Advanced Search

Opinion: Multifaceted Millennials

Marketing to this generation means targeting the tribes that make it up, in the digital language they all share.

Nov 16, 2017 5:27 AM   By Sally Morrison
Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share

The future of our industry will depend on our success in enrolling the largest living generation: the millennials. Millennials are, in fact, one of the largest generations in history, and they are about to enter their spending years. But it’s a mistake to assume that this army of consumers is one unitary target.

Given that they’re generally categorized as born between 1980 and 2000, it’s wrong to think millennials (also known as Gen Y) are all at the same life stage, or to assume they want the same things. They don’t. Identified most easily by their digital facility, they nonetheless span widely different psychographic segments: While some might still be in school or traveling, others are already married, with mortgages, children, and all that these imply.

I should know. I live with one. Thanks to my son, we only watch Netflix, have no land line, and communicate primarily by text.

Marketing to this huge population, therefore, needs a various, plural and highly segmented approach. The “one size fits all” campaign is never going to work, and we should cop to that now.

Different Strokes

It’s much more helpful to see these consumers as multiple sub-groups or tribes and target them accordingly. In this context, of course, there’s still a very real role for the classic “gift of love” campaign best articulated by “A Diamond Is Forever.” Some millennials are ready for it.

Conversely, the “Real Is Rare” campaign from the DPA was originally engineered to address the pre-engagement millennial, long before she could even consider whether she wanted a diamond…or not. “Real Is Rare” is a future-forward strategy to try and embed the diamond idea so that when this millennial is ready to commit to any kind of relationship — even a non-traditional one — she will perceive a diamond as a symbol relevant to her. This approach takes faith. We won’t be able to measure the success of this message any time soon.

A Happy Medium

The medium is the message, too. Just as millennials don’t like brands telling them what to think, they do like to browse multiple channels to uncover their own tastes. Since they are suspicious of conventional advertising and what they perceive as prescriptive “brand speak,” we in the industry must adopt a more guerrilla approach, spreading subtler messages across social and immersive digital media. And this means custom campaigns expressly conceived for digital formats — not a print ad recast for an iPad screen.

The (sadly) short-lived marketing platform was an attempt to do this. That program showed it was possible to establish a global community of millennials with common interests, across geographic territories and time zones, united by their fascination with beautiful gold jewelry. Once there, these tribes are a highly engaged and loyal force, hungry to explore multiple brand channels and communications. At the height of the program, we couldn’t create enough content fast enough.

Reeling Them in with Retail

Beyond this focus on tighter segmentation and better dispersal of message, we have to be purposeful in creating a retail experience that is not just up to standard for the diamond brand, but as exciting and engaging as buying makeup at Sephora or electronics at Apple. I’m not particularly interested in either, but admit I shop at both.

To date, there is nothing in the fine jewelry space that offers as playful, inventive or accessible an experience as either of those giants. The Blue Nile Webroom is a good step in this direction, though it’s still available at limited locations. The e-tailer Memo ( takes its cue from fashion sites like Rent the Runway, but it’s still in its early stages. And Gemvara is working to address the oft-cited millennial demand for customization and individual expression. These, I think, are the ones to watch.

This article was first published in the November issue of Rapaport Magazine.

Sally Morrison is a jewelry industry veteran who has worked for A Diamond Is Forever, Forevermark, LoveGold and Gemfields, among others.

Image: Shutterstock
Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share
Tags: apple, diamond, Dpa, Jewelry, Millennials, Real is Rare, sally morrison, Sephora
Similar Articles
Comments: (1)  Add comment Add Comment
Arrange Comments Last to First
Nov 17, 2017 11:07AM    By Maurice Rosenfeld
I have rarely read so much hogwash and imbecilities as this article relaring millenials to diamonds
Twitter Add Comment
© Copyright 1978-2022 by Rapaport USA Inc. All rights reserved. Index®, RapNet®, Rapaport®, PriceGrid™, Diamonds.Net™, and JNS®; are registered TradeMarks.
While the information presented is from sources we believe reliable, we do not guarantee the accuracy or validity of any information presented by Rapaport or the views expressed by users of our internet service.