Category: Digital Advertising
October 2nd, 2016

Why Millennials don’t buy: and what Marketers can do about it.

5 tips for marketing to millennials

More Mortar clients are complaining about selling to Millennials. And that got me wondering: what do the pundits have to offer on how to approach today’s Millennial?

Unlike previous generations, Millennials grew up with the promise of instant and frictionless access to information and one another.  As a result, they are more likely to think differently about what it means to “own” something. Writing in Fast Company, Josh Allan Dykstra writes that “this new attitude toward ownership is occurring everywhere, and once we recognize this change, we can leverage it. Instead of kicking against the wave (which is the tendency of many institutions and leaders), we can help our organizations thrive in this strange new marketplace by going with the flow and embracing the death of ownership”.

Look, Dykstra emphasizes, ownership just isn’t hard anymore: “We can now find and own practically anything we want, at any time. Because of this, the balance between supply and demand has been altered, and the value has shifted”.

We know the experience of acquisition matters a lot to us now, and this is especially true of Millennials: How we find out about and buy a product can be as important as what we actually do with it. For example, just consider how much time the modern marketing suite now spends in user experience discussions. Indeed for some eco-conscious customers what we do after we own a product can also be pivotal (like how do we dispose of all that ugly packaging that comes with every Amazon delivery?).

Facebook reminds us that experience is additionally powerful because of how it connects us to others. Our purchases have greater impact because we can perhaps do something worthwhile, tell others about it, and have it say something meaningful about us and our motivations. 

Our newest customers, then, approach ownership differently, encourage us to think beyond purchase through to the act of use, and what the conversation might be around our product and the experience we provide.

Here are five of the more obvious ways Millennials buy differently—along with some tips on what Marketers might be able to do to take advantage of the change:

1. Millennials are more likely to buy things because of what it says about them.

The product or service we deliver can help people do something significant that goes beyond actual use. Method, Seventh Generation, ZipCar, Southwest Airlines have all built brands around a superior and differentiated view of what their customer wants. Action: Make sure you tell your customers what their purchase actually says about them: look for ways to connect your product to something they will find meaningful and compelling. Mortar’s repositioning of Fair Trade USA leveraged this insight with “Every Purchase Matters” tagline.

2. Millennials buy things because of what they can tell others about it.

Of course there’s a social piece to owning something that is ever more vibrant. The joy isn’t all in the having it is in the sharing. When we share something we like with others we create a bond that is meaningful—and “the goodwill created in that moment expands to encompass our brand and our business in general”. Action: Start to think of your employees, their families, your customers, commentators, prospects and maybe even rivals, as a community of like-minded people coming together to achieve something new and important. Tell prospects more about what their purchase could say about their work and their position in the community. Give your community more opportunities to share the news of their finds. And be responsive to feedback. Witness Mortar’s client Chef Software leverages community to spread the power of increased automation in IT..

3. Millennials are more apparent about their values.

Millennials are very open about how their values shape behavior.  As Dykstra indicates this maybe “explains why so many Millennials are moving to Urban areas. Although it is tempting to see the return to the cities as anti-car, instead, it could be more about all the other things a “non-car life” represents: it helps Millennials be more environmentally conscious, socially aware, and local. This distinction of purpose may seem nuanced, but motivation is a powerful differentiator (perhaps one of the most powerful)”. Action: Understand the values that drive your audience. Connect people to something bigger than themselves through your product or service. Our work for San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium museum is obviously designed to help its community enjoy learning about their environment with a special emphasis on science, but not so clear–but nevertheless critical–is the hidden appeal to building an informed citizenry through increased engagement. 

4. Millennials hate to wait.

We all hate to wait. But Millennials have grown up in an age of abundant choice and easy switching. Waiting for them is not just a chore it is an offense and an indication you just don’t care. Action: Take a look at how you engage with your customers and prospects and implement new tools that will enable you to message customers when they are on your website, respond in real-time to questions. Be flexible and authentic with your responses. Wired indicates that more than 50% of customers will abandon their cart on the spot if they can’t get a question answered immediately.

5. Millennials love to shop on their smartphone.

Mobile is the platform of choice for most of us, and this is certainly true of Millennials. Indeed, pundits point out that Millennials just aren’t using their desktop computers as much. And they are not alone: how many of us grasp our iPhone’s like our lives depend on them? Action: make sure your mobile experience is awesome.

