Offer Utility Not Just Novelty

This time of year, the height of all things consumer-related, quickly followed by the Super Bowl, television ads’ most prestigious day of the year, the marketplace is often chock full of creative messaging. Generation Y is often the target of that creativity.

While ultimately creativity is a good thing and Gen Y is more likely to react favorably to unique models and offers, every marketer needs to remember to offer utility and not just novelty. It’s easy for marketers to develop a crutch, assuming something like a flashy tech element will inherently hook Gen Yers, but Millennials are more discerning shoppers than that.

Yes, Millennials appreciate creative messaging (think Axe and Old Spice ad campaigns) but to garner buzz that translates into brand loyalty and dollars spent, the product quality or benefit must be evident. Otherwise, before long even your Millennial customers will start questioning what value you really provide. That’s not a place any brand wants to be.



To offer utility and not just novelty, ask yourselves these questions:

  • Does my unique idea showcase something that provides value? Don’t get caught up in the excitement of innovative tech ideas and throw together a promotion assuming that just because it’s new, Millennials will like it. Show the value. For instance, this holiday season J.C. Penny created QR code gift tags. This was a novel idea that used technology to offer value—the opportunity to make gifts even more personalized.
  • Is my unique idea easy for consumers to understand? Many marketers assume just because Gen Yers are savvy to technology and marketing, they will catch onto subtle nuances. Don’t count on that. Savvy they may be, but Millennials are still busy consumers who don’t hang on every word marketers say to them (as much as we wish they did). Don’t assume they are paying close attention, make it easy for them to understand what you want them to do. For example, if you’re running a TV spot to promote features of your mobile app and encourage downloads, make sure it is clear throughout the whole spot what you’re talking about.
  • Is my unique idea easy for consumers to execute? It’s exciting to tie multiple technologies together into one promotion, but it has to be done carefully to avoid something that will ultimately frustrate consumers. Keep the steps between the initial technology (phone, laptop, TV, etc.) and the value you’re promoting (more information, contest, discounts, etc.) minimal. At the end of the day you’re trying to encourage interaction with customers. Make it easy for them to do that. While Generation Y is more likely to give it a whirl, if they go to a lot of effort and don’t see the value, your unique idea could potentially hurt your brand more than help.
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