Content Marketing

Marketing to Millennials – Part I

Companies no longer control their brand’s reputation, consumers do!

Just 10 years ago, iPhone was in its infancy and Social Media was just getting started. Only those 2 factors have completely changed the Marketing and Advertising landscape, and along with it, the consumer mindset, behavior and needs.

Now companies should have to position their marketing strategies to appeal to the digital consumer “Millennial generation” and meet its needs!

Millennials, people between 18 – 35 years old and even beyond, are the largest generation on the planet and the largest buying segment in the economy with a high annual spending power, which is why this consumer group is the top of mind of any company.

Companies should understand the millennial mindset otherwise they will never be able to market to them effectively and efficiently!

In this article, we will start by debunking millennial stereotypes, and dive into the millennials mindset, then we’ll cover the top marketing tactics that appeal to this digital native generation, and the power of Content Marketing (allows marketers to work around Ad blockers), while in the second article we will talk about the Native Advertising, Social Media, and absolutely the hottest and most influential strategy which is the Influencer Marketing that is converting the millennials today.

1-      Understanding the millennials Mindset:

A/ Who are millennials?

The term Millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s, according to the Merriam-Webster. Some people also include children born in the early 2000s.

          Millennials are the least frequent to instore shoppers, they are most responsive and motivated to online shopping opportunities and to friend’s recommendations.

          Millennials learn how to DIY everything from YouTube, decide where to eat based on Instagram posts, plans their weddings with Pinterest boards and have their groceries delivered to their door thanks to various mobiles apps.

          The millennials are “digital savvy”, they grew up with websites then smartphones and apps, and with the revolution of the Social Media, Marketers must think outside the box to step forward from the traditional Ads to the more original content. They are expecting authenticity and relatable experiences, and that’s why storytelling via content creation or influencers and marketing personalization is crucial for this generation.

Smart marketers should dig to find and emphasis on these consumers mindset since they are the largest potential consumers, and they should look back at the key advanced that help to shape the millennials values, behaviors and today motivators to well position the brands, products and services as well specially in an era where there is an economic recession and meeting the consumers’ needs is becoming more difficult.

B/ Debunking millennial stereotypes:

Millennials’ expectations are different from those of previous generations, and companies will need to rethink their brands, business models, and marketing accordingly.

Clearly, companies will have to understand, accept, and embrace the characteristics and values of this generation if they are to create and market relevant products and services that resonate with them and meet their needs.

Let’s jump right in and start talking about those negative stereotypes surrounding the millennial generation. When we debunk these stereotypes, we’ll shed a light on the positive qualities of the millennial generation and ultimately show people, brands, and businesses why millennials can be their biggest asset. Let’s start by digging into the top four stereotypes.

          Millennials only care about themselves, take selfies, and don’t do anything good for society. Let me start by saying, millennials are absolutely the selfie generation. Business owners and brands should embrace the selfie because of the impact that user generated content, AKA those selfies, can have on your brand and business.

By sharing our experiences in the moment, we are putting the brand on display and influencing our peers in the most powerful way. Think about it, how can you make the selfie work to your advantage? And as far as not caring about society, that’s not true. Millennials’ demand for corporate social responsibility is driving change in brand strategies right now.

          If we want to stereotype, millennials are:

  •  Digital Natives.
  • All about instant gratifications.
  • Trusting friends more than “corporate mouthpieces”.
  • Social creature – both offline and online.
  • Selfie generation.

C/ Millennial micro markets:

Millennial generation is a very wide age range between 18 and 35 years old. Of course, what appeals to a 21 years’ old will differ from a 31 years’ old. So how do you market to such a huge range of people?

Well, the audience is segmented into 6 millennial markets according to Chelsea Krost:

a)       College Students (18-23 years old):

          Highest users of social media.

          Value education, social experiential events/festivals, travel.

          Heavily influenced by peer approval.

          Looking for work experience and internships.

          Socially hyper-connected.

          Communicate and Purchase via mobile device.

          Active in brand promotions on social media.

b)      Boomerang Babies (23-26 years old):

          Entry level job workers.

          In student debt, living with parents to economize and save location’s costs.

          Value savings, job security, and experiences over big ticket items.

          Active in Gig and Sharing Economy.

          Communicate, shop, and work from mobile device.

          Active in brand promotions on social media.

c)       Millennial Hustlers (26-29 years old):

          Transitioning from corporate employee to entrepreneur.

          Serial Multi-taskers.

          Hyper-Connected.

          Looking for funding and validation for first entrepreneurial adventure.

          Value networking and business collaborations.

          Communicate, shop, and work from mobile device.

          Value loyalty and reward programs.

          Value business with strong Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.

d)      Millennial Mom & Dad (29-32 years old):

          Mommy Bloggers.

          Decision influencers- make the effort to post reviews online.

          Have more expenses and responsibility.

          Value a flexible work schedule and staying socially relevant with new apps.

          Striving for work/life balance.

