Marketing to millennials

As sales and marketing director for Distinction, Chantel Roach has responsibility for reaching the widest range of potential customers for her company’s products and, she says, it’s an ever-changing challenge that requires continuous review of marketing practices and processes.

The start of a new year is always about predicting trends. Fashion, food, travel – being ‘up’ on what’s ‘down’ is the best way to keep ahead of the game and be first in all the right queues.

Now, apply this theory to marketing, and you’ve flipped the balance. You’re no longer the consumer looking for who and what to indulge in, you’re the merchant, with a curiosity about how to bring those masses to your own door. In this case, Distinction Doors.

Over the past couple of years, the vast ether of marketing methodologies has homed in somewhat rapidly on the age of digitalisation, with social media reigning supreme. Cheaper, faster and more instantaneous than flyering or door-to-door sales’ visits, an idea that is merely embryonic at breakfast time can reach thousands just hours later, all thanks to the maze of online audience networks.

Take this concept one step further and the ability for consumers to enjoy a shopping experience in the comfort of their own home via 360-degree views, design software and augmented reality videoing means that the once labour-intensive practices of traditional marketing activities are, unsurprisingly, on the decline.

What remains, however, is the notion that people buy from people. We still have a penchant for face-to-face interaction; a preference to speak to someone ‘in the know’. Every interface with one of our staff provides an opportunity and it’s our aim to make them all positive.

Consequently, this year we’re exploring the trend of employer branding, or looking at precisely how we market ourselves as a company to our current, and potential employees. Firstly, our campaign ‘Ask an expert’, which launches in February, focuses on the human qualities and knowledge our staff bring to the business, and how Distinction Doors stands out from our competition. A suite of new material shows an image of one of our staff alongside statements such as ‘driving your business forward with advanced technological innovations, improving efficiencies’, or ‘dedicated one-to-one customer service contact is on hand to support you with your queries and ordering’. In this new approach, we’re celebrating assets and enforcing the message that we ‘get things done’.

Second, millennials offer up a rich talent pool of opportunity and, in recognition of this, we’ve begun to employ people based on their personalities first, and skill set second. Now, we’re not putting everyone through a Myers and Briggs test, a bad coffee first thing in the morning could upset that one. Instead, we’re taking greater consideration over how these 21st century potentials operate, and how we can get them to consider us as a potential employer.

Millennials come with high expectations, are emotion-led and, let’s face it, have the digital know-how any business would benefit from. Their focus is on ethical value, sustainability and morals. This is the generation we need to recruit, and we want in our business. They’ll judge you on your communication, reputation, and ability to nurture. A fierce bunch. We can’t just sit on our laurels and expect them to flock to our door – ambition drives them to want more. We must reach out and dangle the metaphorical carrot to bring them in.

As an employer, we need people to know a few things. We continually assess our direction of travel, responding to the every-changing needs of the market place. Therefore, we want these dynamic digital natives in our offices, and on our factory floors. All too often millennials are coined with a reputation for being overly confident, highly spirited and a bit too ‘green’ for industry. If we are to be recognised as a true, forward-thinking employer, we need to shout the message that we love these qualities in people; we’re not blind to the impact they will have.

Then, it’s imperative our existing staff know how valued they are. Our team is our biggest asset, and have undoubtedly brought Distinction Doors to where we are today. We want them to share their stories, their pride, and what motivates them, hence the ‘Ask an expert’ campaign.

It’s really about people management, but more so; managing their expectations of us, empowering them to excel in their careers, and raising our own game to ensure that we support and reward the talent we have.