Marketing in the Millennial Era

We have learned that great conversations and insights emerge when our founders and industry leaders have an opportunity to have an intimate, open, deep discussion about the challenges that both sides face in advancing innovation. On June 29th, Innovation Endeavors, Marker LLC and Stephen Messer, Founder & CEO of Linkshare (acquired by Rakuten), co-hosted such a dinner for top founders and marketing leaders from several industries at the Soho House New York. We sought to get an insider's' perspective on what the future holds for this market and what are the potential roadblocks that lie ahead. Guests included Jon Potter, CMO of Moët Hennessy, Scott Hames, VP of Marketing and Analytics at Bed Bath and Beyond, Chris McCann, President of 1-800-Flowers and Nicole Weiss, Director of Marketing and Strategy at Macy’s*.  

Following introductions, guests shared the marketing hurdles they currently face. Two key challenges emerged as universal amongst the group: incorporation of new data technologies and declining brand loyalty.  

While data analytics is changing the marketing game, adoption of these new technologies is one of the biggest pain points for brands. There is a huge need for streamlined data management tools with zero integration. Guest Tomer Tagrin, Co-Founder and CEO of Innovation-backed Yotpo recounts, “brands are extremely busy, under-managed and suffer from low technology and legacy platforms. They are thirsty for new things but cannot handle the onslaught of new technologies. They need solutions, not complicated technologies that demand manpower or tech expertise.” 

Perhaps the most captivating discussion of the evening centered on the challenge of declining brand loyalty. When marketers think holistically about their brand, technology is currently less of a factor. Engaging directly with the customer and opening new markets is a top priority.  However, their ultimate goal is of course twofold: to not only get millennials excited about their brand but to also spend money on their products. Customer retention is complicated further by this growing trend of declining brand loyalty. Consumers today are much more loyal to the brand experience as opposed to the brand itself. Amit Avner, Founder and CEO of Innovation-backed Taykey, shares “to improve loyalty, brands need to better understand millennials and how to engage with them better, as they are the future loyalists. Technology can't solve everything but the rise of social media is able to give brands a sneak peek into what millennials care about."

There was much more to discuss than the evening allowed time but everyone in attendance felt the dinner created a space for real, constructive reflection and relationship building. This engaging conversation between top entrepreneurs and industry thought leaders solidifies the importance of providing the opportunity to break silos and build new connections.

*Guests also included Eyeview, Yotpo, Taykey, Interlude, Datorama, and Zady from the Innovation Endeavors portfolio