Ahhhh and here we have a wild millennial in its natural habitat—you can tell by the way that it is. Sitting in a specialty juice shop, eating a sandwich—gluten free bread no doubt—and drinking Kombucha tea. It is easily identified by its off-brand apparel and ability to stare at screen for hours on end without ever blinking. If you listen closely enough, you can hear it complaining about rent and how its parents just stopped paying for its cell phone bill. Truly a sight to see!
If you haven’t already been informed a million times, millennials (also known as generation Y) are a unique breed. Studies show that this group of individuals ages 18-34 are more diverse than any preceding generation—44.2% are classified as being in a minority group. They are more educated than any preceding generation—they have the highest college enrollment rate in history. They are more financially burdened than any previous generation—49.4% have some amount of student debt (Deloitte–Issues By the Numbers)
Not surprisingly, the differences in characteristics of Generation Y from their predecessors has fueled differences in millennial consumption habits. The graph below clearly shows how Gen. Y spends more liberally than Baby Boomers and Generation X.
In addition to their purchasing habits, the way they interact with advertisements and companies is completely different.
- They look for social engagement. Studies have shown that 62% of millennial are more loyal to brands that engage with them on social platforms (Forbes)
- They expect companies to give back to society in some way. 75% of people surveyed said they want to give their money to companies that contribute to the community (Forbes)
- They value an experience over a product
- They want to co-create their product
Accounting for about one-fourth of the US population and predicted to spend $200 billion annually, I think its fair to say it is important for companies reach this group in an effective and engaging way. But how? Traditional marketing tactics are proving ineffective, so I did a little reasearch into what tactics work best. Here are a few of the most effective millennial marketing strategies, and an explanation for their success.
Never before has a generation had such easy access to so many different kinds of content through so many different devices. That being said, if a millennial is not engaged, they will not waste their time looking at this content. Videos are easily consumed content that can capture and maintain millennial attention.
Furthermore, videos also have the ability to tell a story or show an experience in a way that traditional marketing cannot. These days, “showing” is more effective than simply “telling.”
One company that exemplifies both these ideas well in their marketing is GoPro. They use engaging videos to capture and maintain viewer’s attention, and market an experience as opposed to a product.
Check out some of their videos here: GoPro
Making Millennials into the Advertisers
Generation Y spends more time than any other generation on social platforms. They create content daily to be viewed by their numerous snapchat, Instagram, FB, and Twitter followers. So, what could be better marketing than organic content posted by a fellow millennial? Nothing! Companies that have been able to leverage this strategy and get Generation Y members to act as “brand ambassadors,” posting organically about their products/services have found great marketing success.
On example of this idea of “marketing without actually marketing” is Starbucks’ unicorn Frappuccino. The company did not spend a dime on advertising, yet its colorful drink named after every millennials favorite mythical create went viral. Think about how many times you saw posts about the new, trendy drink on different social channels. A lot!
Making Millenials Co-Creators
Millennials are a very opinionated group—they know exactly what they like and what they dislike and are not afraid to tell you. The goal of co-creation as a marketing strategy “is to make the consumers feel like they are part of the campaign, not the target” and effectively makes them feel like their voice is being heard (TimeZone).
A good example of a company using their target audience as co-creators in order to market to them effectively is Lay’s “Do us a Flavor” campaign. This campaign put the power in the hands of the millennial and allowed for the consumer to engage and offer input regarding what product they would want to see.