Ryan Seacrest: ‘Don’t Generalize Millennials’

Christine Birkner
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

WHAT: Ryan Seacrest says that millennials are tired of being stereotyped, and often break those stereotypes in their preferences and behaviors.

SO WHAT? Marketers should be willing to dive deeper and create content and experiences that engage the millennial audience.

NOW WHAT? Do your research on segments and subsegments within the millennial demographic, rather than trying to target these consumers by age group alone.​

While millennials certainly are important to brands’ bottom lines, marketers are buzzing about the demographic almost to the point of overkill, and no one is more tired of hearing the word “millennial” than members of the demographic, itself.
So said TV and radio personality and producer extraordinaire Ryan Seacrest at a presentation at Advertising Week XII in New York on Sept. 29. “Millennials find it patronizing to be called ‘millennials,’” Seacrest said. “They’re tired of being generalized.”
Seacrest and Gayle Troberman, executive vice president and CMO of San Antonio, Tex.-based global media and entertainment company iHeartMedia Inc., discussed how brands can truly connect with millennials, and explained shifts in how music artists work with brands. Here are some key insights from their panel.

1. Millennials want meatier content.

Short, “snackable” content might garner clicks and social shares, but the popularity of podcasts such as NPR’s Serial shows that millennials’ attention spans aren’t as short as marketers think, Troberman said. “Podcasts are back because people are interested in things that are really involved and engaging.”

2. Millennials value experiences over stuff.

In 2014, iHeartMedia’s campaign with Diet Coke to promote the release of Taylor Swift’s album 1989 included Swift co-hosting Seacrest’s radio shows and performing a small concert on a New York rooftop sponsored by Diet Coke. “It was super intimate. There were 200 people on the roof, but it reached hundreds of thousands on social media,” Toberman said.  Added Seacrest: “CMOs need to create experiences that are once-in-a-lifetime, that money can’t buy.”

3. Musicians are willing to help brands engage with millennials.

Music obviously is a powerful way to connect with millennials, and artists are game to participate, Seacrest said. “Artists are more willing to work with brands now than they were 10 years ago, when it was more commercialized. It’s a collaborative process, and it helps to bring the brands into the conversation early on.” When asked to provide advice for brands that want to work with artists, Seacrest laughed. “Listen to their lyrics,” he said. “Artists realize that there’s a significant advantage to work with brands and come up with things that work for both of them.”
Keep checking AMA.org for more real-time updates from Advertising Week XII, and for more insights straight from the show floor, follow @AMA_Marketing and #AMAatAdWeek on Twitter.

Author Bio:

Christine Birkner headshot
Christine Birkner
Christine Birkner is the senior staff writer for Marketing News and Marketing News Weekly. E-mail her at cbirkner@ama.org.
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