In October 2016, marketing guru Gina Pell coined the term Perennials: “Because age ain’t nothin’ but a number”.

Her argument is that the days of targeting media and products at people based on their age is over. Perennials in her mind are ever-blooming, live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. Perennials are not defined by age but by mindset. Yet although Pell is clear that this group crosses generations and is more categorized by attitude than age, the marketing media has shockingly adopted the term to describe 40- to 50-year-old women who are defying middle-age conventions and have more in common with their 20-year-old daughters than their mothers at an equivalent age. It seems a shame that as an industry, we cannot let go of a demographic frame. Should we not champion ‘Perennial’ targeting with its original definition as a route to business success?

We as an industry have been guilty of continuing a historic trend of targeting younger consumers and making it sound radical by giving them a cool name. While this might have worked in the past world of broadcast media, this is dangerous approach in the world of addressable media. The secret to the success of ‘millennial’ type marketing is not the demographic media targeting but the modern approach taken to communication. From a media perspective, we should be targeting our most valued consumers at scale. This means taking at Perennial approach using all the new ways of targeting the right attitudes and behaviours. We should be producing the right content based on brand purpose and optimizing the experience across the journey.

So the secret to brand success is about identifying who to target, how best to communicate and how to convert to sales. Here are three interpretations of growth theories that can help media best deliver this for marketing.

  1. Penetration

Bryon Sharp has proven that brands grow by increasing penetration not by getting existing buyers to buy more. His approach to media is reaching as many people as possible for as long as possible.

  1. Brand Purpose

In the 21st century, consumers buy brands that stand for something. Don’t just take Jim Stengel word for it, analysis from Harvard Business Review & NYU’s analysis of the Global Marketing 2020 survey show that business that leverage brand purpose perform significantly better than those who don’t.

  1. Seamlessness

Siegel + Gale produced a simplicity index based on a survey of more than 14,000 respondents across nine countries which gathers perspectives on simplicity and how industries and brands make people’s lives simpler or more complex. The top 10 brands in this survey since have outperformed the S&P by a factor of more than three. A high simplicity score reflects the ease or seamlessness of the brand experience.

Full published article available here on WARC

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