IBM Blog On Millennial Email Marketing Trends Featuring Keith Hanks

Recently IBM Marketing Cloud launched their THINK Marketing Blog. Keith Hanks had an opportunity to contribute on the topic of shifting millennial views on email marketing.

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The long-foretold age of the millennial has finally arrived. With 50 million people born after 1980, they are now officially the largest generation in the workforce and have buying power unlike anything seen by Gen X. This is a complex generation, and communicating to them requires careful attention to the new rules of engagement.

For starters, millennials chose email over in-person interactions, social media, text messages, phones calls, online chat or postal mail.

The millennial generation is a complex one, filled with many personas. Overall the generation, embraces email with marketers to a greater extent than most marketers likely are planning for. The caveat here is with millennials in particular, mobile matters much more. Assume emails consumed by millennials will be done on a mobile device — this is a trend that should be on the radar with all generations as > 50% of emails today are opened on mobile devices.

The data might look odd at times with millennials engaging with emails. In particular, they tend to not forward emails — at least the way a marketer or ESP intends. Instead, expect them to screenshot an email and SMS it to a friend or family member. Why? Because instead of a traditional forward it’s easier for them to put context to what part of the email is important and why.

Where millennials and email marketing trends might likely show the most promise is around the generations awareness of being tracked and comfortable with allowing certain brands to enter their social sphere. This can open the door to big data use cases: both the advantages of mining data for personalization, in addition to personalization being an essential expectation in for usability experiences. In many ways marketers may be talking to subscribers in email in a similar conversational fashion one would in SMS today.