22 Jul 2024 02:40

Advertising & Marketing

Perennial Marketing:The New World of Mass Personalisation

Recently, marketing guru Gina Pell coined the term Perennials, “because age ain’t nothin’ but a number”. Her argument is that the days of targeting media and products at people based on their age is over.

Perennials in her mind are ever-blooming, live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. Perennials she says are not defined by age but by mind-set. At Zenith, we believe that marketers should take this Perennial approach, eschewing age in favour of targeting not just mind-set but also behavioural change and disposal income.

We especially need to think ‘perennially’ about targeting because in recent years there has been a fundamental shift in media consumption and a revolution in the way media is traded. Historically, reaching young people was hard as their media was scarce. The only way to socialise was face to face, this meant their consumption of media was limited. Today, the mobile revolution means that the young connect in the virtual media world of messaging and social media apps, leading to massive declines in ‘hanging out’ since 2011 and providing an abundance of youth media opportunities.

This same revolution has led to a fragmentation of audiences across multiple platforms and devices, making all audiences hard to reach through historic targeting approaches on traditional media. When you buy traditional broadcast media, what you buy is the media exposure of the audience. The price is based on the delivery of your specific target audience.

As young people are pre-occupied elsewhere, broadcast media consumption was – and still is – biased in favour of older consumers, which used to mean a high advertiser demand for younger audiences. When you buy new addressable digital media, such as programmatic display and social, what you buy is an individual’s exposure to ads across different media and platforms. This is priced just on the individual ad exposures of the specific target audiences, with other individual exposures being sold to other advertisers.

Unlike broadcast media, if you buy a young audience, you are only reaching that audience. The reason that this is an issue is that compared with other targeting opportunities available today, age is a poor proxy for potential sales conversion. This is why we need to adopt a perennial approach to targeting focusing on behavioural change, disposal income and, of course, mindset and attitude.

Implications for Marketers

• Due to the transition from hanging out offline to hanging out online, youth media is no longer scarce

• Addressable media means that you only reach the individuals you target, which means that you need to be more precise on your buying audience definitions

• Compared to the new options available, targeting by age is poor proxy for potential sales

So rather than talk of millennials or Gen Z, we should think about how to leverage digital transformation to maximise the growth of brands based on what makes them appealing in the new world of mass personalisation. The interesting thing about successful ‘millennial marketing’ has not been the reach of the demographic but rather the appeal of modern market ing approaches to a broader consumer base.

So how should we express an approach that targets people by their attitude and behaviours rather than age?

Take the re-invention of Gucci over the past few years, which saw H1 2017 reve nue up 43% and operating income up 69% year-on-year. It could be said that the sleepy sexy look and gender fluidity that Creative Director Alessandro Michele pushed resonated with consumers, but there is a lot more going into the house’s revamp than a change in aesthetic.

Michele never went out to appeal exclu sively to the under 35s, even though 50% of Gucci sales are to this demographic. Instead he created something new and fresh that appealed to ‘quirky optimists’ – and not just the clothes, but importantly the way in which they are communicated. Michele went on record to say that Gucci isn’t trying to make a political statement, and fashion observers commented that the new collection is about having fun, with figures like American actress Hari Nef embracing the new Gucci on their social media channels.

Christina Binkley of the Wall Street Journal talks about Gucci as the celebrity’s go-to brand of the moment “because it’s the hottest brand around, their photos go vi ral when they wear it, and Gucci is brilliant about working with celebs.”

Appeal to millennials is the by-product of good perennial targeting. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, Gucci is simply doing it right from every angle: public relations, the right amount of accessibility, celebrity endorsement and street-style endorsement. Michele simply set out to “make Gucci a 21st century state ment of contemporary coolness.” Just be cause millennials came of age in this century does mean not that they are only ones who ‘get it’.

Implications for Marketers 

• Modern marketing approaches, while labelled as appealing to a specific generation, appeal to forward thinking individuals of all ages

• Digital transformation allows for better brand experiences, which are increasingly important to today’s consumer

• Winning is about identifying the audience for growth, appealing to their mindset and winning their point of change

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