage brand engagement. Elisa Padillo, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, pointed out that in her experience, “Game ticket offers don’t work; merchandise works.”

The session was moderated by Alfredo Lomeli, on-air anchor at ESPN Deportes.

About CRN International

CRN International is a radio marketing company with experience in not only planning and buying audio platforms, primarily radio, but in pioneering new strategies and approaches that give clients significant competitive advantages. Marketing solutions are based on a combination of art, science, history, intuition, market intelligence, and—most importantly—the business objectives of clients, which include some of the world’s most well-known brands. The company is headquartered in Hamden, CT, with offices in New York, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Hershey, PA.

For more information, contact Jim Alkon, CRN, Marketing Director,, 203-407-3341.