We recently concluded our first Digital Marketing educational series of 2016. In the series, we devoted an entire day to teaching the fundamentals of successful Relationship Journey Mapping. When done right, Relationship Journey Mapping reveals a profound view of what’s going on inside the mind of each of your customers, patients, employees, or whomever you wish to influence as they engage with you. The mapping process also examines an individual’s acceptance of technology to research yours and other’s solutions and how technology will be utilized to manage the relationship with you. What journey mapping can provide is the ability to climb inside the head of those you wish to influence so you can ultimately create a positive experience for them.

Last week’s Digital Marketing Series had a great mix of organizations from a wide variety of industries as well as attendees across several generational groups. The room consisted mostly of boomers and gen X’ers, but we also had a few millennials. To be brief, many questions asked of millennials focused on ways they approach a purchase. For instance, the millennials in the room were asked various questions such as: What are effective ways of reaching you? What do brands do that turn you off from their product or services? There was some surprise from both sides of the conversation. Considering millennials have an estimated $200 billion in annual buying power, these are important questions for any organization hoping to grow and stay relevant.

Doing a better job of reaching and working with millennials is a challenge facing every organization. As of 2015, they’re the largest generation in the American workforce, accounting for more than one out of every three workers.

Here’s a look from Pew Research:

Millenials Pew

Millennial workers are now buying houses, utilizing professional services, raising children, and, for the most part, developing into well-adjusted, functioning members of society. Reaching them is a priority for several of our clients so we wanted to share a little of what transpired in the conversation at the series.

It’s not a scientific survey, but our FPOV Millennials answered a few questions hurled at them from the baby boomers and gen Xers in the room. Their answers were somewhat enlightening and interesting. Hopefully they will make you think differently about how to market to their generation. Plus, they’re millennials, so they genuinely believe everybody should care about what they think.

Austin Circle

 Austin Klososky

What content and advertisements are effective at reaching you? 
I respond best to content and ads that highlight quality, durability, and real consumer opinions. I prefer to buy high quality items that will last. (I’m a huge fan of the subreddit r/buyitforlife)

What turns you away?
Over reliance on banner ads, “sponsored content”, no common theme (i.e. Geico), getting my email address and then sending me five emails a day (Bath and Body Works).

Brands that I am very close with:
Brooklinen – They’re an industry disruptor I discovered last year. They have an excellent website that highlights user reviews and non biased product reviews. I recieved my order extremely quickly and it was beautifully packaged when it arrived. They made such a great impression that several of my friends have ordered sheets from them on my recommendation.

Patagonia – I love that they (at least appear to be) less focused on making huge profits and more focused on making high quality products. I also love how important social values and sustainability are to them.

Everlane – Clothing company who believes in “Radical Transparency.” I love how they show you all of the details of their products and factories. The cost breakdowns on each item are also fascinating. I respect their transparency.

Overall, I respect companies that prioritize “doing things the right way” instead of cutting costs and making huge profits. For instance, I have huge respect for American Apparel for their steadfast commitment to keep their production in USA when all of their competitors have moved to abroad. I am happy to pay more for clothes from AA because of this.

Abby Circl

 Abby Power

What content and advertisements are effective at reaching you? 
The ads and marketing strategies that best capture my attention possess clean, precise visuals that communicate one strong message per point. I also appreciate innovative ways companies make it easy to make a purchase. An obvious example is Warby Parker. They, for those who don’t know, will ship a variety eyeglasses for you to try on. You keep the pair you want and return the rest. Nike, meanwhile, is awesome at customizing merchandise for the buyer.

I also love brands that find creative ways to personalize an experience. For instance Coca-Cola‘s Share a Coke campaign. It is a creative way for a brand to insert itself into my lifestyle. Other examples of brands that I find possess a great digital presence are Apple and Dove.

What turns you away?
Ones that try to replicate another branding line (no originality, like cell phone carriers) and those that always compare prices/quality to competitors (Progressive, Geico).

Corey Circle

 Corey White

What content and advertisements are effective at reaching you?
Emotional or informative content is what I respond to best. I think the best advertisements and content tell a story whether that be with video, graphically, or text-based content. If it can grab my attention early and appeal to me at some human level that’s when I respond.

What turns you away?
What turns me away is anything pushy. I can’t stand pop-ups. They create a wall between me and my goal, creating – at the very least – extreme frustration.

Brands that I am very close with: 
I consume a lot of content online, whether it be news or entertainment. I spend an absurd amount of time reading WIRED, and that serves a dual purpose. The articles are often informative and entertaining. They also help me stay up to date with information I can use to do my job better.