As Toffler warned in Future Shock, technology disruption happens fast—but it takes society a long time to catch up and adjust to changes in behavior. Amidst all the concern about selling to young buyers lurks an incredible opportunity to differentiate and grow. Don’t be one of those leaders who thinks they can thrive by ignoring the fastest growing part of their market

* Picture credit from Fast Company.
December 4th, 2015

From Dabblers to Developers

It’s that itch. You’ve felt it haven’t you? A craving to do something more. To take something you’ve dabbled in and turn it into a career. To take the leap and immerse yourself. And go deep. Really deep. And come out with purpose and meaning. The kind that might even be life changing.

Welcome to Dev Bootcamp, the place where those dipping into code can turn that craving into a calling. But more than that, it’s the place they begin to think differently and see things through a new lens. In a supportive environment that stimulates and nurtures creativity. Where you learn from each other.

Check out how it comes to life in our new campaign. Much more to come!

Radio spots:
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Dev Bootcamp: Radio Spot 1 – “Feedback”

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Dev Bootcamp: Radio Spot 2 – “Yoga”

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Online banners:

August 18th, 2015

Hello, CONNECT. Goodbye, 20 minute calls with 30 minute set ups.

Congratulations to our client ShoreTel, who today, not only rang the opening bell at NASDAQ, they also launched CONNECT. More than two years in development, CONNECT is the brilliantly simple business communications system that works for you.

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July 7th, 2015

Mortar partners with Thinknear to deliver a shiny new site!

It will come as no surprise that the world is going mobile. Desktops have been replaced by smartphones, smartphones by tablets and tablets now bested by the phablet.

Advertisers have noticed, and the effort to get in front of audiences has evolved. Thinknear is leading this evolution, but in a sea of same-y mobile adtech players, it’s difficult to get the recognition that their leadership deserves.

That was the challenge for Mortar. Create a brand positioning that conveys the unique, bold, smart and fun essence that’s at Thinknear’s core.

Led by insights, we delivered attitude and aptitude to latitude and longitude, so Thinknear can go on delivering mobile campaigns that enrich not interrupt.

Thinknear’s shiny new site and brand positioning launched July 1, and like proud parents, we couldn’t be happier to watch them fly–albeit, approaching terminal velocity as they hurtle themselves from a perfectly good plane.

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November 6th, 2014

Did We Just Anthropomorphize a Log? Yes, Yes We Did.

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If you’re the kind of person who ever buys stuff, you’ll want to check out ShopAtHome.com. At any given time, the site features thousands of coupons, discounts and cash back offers, with deals at more than 50,000 stores. So not only can you save money on clothes, shoes, plane tickets, toys, computers, and more—you also get cash back on top of that.

Despite having a lot to offer, ShopAtHome.com had little brand awareness. They needed an original, distinctive brand personality that would put them on the map. So they asked Mortar to concept their holiday campaign.

The cash back aspect was what made their story interesting. Sure, giving gifts at the holidays is great. But let’s be honest: Everyone also likes getting a little something back for themselves. We had an opportunity to speak to mall-worn shoppers who were constantly getting burned during the holidays, paying full price for gifts and feeling like a dolt about it. And the idea of being selfish was real and honest—a sharp contrast from the usual ad clutter of picture-perfect moms and saccharine Christmas cheer.

But how could we promote the idea of being selfish without coming off as totally greedy? We mulled. We brainstormed. We wassailed. And then, in a quiet manger underneath the Bay Bridge, Yulie the Yuletide Log was born.

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Meet Yulie. He’s excitable, a little bit nervous, and too shy to talk. And ever since Yulie discovered ShopAtHome.com, he’s become an online shopping nut. This holiday he’s been buying insane amounts of gifts for his friends—they have no idea why, but they’re not complaining. Little do they know for every gift Yulie buys, he saves huge and gets cash back. Thanks to ShopAtHome.com, Yulie won’t get burned every holiday: Instead, he’ll make bank.

To bring Yulie’s story to life, we polished our vocal chords and crafted a good old-fashioned jingle.

Our creative intent was to evoke the cozy, nostalgic feel of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion holiday classics, then contrast that with our modern, offbeat character. Since we were targeting a younger audience, we made Yulie’s character a bit absurd with a penchant for frantic, gif-like movements. Wrap it all up in a frighteningly catchy song, and you’ve got a Christmas nondenominational holiday miracle. By making Yulie the selfish, clever, slightly manipulative one, we can all live out those unbecoming-but-oh-so-human qualities through him.

Pre-roll video and banners are live on EllenTV.com, NBC.com, Hulu, People.com, RealSimple.com, and more. We’re halfway through the campaign, and results have been phenomenal. Click-through rate is 21% higher than the industry average. Cost-per-response is 10 times lower than the campaign goal. And brand awareness has grown dramatically, based on year-over-year Google searches for ShopAtHome.com branded terms. Which reminds us that the best part of making goals is meeting them. And exceeding them is icing on the fruitcake.

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