Engaging the Millennials: Leading Marketers Address Key Challenges

You see them everywhere. The young professional with his hands glued to his smartphone, checking online news and browsing business apps across from you on the bus. The twenty-something buddies in the Japanese restaurant, enthusiastically sharing photos of their diet through Instagram. And your teenage daughter, the multi-tasking wizard who can juggle through her homework assignments while browsing YouTube and 9GAG on her sleek Mac.

They are the “Digital Generation.” Born after the early 1980s and mostly made up of the Millennials, they are raised with digital technology as their sixth sense. They are a generation of early adopters with passion for innovations and they often set trends that will eventually permeate into the rest of the market. More than that, the Millennial netizens are the consumers of today and of the future. Once a brand clicks with their hearts and minds, the company can tap into a lifetime of loyalty.

With more than half of the Asian population under the age of 35 (including 52.8% in Singapore and 60.5% in Indonesia, as reported by the Bureau of the Census’ International Data Base), there’s no surprise that the Digital Generation is one of the most attractive and dynamic markets for businesses in the region.

However, this market also proves to be a hard nettle to crack. Market your brand wrong and they are quick to detect it, post negative reviews and announce it to all 3,695 of their Facebook friends. No longer passive receptors of marketing messages, this segment favours brands which are able to earn their trust and converse with them on their natural, rapidly-evolving, digital environment.

“There has been a big change in the way young netizens consume media. They gravitate to new technology which makes it difficult for big brands as these media tend to be niche,” said Gautam Dutt, Havas’ Managing Director of Digital Services, Southeast Asia. “They want content at the time and place of their choice, which is very different from the established model of TV and print, the main mass media in Asia.”

“It requires a significant change in mindset as we are now required to listen and engage with our consumers. We are playing catch up with them and it is not easy since the technology and media are fragmenting at rapid speed,” said Azalea Aina, Country Digital Manager of Unilever Indonesia.

The Millennials are non-conformists, and in order to remain relevant, marketers need to push boundaries and dare to innovate. Co-creation might be a good option as shared by Rizky Muhammad, Telkomsel’s Head of Media Channel: “Brands can no longer get their attention through conventional marketing but must work hard to earn their attention. It’s no longer marketing to the consumer. It’s marketing by the consumer. How Telkomsel differentiates in this era is by making the customers a part of the brand.”

To address the above challenges, my team at Pacific Conferences has gathered key experts on “Marketing to the Digital Generation” conference, to be held in Singapore from 29-30 August 2013 and Indonesia from 5-6 September 2013.

Drawing from case studies of Unilever, Lenovo, Intel, Scoot, Telkomsel, Martha Tilaar Group, Keraton at the Plaza, Red Bull, Zalora, Groupon, Yahoo! Flickr, W Singapore-Sentosa Cove, and many others, leading practitioners will share cutting-edge strategies such as co-creation, influencer engagement, brand rejuvenation, social CRM, content storytelling, mobile engagement, and experiential marketing.

[Update: This conference is over. But we have already produced another series of it, which you can view here. It will be held on May 2014 in Singapore and Hong Kong. Featuring exciting line-ups of senior-level speakers from Fortune 500 companies and other thought leaders such as Samsung, AXA, Microsoft, Unilever, AIA, Dell, Lenovo, Red Bull, Domino’s Pizza, Singapore Grand Prix (F1), South China Morning Post, F J Benjamin, JobsDB and many more!]

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