          Value loyalty and reward programs.

          Value eco-free, organic, and sustainable products.

e)      Cuspers (32-35 years old):

          Gen X mentality who feed into millennial stereotypes.

          Confused as to what generation to identify with.

          Value job growth and saving for retirement.

          Almost a quarter of this segment group have been with the same employer for 15 years or longer.

f)        Millennials @ Heart (35-38 years old):

          Embraced Technology and Social Media.

          Digital natives who are open to change.

          Millennial-esque attitudes are a result of relationships with Millennial children and colleagues.

          Value the ability to save money and invest money.

D/ Millennials are the catalyst for change:

Millennials have truly changed the game and shifted the needle in more ways than one. They have changed the way we shop, work, start new businesses, market to consumers, engage consumers, and even the customer service industry. That’s really a lot of change!

Can you imagine 20 years ago that today you could order anything you wanted from a device the size of your hand? Apps have truly made it easier than ever to source information and get things delivered right to your door. And millennials thrive on this.

There are so many businesses like AmazonPrime, Instacart, BlueApron, … etc., these on demand delivered right at your door type services are ones that millennials truly love because they’re seamless, convenient, and provide a quick solution.

We can call the millennial generation the Insta-generation because we want everything fast. If you are a business or service provider and you can’t provide that instant gratification, you may want to think about how you can compensate for the delay.

2-      Modern and Digital Marketing Tactics:

A/ What do millennials value?

Businesses can expect millennials who bought their product or service to always come back to them, right? Well, not exactly, but there are some key factors that appeal to millennials and understanding those factors and adapting your strategy can ultimately increase millennial consumer loyalty.

  • First and foremost, millennials are truly purpose and passion driven consumerIn order for your brand to resonant with this consumer group, think about how you can provide value by being the solution to their desires, needs, and pain points.
  • Okay, here’s the second factor: we value unique experiences. This is going to be something you hear me say a lot. Experiential marketing and the experience economy are very real. …in addition to the service or product… And almost always, that experience is what’s going to keep them coming back to your brand, as well as eager to share your brand with their Community.
  • Speaking of experience, the third factor is discovery. It is very important to know where your target customer is most active online.

B/ Marketing tactics that impact and influence millennials:

Marketing to millennials can be tough. They are a very diverse generation. They have been very misunderstood. They’re discount savvy. They have a very short attention span. They’re skeptics, and they’re such a hyper connected consumer group.

So, what do you do with all of that? Well let’s talk about some tra-digital, traditional and digital, marketing tactics that are working verse traditional tactics that are just not going to generate results in today’s market. Below are 13 tactics proposed by Forbes Business Development Council :

i- Meet Them Where They Live (being Mobile optimized and Social Strategy):

Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation. They spend more time on social media via mobiles. Increasing lead generation and Selling strategies should start on social and mobile, and include multiple touch points, with direct, no-fluff messaging, and use various formats (video, pic posts, stories, etc.).

The sales gimmicks of the past won’t work here although being non-mobile optimized and social silent won’t work nowadays! Instead, focusing on direct, individualized messaging and content with a heavy emphasis on what’s in it for them is premordial.

There’s a quote from Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine Media, that perfectly sums it up: “Mobile is fundamentally the first screen, and social is the new TV“.

ii- Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC):

There’s a whole new frontier of customers who have grown up in the Amazon era and wouldn’t think of purchasing anything without a plethora of UGC at key conversion points to help them along. Forget one or two sad reviews from some free plugin. We’re talking about hundreds of reviews, user-generated photos and more. This is the new standard – not a “nice to have when we get big enough,” but a must.

iii-Sell the End Game:

This is a benefit and results-driven group, so instead of selling the product to them, we should sell the success they will achieve by using it, in another way, companies should sell consumers, values instead of products. This sales approach lets us connect the dots for them, with workflows and processes on how to maximize the use of your product. Plus, this puts companies/products in the position to be viewed by the customer as an expert who truly understands their needs.

iv- Get To The Point:

Increasingly tech-centric, Millennials are accustomed to making decisions quickly — a byproduct of the shortened attention span that comes with the increased ability to instantaneously access virtually anything. When selling to millennials, marketers should communicate the message and value proposition clearly and quickly, or run the risk of losing the audience and the sale.

v- Ensure Your Tech Design Is Superior:

Automation and self-service are trends rising to appease this generation of technology-driven, self-educating consumers, but the key to automation is to do it correctly. Companies must ensure their technology’s design is superior and meets buyer expectations, or buyers won’t consider it a quality purchasing option, thus diminishing goodwill toward your brand as well as your product or service.

vi- Don’t Label Them:

One of the big mistakes is that society labels these folks. Unlike seniors, they do not want to be called out or pointed out as a group. The question says it all: they are increasingly tech-centric so that is where they are and how marketers have to gear the marketing to their group — without calling them out. They are people and very powerful consumers that just do things differently.

vii-  Entertain Them:

Millennials have lived their entire lives online, which impacts their connected interactions. While not as advertising-averse as their older counterparts, they expect authenticity, entertaining interactions and experiences that provide what they need before they tell us.

