Feb 2019

Most of us remember a time when the sound of the landline ringing would make us jump out of our seats and rush to pick it up or simply stand next to the person speaking on the phone, waiting in anticipation to hear the entire conversation. Many a time, I would end up speaking to my friends for hours over the phone even if we just parted ways a couple of minutes ago.

However, recently  I find myself silencing my phone almost as a reflex every time it rings. The reason? I hate unnecessary phone calls.


With mobile phones becoming a necessity, we are on our phones almost all the time and are constantly absorbing a lot of information, be it in terms of messages from our friends/ family, social media updates, work emails, news — the list goes on. This, aside from the fact that we receive numerous cold calls either persuading us to buy an insurance policy or offering us credit cards, diminishes the need to make phone calls unless absolutely necessary.


It’s more than just that!

Many millennials are also known to have phone anxiety. And no, it does not mean ones inability to part with our phone and the constant need to check it. Instead, it is exactly the opposite of that.

Phone anxiety can be described as a fear of talking on the phone or in cases that are not very serious, hesitation to make and receive calls.

Ellen Hendriksen, a clinical psychologist at Boston University says “Anxiety over the prospect of talking on the phone has increased as our culture has moved away from verbal communications and in the direction of texting, emailing social media comments, and other written communications”.

This uneasiness is said to be more common amongst the younger generations because they didn’t grow up having a landline as their only form of communication and hence didn’t get the practice of speaking over the phone.  


If millennials already hate and fear phone calls, how receptive are they going to be to what marketers have to say?

This is something marketers need to keep in mind — consumers are continuously being bombarded with ads, push marketing, and cold calls. This among other reasons makes them averse to talking on the phone.

Given that the preferred modes of communication have changed over the years, marketers have to push themselves to evolve and adapt marketing efforts to suit their audiences’ tastes. They need to understand where audiences spend most of their time and are most comfortable receiving marketing messages.

This is a very competitive time for marketers, especially considering that millennials have high standards for the entertainment they consume.

They place the highest value on quality content and experiences, so in order to grasp their attention, marketers must ensure they evoke some sort of emotion and offer some form of experience. Considering that they’ll only look at something that really piques their interest, marketing messages are not going to cut it. Marketers need to consider creating relevant communication messages that millennials would actually want to consume.

Pansy Pinto