Want to Reach Millennials? Order Pizza.

April 1, 2015

[tim hill/corbis]
[tim hill/corbis]

February 1 was Super Bowl Sunday, the Patriots versus the Seahawks. Brady and Wilson, Belichick and Carroll — what a day!

Like most football fans, I had only one thing on my mind: pizza. The Super Bowl isn’t complete without a “super feast” and I was hungry for a nice, large pizza pie.

So, I did what millennials do (although I’m not one) and grabbed my tablet, clicked on my favorite app and went to work on my masterpiece. Like all artists, my blank canvas was complete after many colorful strokes — digital keystrokes, that is — and in a record time of five minutes.

My pizza. My delicious, personal pizza courtesy of my mobile phone, favorite app and me, of course. As I clicked “enter” to finish the order, it hit me: The way to the coveted millennial heart is a personal pizza.

The personalization strategy

Personalization is the best way to reach this growing multicultural market. Give them the ability to interact with your product, and allow them to shape it and make it their own.

The mass-market approach to reach consumers is antiquated and failing. You can’t sell the same product or homogenous message to a group that is becoming increasingly diverse.

Personalization is a key strategy in target marketing, which empowers consumers to shape the products and services that they purchase.

Millennials are projected to surpass baby boomers this year. Companies — willingly or reluctantly — must change their shotgun-engagement approach if they’re going to succeed in reaching more than 75 million millennials and their $1.3 trillion in purchasing power.

And by 2040, Census figures show that the majority of the U.S. population will be multicultural — led by Hispanics, African Americans and Asians. Hispanics are the youngest group, the fast-growing multicultural community. Hispanics are expected to make up 30 percent of the overall population by 2050.

It is imperative for companies to stop treating Hispanics as a niche market of foreigners, when a majority of the 54 million Hispanics living in this country were actually born in the United States. Another large portion are naturalized citizens from more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries, a nuance that marketers often fail to reflect in their campaigns.There’s also another erroneous, blanket method in reaching U.S. Hispanics: the Spanish language. Only one-third of that market is Spanish-dominant. It is also an undervalued market where advertisers don’t pay a premium, despite media companies like Univision outperforming their English-language counterparts.

Any strides that the English-language media have gained with English-dominant Hispanics have not been by design. The thought that the media don’t have to change their marketing to reach Hispanics because of assimilation is false. In truth, many of them are bicultural and are embracing their Latin-American roots, even though they don’t understand Spanish.

Hispanic and Latino — terms that people often use incorrectly and interchangeably — are not races. There are also White, Black and Asian Latinos, so there is a greater need for personalized marketing.

The ‘me’ generation

Millennials value diversity and individuality. What they consume is an extension of themselves and reinforces their personal brand. Mobile and digital are millennials’ platforms of choice, providing companies with useful, personal information to use when crafting meaningful, customized strategies.

We are in the midst of the selfie generation, which often demonstrates that “if you want my business, you’d better be speaking to ‘me’ and not ‘we.’” Companies need to embrace this fact if they want to remain relevant and in business.

By the way, my “me” pizza was delicious with thin crust, banana and red peppers, onions and Gorgonzola cheese.

Hugo Balta

Hugo Balta is the senior director of Hispanic Initiatives at ESPN. His work focuses on collaborative projects across platforms and networks focused on best serving U.S. Hispanics. Find more articles like these on his blog, Straight Talk.


Tina Romero says:

Great read and good info!

April 15, 2015

Nancy C. Syzdek, APR says:

Very interesting analogy, especially since the 2015 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition was a campaign for Pizza Hut to increase use of their mobile app by millennials.

April 17, 2015

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