If it doesn’t ding, ping, or bling—I’m not listening
As a member of the Millennial Generation, the Next Generation, I’ll admit I like things to move quickly. Some Boomers and GenXers believe we act too rash. All I have to say is just wait 10 more years. If you think we need everything instantaneously—you haven’t seen anything yet.
The upcoming generation, 13 to 17 year olds, sends and receives on average 3,339 text messages a month. Some teens text 27,000 messages a month! 97% of teens play computer, web, portable, or console games, and 47% of those who play online, play with people they know in their non-digital life. 82 % of teens, age 14 to 17, use social media. And believe it or not, “the average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device.”
And yes, I grew up with the internet at my fingertips. But heck, a smoking hot 28K has nothing on today’s broadband—truly instantaneous information. Video games weren’t nearly as complex or enticing. And in all my 24 years, I don’t believe I have gotten close to sending anywhere near 300 text messages in a month, which considering my Millennial status is rather an oddity.
Texting, social media, and video games are designed to be interactive, with all their social-emotional hooks and sensational attributes—they are addictive. The way teenagers are using technology is showing evidence that it’s rewiring and training their brains to be distracted, to change subjects at the drop of a dime, and the need to be highly stimulated.
As advertisers and as communicators, we are going to have to adapt our marketing to Millennials aproach and how we reach the upcoming generations in our progressing social climate. If we don’t evolve our messages and how we communicate with them, we aren’t going to reach the younger demographics. Dings, pings, and blings of their friends’ text messages, instant message, facebook updates, and/or their xbox live invites will be all they hear in the world of mass, instant communication.
The ding, pings, and blings are what grabs someone’s attention—but it’s the social-emotional hooks and interactivity which keep people returning for more and paying hours of attention to their devices. If it wasn’t “valuable” information, most people would have found a way to ignore the dings, ping, blings.
And after hearing a noise or seeing an alert over and over again, there’s reasons why I chose to read what my friends posted on my facebook wall—it directly affects me and my social circle. And there’s reasons why I know I don’t need to even open the tons of messages I receive from marketers—I already know from past experience their deals or content will be similar every single time. There’s no “real” reason to read it—or pay any attention to it.
Let’s get past the alerts and start to think about why we continue our habits—why we react positively to one thing and not to another, why we rise to action and why sometimes we don’t. We have to find ways to transcend the relationship between advertiser and listener (or better known as the consumer). Social-emotional hooks aren’t new in selling. But what is new are very intelligent consumers with short attention spans. If it doesn’t directly call to their needs—they’re probably not listening. So what we have to do is build stronger relationships that are engaging—that aren’t one-way conversation and are rewarding to both parties. So next time I hear a ding from company X…I’ll be more likely to respond and take action.