Sarah Power
Jan 10, 2014

#CES2014 Day Two: Millennials are your mature tech audience, so listen up

Sarah Power, Initiative's chief strategy officer, North America, explains why understanding Millennials is front of mind for those at the Las Vegas tech tradeshow.

The crowds gather at CES 2014 in Las Vegas
The crowds gather at CES 2014 in Las Vegas

Millennials: as this group is widely agreed to be one of the most elusive targets from a marketing standpoint, many of our clients grapple with how to win their long-term loyalty.

With this target’s readiness to adopt emerging technologies, CES somehow always brings the Millennial discussion to the forefront. With that in mind, on day two we hit a panel focusing on cracking mobile marketing with Millennials. Panelists ranged from Stewart Stone [director, business and creative development] from VICE to Hakan Kastepen [executive director, product strategy and innovation] from Panasonic.

OK, in the spirit of full disclosure it was actually our panel – but I think there were some really valid points made.

Millennials are really the poster children for a mature technological audience, in that they really have a strong sense of what "value" means to them when it comes to digital. They know what their data’s worth. They have no issue with sharing, but there’s a clear quid pro quo.

They also know "how the sausage is made" – code is not that much of a mystery. So being able to make and edit things yourself is a given. And should be free. And they have absolutely no patience with things that don’t work (#Fail) or waste their time.

This value equation is even more extreme when it comes to mobile.

So how do brands actually make a difference in this context? Two big ideas in particular came through.

First, personalisation is so ubiquitous for this group – but the one thing that mobile promises to do is enhance "live reporting", curating the context of live experiences.

The second point, which I find very interesting, is sheer simplicity. Give them an app or a device that does one thing brilliantly that saves them time. The current feeling is that wide platforms like Facebook feel cluttered and overused, compared to the Snapchats of this world.

Another point that I think marketers may sometimes miss is that the most valuable trait of Millennials from a marketing perspective is their accessibility and honesty. They will tell you what they think. We as an industry don’t always do the simplest thing: ask them.

(The article first appeared on

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