To win with Millennials, marketers have to evolve from informing to delighting, from celebrity to authenticity and from generic to predictive.

viii- Leverage Video Communications:

Millennials never use voicemail and prefers text to email. They also are the YouTube/Netflix/Reddit generation — consuming quick one to three-minute videos on their phones. If marketers want to engage them throughout the sales process, video should be the medium of choice. Sales organizations will be adding video-building capabilities to their toolkits, arming their sellers to better engage Millennials buyers.

ix- Use A Mobile-First Strategy:

With the millennial consumer, companies need to clearly articulate their products and services through a mobile-first strategy. Goodbye, desktop web browser and emails! Hello native apps, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat!

x- Treat Them As Individuals:

Millennials were born into a social world, unlike many who still fondly remember the miracles of dial-up. With the availability and impact of their favorite celebrities to influence them, they seek to be treated as an individual by the brands they interact with and purchase from, especially on e-commerce. This means data is key so that marketers can tailor their experiences.

xi- Provide Them With Information:

Millennials like to be informed consumers and want to know who they are doing business with. Marketers should share their company message, be transparent and precise in their products. Their buying power isn’t different than any other group, they just do their homework. Marketers should also ensure their online message is that of other selling vehicles, and that the format is viewable on a mobile device.

xii- Focus On Customer Experiences:

Advertisers are silly to think selling works anymore. Currently, it’s all about persuading and referring. Let’s disarm the upcoming generation by hitting the breaks on the too-tired “flash sale,” “one-time offer,” and other tried-and-failed marketing campaign tactics. Instead, let’s market to Millennials by providing quality customer success efforts and beautifully elegant customer experiences.

xiii-Highlight Company Values on Their Preferred Platforms:

Millennials grew up with an instant source of data at their fingertips that they can use to respond to your sales tactics. To create powerful marketing messages that resonate well with them, marketers should highlight their company’s values and the social good they provide. Tailor messaging on each social media platform they use and provide quick but meaningful information to capture their attention.

C/ How to attract millennials to your next event:

For millennials, happiness isn’t determined by material items or career status. This generation values living a meaningful life full of unique experiences that make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.

If you’re looking to attract millennials to an event, the experience you provide is what ultimately drives them to attend.

If you want to influence millennials, you have to use mobile, social, and peer to peer approval to help create buzz and demand to attend. Millennials are heavily influenced by their peers and events such as concerts, festivals, performing arts, and sports are all more enjoyable for millennials when their friends are in attendance. So, for this reason they respond well when user-generated content is included in event promotions.

3-  The Power of Content Marketing:

A/ The power of Content Marketing:

We have all heard the phrase content is king, but, now more than ever, content marketing is top of mind and a key element in marketing success.

Content marketing is focused on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and, of course, drive profitable customer action.

Content marketing is a universal tactic and as we continue to demand more, it will be a powerful tool, especially for those who want to market to millennials.

Why? Because traditional advertising does not influence and convert millennial consumers. Most millennials are not going to see an ad, or a billboard, or a commercial, and feel immediately compelled to take action, or purchase.

Instead, millennials are more influenced by our peers and our peers’ content. Aside from that fact, consumers are using ad blockers more and more. This is where the power of content marketing comes into play:

a)   It allows marketers to work around ad blockers.

b)   Content marketing is more cost-effective than paid ad campaigns.

c)    More content = more traffic to your website.

d)   Content marketing consistently provides more sales-ready leads than paid ads.

e)   Both B2B and B2C marketers think content marketing is more important than ever.

B/  Content Marketing 5 steps Framework:

Content marketing is an approach that can create long term value for a brand and be a powerful asset to influencing the digital consumer purchase decisions, increasing customers engagement among the brand and growing its community.

But if you’re new to content marketing or revamping your content creative, you should begin by building the framework for your rollout. There are five steps when building a content marketing framework:

a) Define your goals and objectives, that is, a marketer purpose, passion, and goals.

b) The second step is all about the audience segments and craft content that will resonate with each group’s interests and needs.

c) Determine How Many and What Kind of Assets to Produce.

d) Pick Topics and Identify Keywords.

Choosing the right topic is primordial to attract audience; many tools are available to know and discover which topics are the most popular such as  Buzzsumo, Quora …etc.

e) Distribution of the content:

There are the givens: website, social media, and email.

 

In the second article, we will talk about the Native Advertising, Social Media, and absolutely the hottest and most influential strategy which is the Influencer Marketing that is converting the millennials today who are not only the major buying economy, but the major influencers on their parents’ buying decision act.

 

Sources:

–          LinkedIn learning program.

–          Forbes.

–          SemRush blogs.

–          Searchenginepeople blogs

–          sproutsocial.com/insights/repurpose-content/

About the author

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Jack Sreih