Friday May 8th, 2015

Guest blog: Nobody understands millennials

I could not seem to escape that phrase as I conducted countless hours of research for my senior thesis. I sought to remedy the obvious and permeating disconnect between marketers and Millennials by designing and editing an annual future-forward, business-to-business and multi-platform trend forecasting publication. My goal for the publication was to give clarity to brands that want to authentically connect with Millennials using a compendium of information created BY a Millennial.

I took the “nobody understands Millennials” mantra and made it my battle cry. I named the publication NUM, an acronym that also referenced the feeling of digitally-induced apathy (or numbness) that permeates our modern culture.

 I divided the publication into three sections: the Past, the Present and the Future.

The Past offers a trends backcast that provides context to the information I explore in the following two sections.

The Present introduces subscribers to the current state of our social media-driven culture and explains how this has revolutionized marketing. This section introduces social media marketing and its progeny, influencer marketing, and explains how important it is for brands to utilize these concepts to create meaningful social strategies for the Millennial target market.

Finally, the Future offers a one-year forecast that looks ahead at the four strongest trends driving the future market. Each trend is backed up with manifestations that set the stage for these predictions. Allow me to share these four trends with you:

1. Mobile devices will surpass desktop computers as a marketing priority.

2. User-generated content will begin to usurp branded content.

3. Brands will begin to transition their marketing focus to relevant social media.

4. Millennial brands will shift focus from Millennials to Generation Z (so stay tuned! NUM follows the needs of the zeitgeist, and as Millennials begin to fall away from the “marketing’s-most-wanted” spotlight Generation Z will be the focus of upcoming issues.)

All in all, our generation is not that different from the ones that came into adulthood before us. We want stability, happiness and hope for the future. But before this we just want to express ourselves in the only way we digital-natives know how: over social media. Marketers, you can find us there.

Nina Rupp recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design Product Development. In Nina’s perceptive and dynamic work for companies such as WGSN and LPK she strives to holistically understand and disrupt the over-stimulation that plagues her generation. She is joining JCPenney’s trend forecasting team in New York City in July.