Marketing to Millennials

istock shopping couple  

For better or worse, Millennials are just different. I should know.  I live with two of them.  For folks who are non-Millennials, here are some ideas to consider when marketing your services to this fast-growing consumer group:

  1. Don’t make Millennials call you.  Heck, they seldom even call their parents.  I suggest setting up an e-commerce site where they can do things on their own time.  A “chat now” feature on your website with a typed response is a good way to to communicate with this target market.  Also, make sure that it’s easy to complete a transaction or they are known to move on to another company that does communicate easily online
  2. Millennials have short attention spans, so make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.  We used to find answers in the encyclopedia (when was the last time you saw one of those?).  They get their answers from the Web.  They would rather spend 20 minutes looking up the information they need than 2 minutes calling you.  Millennials like it if you offer exclusive information no one else is offering.  If you do, they will think about it and then come to you for execution.
  3. Millennials are constantly being bombarded with ads on their various devices.  Graphics and visual stimulation are a big part of their lives.   They are the video game and mega-channel TV generation.  Bore them and they will probably respond with a “click.”  If you want to reach them make sure your email, direct mail, and any other marketing collateral are visually appealing.  For example, bold, eye-catching graphics and a minimal amount of text.  Also consider doing infographics.  Millennials love information that is quick and easy to understand.
  4. Don’t be generic; Millennials believe that they are special and they are.  Use variable data, customize your various campaigns and make them personal.  For example, one part of your campaign could have an “inbound” component offering valuable content or a giveaway for completing  a landing page.  That’s a great opportunity to gather relevant information that can be used in a subsequent direct mail piece.
  5. Talking “at” Millennials turns them off.  If you use YouTube and create videos, you’ll be talking “to” them.  If you’re wondering what you can create a video about, just remember it doesn’t have to be a major production.  In fact, the shorter the better.  Remember, their attention span is short.
  6. Talk to Millennials in your family, community, and neighborhood.  Figure out what other ways make them different from those of you who are non-Millennials.  Millennials, other than your own kids, do like to be helpful.  Here’s a hint: eavesdropping on social media (Twitter or Facebook) is an easy way to accomplish this.
  7. Don’t make Millennials figure out how you can help them.  Tell them; show them. Explain to them how your products or services will help them.


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Will Digital Only Work?

Rescigno's is here!  

Let’s be clear.  Digital communications can include email, website, social media and mobile.  Many marketing, communication and development professionals have made digital their main focus for the last several years.

Let’s also be clear about print.  It’s the promotion of anything from a product to a service to a brand via print materials like posters, fliers, postcards, newsletters, catalogs, etc.

It strikes me that there truly is a very real symbiotic relationship between digital and print and when that relationship is ignored results can often be negatively affected.

Here’s one example of how “just” digital doesn’t work well:  A study done at Virginia Tech tested the effectiveness of print and online versions of the university’s alumni magazine on open rate and recall.  Half of the subscribers received a print version and half received an email link to the online version.

Subscribers to the magazine remembered the online version 49% of the time, vs. 82% for print.  The open rates were 77% for print and, again, only 49% for digital.  In addition, people who viewed the print version recalled more articles than the online version.  When asked which delivery method they preferred, 63% were for print and 26% for online; the remaining 4% said “both” or “neither.”


  •   Print stands out more;
  •   Print is remembered more; and
  •   Print is better understood.

Yes, it’s true, in some cases, digital alone may be less expensive, but you’re probably sacrificing readers (and for you nonprofits out there, donors) in the process.

Anyone out there willing to share their experience in the digital vs. print arena?


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Leadership Tuesday…Is Your Nonprofit “On” 24/7?

Annual Fund Consultation  

You’ve read about the importance of “relevance”often, at least as it pertains to the nonprofit arena.  Why is relevance so important?  Plain and simple, it’s your passage way to your donors.  The days of barging in on them with what you think is important are gone forever.

The donor is the one who should be defining what is important–relevant, not what you and not your nonprofit believe to be important.  Your responsibility is to be ready to respond with content “relevant” to their concerns.

When I brought this subject up to one of the executive directors we work with the other day, he said, “But we’re telling stories now.  Stories that speak to the impact of the work we do.”  My response to him was, “Great, I know you are, but that’s just a part of being relevant.”

You see, what we’re finding is that, increasingly, donors, are always on (social media, mobile).  From a marketing standpoint, your organization needs to be always be “on” too, especially when it comes to creating and disseminating fresh, relevant content.

Something I read the other day in this regard really caught my attention.  It’s from the One to One Group.  They suggest that fundrasing and marketing offices need to think and function “like a newsroom.”  I like that notion.

Let’s take it even a step further.  What if we did away with the notion of long-term campaigns where a message or theme was created a year in advance with all the creative already prepared and ready to go at pre-assigned times?  Instead, what if we thought of our fundraising or marketing office as a 10:00 pm newsroom.  Think about it.

We’ve all seen the newsroom with the anchor and co-anchor standing in front of a working newsroom with field reporters, writers and various others in the background gathering information, writing stories, making telephone calls and doing research.  What is it that is changing constantly?  The content, that’s what.  It must stay relevant and current 24/7.

For your brand to be relevant in today’s marketplace, encourage your staff must be able to create lots of useful, appealing, and timely content.  Creating a model of real-time, data driven communications–just like a newsroom will make your nonprofit audience, not organization, centered.

If your nonprofit fails to keep pace with the steady stream of relevant content available on demand, you’re in trouble.

Have you already begun to transition into a newsroom set-up?  Let us know how it’s going right here.


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Moments of Inspiration


You are going to love the newest way RMC is going to inspire in 2014. “A Moment to Inspire” is RMC’s newest web-series, focusing on teaching and inspiring you to retain your donors, and keep them loyal, in new, creative ways! Once a month, check back on our YouTube page for the latest episodes. You don’t want to miss any of these brief, easy to watch, informational moments! Our first episode is below! Let us know what you think!

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Mail: Then & Now


Years ago, I watched millions of pieces of mail being sent out every month. This was for a variety of things. For example, new products being sold, various club memberships, and, of course, nonprofit organizations asking for donations.

Today, this volume has dwindled drastically because of the rising costs of direct mail and the use of email in its place.

More and more, however, we have come to see that email as a stand-alone solution to combat rising direct mail costs is ineffective. After all, it isn’t free. Time is needed to write, edit, and send out email communications and time is money. People are being paid to do email communications.

What about people who don’t have email? They are missed or worse, lost. And there are those who look at an email address and immediately hit the “delete” button because of a lack of interest.

Last, but not least, what about tracking? If emails are being deleted but not tagged as spam, you can be thinking that there still is a relationship; in reality, there isn’t. Those individuals are lost.

Through it all, direct mail still has a “Made You Look” appeal to it. Most people want to know who they’re getting mail from. This creates interest which causes the recipient to find out what is being asked of them (at least as far as nonprofits are concerned).

Lately, our customers have been coming back to us with really outstanding feedback regarding how much they raised in their last direct mail appeal. Yes, it’s true. People are returning to direct mail. It helps to build relationships with existing donors and create new ones with 1st time supporters in so many more ways than email can.

That does not, however, mean that we are suggesting that email be ignored as a communication channel. On the contrary, email when wrapped around a direct mail piece as a primer before the piece is delivered and as a reminder after it has been delivered is a very potent communication cocktail. Try it!

Do you agree? What are you seeing at your nonprofit?

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