I rarely watch television, choosing instead Hulu or Netflix. Sports are important to me, so obviously ESPN is a website of choice. I do my banking online, so my bank’s online platforms (including its app) are critical. My bank does a great job of informing me quickly when something might be amiss with my account. This obviously means a lot to me. I’ve continued to use this bank although I no longer live a reasonable distance from any of their physical locations. That being said, brands that can deliver me something others cannot and offer me security, information, or entertainment are the ones I’m going to develop a long term relationship with.


 Matt Stafford

What content and advertisements are effective at reaching you? 
I like clever and funny material, also anything that pulls at the heart strings. Make me feel something. If you’re just trying to win me over with information, you have an uphill challenge. Adding convenience to my life is greatly appreciated – I’m looking at you, Uber and Mint. Thanks for the help.

I take more stock in opinions from unbiased third parties. I know you’re going to say good things about you. I want to hear good things about you from someone who has experience with you… or hasn’t had a good experience with you. That tells me a lot. The larger the purchase, the more in-depth I’ll go into reading reviews. In that case, I’m usually looking at the low-scoring reviews, not the good ones because I believe many of them are fake.

What turns you away?
Pop-up ads, sponsored content, and banner ads will generate an audible groan from me and a quick click to the nearest link to take me away from your unwanted interruption. Period. Also, quit sending me direct mail unless I’m ordering a product or asking you for something specific. I’m not using your coupons and I’m sick of throwing them away.

Brands that I am very close with: 
Nike – I’m a runner and I’ve been a fan of the late distance-running great, Steve Prefontaine and his coach, Bill Bowerman, for a long time. For that reason, I’m a Nike runner and always will be. Aside from my history with the brand, the evolution of their product quality has kept me around. If I think about all of the products in my life and how they have evolved over time, athletic clothing has really made some great changes. How did I ever run in cotton shirts?!

Business Insider – I’m a news junkie, but BI has a tailored mix of content that is a perfect fit for me; both in topics (I love reading about politics, science, technology, business/finance) and in content (they have a good mix of articles, videos, infographics and they do a good job of both creating those materials and curating good content from other sources). I read BI everyday, no question. I’m more connected to BI than I am to NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN, and I even used to work for affiliates of two of those news organizations.

Home Depot – I bought a house a couple of years ago, and Home Depot and I seem to be growing closer every weekend. They have items that I need at the moment, but I also like roaming around the store and thinking about things I could be doing (as if I needed a longer to-do list!). I’m not exactly a handyman, so I love that they teach classes on basic home repair items, however I’m more likely to watch a video on YouTube than go to a class.


 Tyler Amaral

What content and advertisements are effective at reaching you?
When I’m online, the most common content and advertisements that make me turn my head and linger are from the companies that care about their image. I’m an extremely judgmental surfer of the web, which makes intentional branding a huge part in my decision-making process. Branding is the pivotal line determining whether or not I become part of that website’s “bounce” statistics. If a company doesn’t put a noticeable effort towards their image in a way that attracts my attention, they get put on my mental black list.

What turns you away?
Continuous pop-up ads that interrupt my reading or browsing are a no-go in my book. If I’ve closed it once, then there’s no reason I need to keep closing it every time I revisit that page.

Millennials are a group that people (specifically marketers) want to put into one large bucket. While there may be some common themes amongst them, like any other generation, the individuals are unique. Regional, gender, educational and other influences still shape their tendencies and poke holes into the large bucket.

To successfully reach this generation, or any other, organizations need to do a better job of segmenting that bucket and focusing on mapping the experience that the different specific groups of these millennials have with you – not only up to the point of making a sale, but beyond that. The ENTIRE relationship; that’s from the moment they become aware of you, through the acquisition, all the way to the point of them becoming an active advocate on your organization’s behalf.


Millennials grew up in the world of social technologies. They’re more likely to share their great (or bad!) experience with your brand with others in a very broad way. Millennials’ needs and wants are slightly different than previous generations, but they have wider reach to let the companies know what they like and don’t like. If you think they aren’t going to use that to their advantage, you’re crazy.

FPOV specializes in helping organizations focus on analyzing persona groups and mapping mutually-beneficial relationships. Persona development is a foundation of Relationship Journey Mapping. To help your organization in this process, we have created a Persona Development ebook.

Download Our Persona Development eBook

It all starts with education. We have a full slate of programs and courses. If you would like more information, here is our full list of public courses. For more information on our educational series please connect with Scott Brady at scottb@fpov.com.