June 2020 - 24

MARKETING
Understanding
Millennials from
the Millennial
Perspective
By Ryan McEnaney
Proper communication will allow you to earn and
maintain millennials' business for the long term.
B
eing prepared to connect with our next big horticultural
consumer is important, but difficult to manage when
we're simply trying to get through today. Especially in a
year with COVID-19 presenting the biggest curveball of most
of our careers, looking at future marketing efforts quickly
falls to the bottom of our priority list.
But understanding the thought process behind younger
consumers is no longer a forward-thinking idea, but rather
one that is necessary to survive and thrive. Are millennials
your " next big consumer " or the consumer that will help you
survive this year?
Hungry for Information
Research shows that the consumption of garden content
has risen to the top of digital categories during these times
of self-isolation. Those in the Gen X, millennial and Gen Z
populations are looking for us. They care. They are hungry
for information.
It is in our industry's best interest to maximize that
opportunity by drawing in new consumers and giving them
the tools for long-lasting success. We are the experts and
need to give them the information so they're not learning
how to garden from Buzzfeed (unless we can be the new
source for Buzzfeed).
Having the knowledge of how to communicate with this
audience is key, as they don't respond to standard marketing
tactics of old. Remember that this is an audience that was
young during 9/11, graduated from college during the Great
Recession, and is the first generation to have social media
during formative years.
24 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JUNE 2020
So, the approach has to be tailored to their expectation
of communications. It's not selling a dream but embracing
reality. It's not projecting false hope but being direct. It's not
about making life easy but being authentic.
Authentic Communication
When I first started developing this talk years ago, I
thought that my talking points were basic assumptions and
wondered why it was even necessary. And then I took a step
back and realized that I was making the assumptions I was
rebutting. Of course I know how to speak to millennials;
I am one! But I can't expect that those preceding me
are subject matter experts. It's the same as me making
assumptions about Gen Z. It takes research and conversation
to understand how to speak to that group, just as it does for
someone outside of my age group to speak to millennials.
Hence the origin of my conversation scheduled to take place
at Cultivate. " It takes one to know one " rings true in my talk.
I dig into having authentic communications with younger
gardeners (and non-gardeners, because the " g " word is scary).
It's not hard, but you need to understand our " why "
in order to best connect and build a relationship. Why
are we interested? Why do certain approaches work and
others don't? What matters to us and what topics should
you avoid? Research-based findings are presented to give
support to my conclusions.
In this talk, I share many assumptions about millennials
(spoiler alert: most are true), and then break down the
impact of those assumptions on communications strategies.
We are a trophy-chasing generation. We're lazy and expect

June 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thrive-guide-2023
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/september-october-2021
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/thriveguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/november-december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/LGR/september-october-2020
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