New methods of marketing are needed to reach the generation commonly identified as millennials, an audience at SAITEX heard.

“Digital Disruption and how this can positively affect your business” was the title of a presentation at the event, given by Vernon de Wet of Retail Capital.

He told the audience that millennials, commonly identified as people born in the 1980s who started work or higher education around the year 2000, expressed a sense of entitlement and arrogance but were also optimistic about the future.

And he also stated they were extremely resistant to traditional forms of marketing and advertising.

Mr de Wet said: “Things like magazine advertisements and mail drops don’t work as they are too company focussed. Millennials prefer more personal approaches which are directed at them.”

He emphasised the importance of online marketing if the generation is to be successfully reached.

“Millennials spend around 25 hours a week online, looking at websites, blogs and social media,” he said. “And they want material that is authentic. They are 44% more likely to trust an expert so testimonials about a business work well.

“They also want as much information as possible and will spend time researching products online. They may not even buy at the end of this research, just share what they have found with friends. Millennials just want to have fun and the act of browsing may be more important that purchasing.”

Emphasising that businesses need to be open to new ideas Mr de Wet pointed to taxi company Uber which does not possess a vehicle, yet is the world’s fastest growing business taking on 50,000 new drivers a month and generating $6.5bn last year and Airbnb which has no real estate.

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