By Brenda Saunders

I was asked by an earnest, young (early 20s) PR consultant once “How did you find out stuff before Google?”

Typical millennial, I thought, as my mind raced back to the days of phone calls, contact books, typewriters and libraries.

However, the reality is millennials were born between 1982 and 2004, according to Howe and Strauss’ definition in their book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. So, they have never known a world before the internet and Google. They are digital natives and quite a different proposition when it comes to marketing.

That’s why a recent opinion piece in marketing trade title, AdNews by media trading specialist Stella Xu caught my eye. Xu says the keys to reaching millennials include digitisation, personalisation and optimization.

In her article Xu gives the example of a native ad campaign for a global pharmaceutical company for its new line of cold and flu treatments.

“Instead of pushing users directly to a product introduction or purchase page, the ads took users to a page with useful tips on preventing and fighting the seasonal flu.

“This campaign showed extremely strong CTR (click-through-rate) and excellent page engagement – a good proportion of users actually clicked to multiple other pages of the advertiser’s site, rather than landing on the intended page and leaving.

“For simple display ads, the look and feel of the creative makes a large difference to engagement levels as well. A more original or clever creative generally yields a higher engagement rate. Interstitials and rich media plays ads provide the opportunity for the viewers to interact with the ad by taking a short quiz or playing a game. We see excellent engagement results with these types of creatives.”

All of which shows why it’s so important to keep up with what some of the leading companies are doing.

And there’s a great opportunity coming up on November 29 at the NZSMI annual general meeting in Auckland.  The guest speaker will be Pier Smulders – Alibaba Country Manager for NZ.

Pier will share his perspectives on the changing nature of the cross-border eCommerce trade in China, Chinese consumer needs, the rapid evolution of new retail in China, and opportunities for exporters. Pier is also happy to have an open discussion on any matters of interest to members.

If anyone knows how to reach millennials, Alibaba does.  Here’s your chance to find out how they do it.

Brenda Saunders is a director of Trio Communications, Auckland and she specialises in health-related communications.  She is the former managing editor of NZ Marketing Magazine, Ad/Media and Supermarketing magazines.