Did Millennials Shake Up Every Single Facet of the Marketing Industry?

At one point in the mid-90s some people began talking about an intriguing thing called Virtual Reality (VR). That’s right when you were closely following the OJ Simpson trial or trying to get to grips with your painfully slow internet dial-up modem, some were curiously dipping their toe into the world of VR. You might not have seen these individuals at the time, though; they cut lonely figures in arcades across the land.

VR was not one of the things – like popper tracksuit bottoms, illegal warehouse raves or the Macarena – that took off in the 90s. Why? Well, in a word, it was rubbish. The equipment looked huge and ridiculous and daunting, and that’s exactly what it was. It usually included a mammoth pod (a squat for interested gamers) which left little room for the player to maneuver. Not only that, the graphics left a lot to be desired and the whole scenario was about as disorientating as a round of boxing against Mike Tyson.

But, thanks to Facebook’s monstrous $2 billion investment in a tech company called Oculus, that has all changed. The Oculus Rift headset is very much looking like the piece of technology that will bring VR into the mainstream. Ok, it is a bit weird – you still have to strap what looks like a VHS tape to your face. But it is much less imposing, is within the price range and the visuals are totally engrossing.

Many people never thought this day would come. After all, if you want to market a new product these days you must grab the eye of millennials. Which, due to them generally having the attention span of an underdeveloped sesame seed, is the equivalent of attempting to teach a goldfish the basics of nuclear physics. Btw you know what a millennial is, right? Ok, let’s go over it again: They are the selfie-obsessed, cynical generation that became adults around the dawn of the new millennium.

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VR reminds me of gambling. Whereas old-school casino games like blackjack, slots and baccarat cut it previously, it does not for this “social media generation”. The tech-savvy, indifferent and often overstimulated millennials never bought into gambling until casinos became more inventive about the products and services they offer. Not only were the games such as the ones mentioned above brought into online realms, but they now often involve social messaging, webcams and VR itself. As online casino bgo outlines here, marketing gambling services towards this difficult-to-reach social group is a process that is ever-evolving.

Another example of how the millennials changed marketing practices can be appreciated by looking at the media industry. In 2014 many printed magazines and newspapers began to flounder due to poor sales caused by young men and women moving online to consume media. Long-form feature articles favored by traditional printed publications were swapped for short, snappy ‘trending articles’, infographics and brief videos. This worked well with the fleetingly-brief attention span of the millennials.

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Sites UNILAD and TheLADbible (run by millennials themselves) took over much of the industry overnight. They enjoyed the unprecedented success that could not even be matched by long-established publications. By 2015 TheLADbible had 17 million followers across all of its social media accounts which they used to drive colossal amounts of internet traffic through their website. It became the 12th most popular website in the UK – ranking above more established sites such as LinkedIn, PayPal, and The Guardian.

Another aspect of our society that has been changed beyond all recognition by millennials is the world of dating. No longer do prospective couples take part in a carefully considered courtship before they take things further. Flowers, walking your date home and other romantic endeavors have been exchanged for, well, using Tinder to order another human. Like ordering a pizza. Millennials brought marketing into the dating process, a move that is unlikely to change now.

Sure, it’s easy to dislike millennials with their safe spaces, meticulous political correctness, and skinny jeans. But let’s cut them a bit of slack, eh? They have to pay for their education, have little chance of ever buying a house of their own and are probably destined for a lonely, anxiety-ridden future. I would probably choose to live my life online too if I was still cohabiting with my parents in my mid-20s.

Featured Image: Millennial minds by Ian Schneider

Bill is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however, will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel, and lifestyle.

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