Everywhere I go I see articles about millennials.
So it’s time to join in! But I want to write about how amazing I find it that people seem to think of and approach millennials as some kind of alien race, especially when it comes to marketing and talking to them online.
Otherwise known as Generation Y, millennials are supposed to have been born between the early ‘80s to the early 2000s and are, apparently, set to change the world. They’re shaking up the workplace according to the BBC and are driven to work by a sense of purpose instead of financial gain.
We roll our eyes at such sweeping statements, but one that holds a lot of truth is that theirs is a generation that has always known the internet and the connectivity it brings.
Which is good; they’re very lucky to be a tweet away from registering a complaint to a foreign company and getting an instant reply, ordering something on a mobile phone with 24-hour delivery times, and becoming world famous just by uploading a few videos online.
For a lot of marketers, though, that seems like an incredibly hard thing to grasp. It’s as though millennials are a foreign concept, and that normal outreach and inbound tactics need to be something out of this world to grab their attention.
Nonsense, of course, and it underlines how much you need to research and understand your target market before launching into a marketing campaign. And, thanks to the internet, that isn’t as hard as it used to be.
Your Turn: What do you think? Does your company or website target millennials? What tactics and platforms do you use to reach out to them and what’s the response? Let me know in the comments section below.
“Hey there, sport!”
We confess; we’re writing about this because we recently came across a subreddit called /r/fellowkids which collects ‘examples of advertisements and media that totally appeal to the radical youth of today. Cowabunga!’.
Don’t underestimate its ability to make your toes curl. A quick browse shows a number of brands across varying industries throughout the globe trying to communicate with a young audience, only to come across as incredibly out of touch.
Digging deeper makes it worse; some of the worst examples include a sign at restaurant chain Red Robin telling customers to ‘OMG WATCH YOUR STEP OR WE’LL LOL’ to half-baked text speak from Wired telling readers that Obama’s gas tax is ‘cray cray’.
The one that made us sigh most was from a leasing company using the overused ‘Be Like Bill’ craze to try and sell covered parking to potential tenants. As funny as some of these are to look at and discuss, it can actually be a serious issue for a lot of marketers and brands looking to reach out to millennials.
Not only can it make brands look distant and desperate, but it also shows they simply aren’t listening to their wants. A survey of millennials by social content platform Odyssey found that they hate adverts specifically targeted towards their generation, and are looking for authentic connections with brands.
Things they apparently hate most are abbreviations and slang speak such as LOL and YOLO, with 83 per cent saying it’s a poor attempt at basic communication. A large number dislike emojis whilst phrases such as ‘hip’ and ‘on fleek’ get a huge thumbs-down.
Worst of all, they hate being referred to as millennials. “I appreciate when brands speak to me as an adult rather than a ‘child’ millennial,” said a respondent. “Ads can be fun, goofy or cool without making me feel like they are unprofessional” is a very common sentiment.
Tell us more about your target audience. What’s the best way to reach millennials and get them to buy into your company philosophy? Let me know below!
The intimidation game
Adweek believes it’s because brands are ‘intimidated’ by millennials, which doesn’t really make sense at all if true. If brands and marketers are scared of their own market then they’re in the wrong game, simple as that.
Intimidated brands though are likely ones new to internet marketing and see the millennial market as something highly-connected that they need to be part of. They have a point with that, especially with children spending more than three hours a day on the internet on average.
The millennial and future generations have the internet intrinsically woven into their lives, and it’s understandable that brands who have grown through and relied on traditional media advertising for years are struggling to catch up.
There are some doing it right, though. Time magazine, for instance, is launching a new mobile-first website to target millennial women, with original thought-provoking content expected to be contributed by influential females such as Lena Dunham and Ivanka Trump.
Millennials are also being targeted by famous beer brands who have suffered a drop in market share after the success of craft beers and a lean toward spirits. Beer producers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are aware of their lack of popularity in the millennial market and are changing their marketing accordingly.
Most importantly they understand that millennials are “the most marketed-to generation ever and they know it” according to MillerCoors’ Scott Whitley. “Authenticity and heritage, being genuine, is very important to millennials. You don’t force anything on them. You let them come to you.”
Very wise words to live by, and words that are true for advertising to the majority of markets. Trust is one of the most basic things to build with audiences. They appreciate the effort and that they’re not being sold to in the pursuit to make profit.
But a lot of work still needs to be done to make a good campaign great, and your creative strategy is key to it. The more time you spend researching your target market – no matter what age group they’re in – the more likely you are to open the communication channels with them, and convince them to become long-term customers.
If you’d like to know more about targeted advertising, researching your audience, and how social media marketing can help your business grow speak to a Webpresence consultant today.