Nostalgia and Marketing to Millennials: Part II

 In Business, Case Study, Marketing

Last week, I told you about how marketing to Millennials is a missed opportunity. Many corporate entities aren’t taking advantage of this generation’s needs.

Their reluctance indicates that small businesses have an opportunity to create record-shattering profits. The first step: learn about why nostalgia is a key selling point, especially in an economy that doesn’t always provide reward for those who pay their dues.

It might not be what you think, so be sure to check out the first installment of Nostalgia and Marketing to Millennials.

I briefly mentioned how instant information weighs heavy on Generation Y. When something affects day-to-day life, it impacts product development, marketing, and sales.

There is a pain point you might not be aware of. For Millennials, knowledge does not always equal power.

The Generation Drowning in Information

Generation Y came up during the age of information. In a flash, the Internet’s ocean of information made library card catalogues obsolete. Soon after, modern headlines turned to bite-sized, 140-character snippets.

When you’re overloaded with anything—even if it’s something as precious as knowledge—it’s natural to experience numbness. Imagine a loop of sensational and sometimes emotionally crushing headlines scrolling past your eyes like movie credits:

All of these are 100% real and published in legitimate news sources. When your life is this bizarre, there comes the desire for an uplifting experience. Hence the innate nostalgia that allows this demographic to escape the throes of modern sensationalism.

Knowledge and awareness happen with a laptop click, which creates heavy saturation. Overwhelm dominates the Millennial mindset and confusion sets in. This is why Gen Y gobbles up the nostalgic products of yesteryear, but something else is at play.

The Information Age Creates a Pain Point.

When your newsfeed ticks a stream of violence and absurd media theatre, it’s easy to become numb. Millennials still care about their world, but given the money involved in social change, it becomes increasingly difficult to make an impact.

All in all, this creates stress. As a business owner, it’s your mission to eliminate as much of that stress as possible.

Marketing to Millennials Means Preventing Pain

Create products and services that relieve stress. Or bypass it. Yes, that sounds like a no-brainer, but for the Gen Y market, the high pressure is a completely new monster.

Imagine this:

  • You might not receive social security.
  • You won’t be able to retire until you’re dead.
  • Hard work is not a guarantee to success.
  • You won’t outperform your parents financially.
  • College degrees equal a high school education.
  • The world looks like a cesspool of crime and violence (even though frequency has gone down over the past 10 years.)
  • Mortgages are three times as high as they once were.

Wouldn’t all that make you want to escape? I can’t tell you how to create and market these products without knowing more about your business, but knowing the pain points are half the battle.

You can use the nostalgia factor as a compass to integrate Millennial-centric solutions into your marketing.

How Nostalgia Creates Revenue

If nostalgia represents a yearning for more carefree days, businesses can help create stress-free experiences. The caveat: the marketing information you create must explain cost-to-gain.

As Millennials do not have the financial security that the Baby Boomers enjoy, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to part with their money. For the youngsters who’ve clawed their way into the middle class, income goes to bills, housing, and sometimes entertainment.


(Nostalgia in a nutshell)

These circumstances leave many businesses out of sight, out of mind. With a marketing message that hits the Gen Y marketplace on an emotional/gut level, you can tap into a new demographic.

In fact, there is a science to this scenario. Studies have shown that nostalgia is a key element in purchasing behavior. According to the Harvard Business Review:

“In one experiment, nostalgic feelings increased people’s willingness to pay for desired objects. In another, participants who were asked to draw pictures of coins drew them 10% smaller after writing about a nostalgic event. Inducing warm feelings about a cherished past could bring big benefits for those seeking to part consumers from their money.”

There you have it. Nostalgia is hardwired. But it’s important to know why.

Millennials are concerned for their future, and it’s up to small businesses to express how they can create brighter outcomes and quality experiences.

The past can teach us so much about the present, especially when it comes to the way we frame our business story and branding. While nostalgia is not unique to Gen Y, businesses have a unique opportunity.

You can rebuild the simple days of the past—at least in part—through products that give Millennial customers peace of mind. Are you ready?

Click here to get started.






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