Attraction Marketing – How Millennials Are Killing the Traditional Ad Business

Attraction Marketing, Personal Branding, Social Media, Influencers:  There are a dozen ways to label the changing advertising landscape. Most people don’t associate these changes with millennials making thousands or even millions, but that’s because they aren’t looking hard enough. What do I mean? 

Take a good hard look at your feed the next time you find yourself in a “scroll hole.”   Who do you spend the most time checking out?  Their photos are ascetically pleasing, they have that “look.”   They seem to be a normal person with a life that doesn’t look much different from yours on the surface.   But they probably have something you want.   Maybe they stay at home with their kids, maybe they just built their dream home, maybe they travel the world.  Whatever it is you find yourself asking “how do they do it?  They never seem to be in the office.” 

The difference between you and them is they have figured out how to monetize their feed.  They make their living by simply sharing their life with you. There’s no spammy “call 1-800-xxx-xxxx in the next 17 minutes to claim your free gift with purchase” hook. There’s no stock family eating plastic food around the dinner table talking about Timmy’s new favorite toy.  There’s no gimmicks involved.

Most millennials I know are sick of getting blamed for “killing” this industry or that industry.  The real truth of the matter is that big companies aren’t evolving with market demands as rapidly as their success would demand.  But we are even more tired of gimmicky products that don’t do as advertised.  We are tired of the volume increasing during every annoying commercial break that is advertising products or services that aren’t applicable to our lives. 

When I sit back and think of how advertising has changed, it is like we are reverting back to what once was.  Our generation values “word of mouth” more than radio jingles.  Except our “word of mouth” just looks differently; it is more like social media impressions instead.  We want to hear from REAL people we know, we like, we grew up with about their favorite new lipstick, nail polish or cleaning detergent.  Mostly, we want to know that it actually works!   We are more interested in a personal testimony then wasting our precious money on stuff we don’t need or things that don’t work as advertised.  After all, we are one of the most indebted and underemployed generations….. but that’s a whole other blog post. 

We are making large companies work harder to earn our business than previous generations.  My last 9-5 employer was stumped as to how to sell insurance to millennials.  Interestingly, they weren’t consulting ANY millennials about the buying process.  The brain children of these teams were largely made up of one single demographic and I bet you can guess what that looked like.   Simply put, companies are missing the influencer boat because they don’t understand how new generations want to shop. 

Social media is making the world flat and making it easier for small businesses to see massive sales momentum.   Frankly, I love it!   I LOVE seeing millennials win.  I love seeing families chase down and receive the BEST of both worlds.  I LOVE supporting the underdogs, the misfits and the ones who dare to do something different.   So the next time you see your former sorority sister slinging a product you’d buy from a big box store anyway, think about how buying from her could impact her family.   Why not buy from someone you care about versus a store that doesn’t even know their employee’s names?