How to win millennials with your marketing
Let’s be honest, when it comes to marketing to millennials, social media has been one of the biggest revolutions of our time. Using technical wizardry and clever insight, it’s allowed brands large and small to profile and target audiences in a way impossible to imagine a decade ago. Best of all the results show it works.
62% millennials say that if a company creates a relationship with them on social channels they’re more likely to become a loyal customer and, according to a study by Market Strategies International, the age group are three times more likely than any other generation to reference networks when making a purchase decision.
But new research suggests this seemingly happy marriage between millennials and brands could enter a difficult patch, with an increasing number of the 90% of 18-29 year olds on social channels considering switching off.
A study published in October by Ofcom showed that 34% internet users have spent time away from networks at some point, with 50% stressing their reasoning was the amount of time they spent on them. Others cited the pressure to lead a perfect life was forcing them to disconnect; an assertion supported by a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study of 19 – 32 year olds, which discovered that those who spent the most time on social media were 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than those who checked networks less often.
So how can you market to millennials in uncertain times and ensure your strategy works, regardless of the tools used?
One of the reasons social media has been such a hit with the millennial market is its ability to commoditise experiences. As a whole, the generation tend to showcase their personality through sharing on networks rather than materialistic purchases, with three in four saying they’d rather pay for an experience than a product.
A 2016 PwC report on expected Christmas shopping discovered that millennials intend to spend almost half their total holiday budgets on experiential purchases this year – but that doesn’t mean physical products will miss out, nor does it mean they should ignore the importance of this millennial passion.
It’s not enough to stick sales messages out and expect fans to flock, your marketing needs to create experiences; from the way your users interact with your site, to the way you establish your brand and wider messaging. Think about what lies at the heart of your organisation and why it should matter to a potential audience; go beyond the technique and consider how you can fulfil this passion, regardless of whether it’s online, in person or through the wider messaging you send out.
Inherently linked to the idea of experiences is the passion of many 18-36 year olds to feel involved with brands. In a survey by Elite Daily, 42% of millennials said they were interested in helping companies develop future products and services, while millenialmarketing.com discovered 70% felt a responsibility to share feedback with companies. Perhaps even more exciting than this, however, is the willingness of the audience to help you create the content they want to see.
One of the most influential ways to market to the audience you’re after is to market working with the audience you’re after; adverts with user-generated content get an average four times higher click-through rate than those that don’t, while 93% consumers find content shared by fans or customers of a company to be helpful when making purchase decisions.
A recent campaign we ran with client Mackies of Scotland got to the heart of this idea, asking fans to send in ideas for a new flavour of chocolate to be sold in exchange for a monthly salary of the delicacy. Offering chocolate fans the ‘sweetest job in the world’ allowed us to achieve an OTS of nearly 900 million and see an uplift in chocolate sales of 582%. The reasoning? It created an experience the audience we were after wanted, and allowed them to feel involved in how the brand grew.
When your audience become your brand ambassadors you create more trust, passion and loyalty. Whether it’s asking users to send in photos of purchases, to asking them to vote in polls or express their opinion. Millennials want to be involved – make sure you’re not ignoring them.
The reason involving fans creates loyalty? Because those partaking feel like they’re creating a brand that reflects them. But, with great involvement comes great responsibility and it’s here authenticity is key to success.
According to millennialmarketing.com, 37% of millennials say they are willing to purchase a product or service to support a cause they believe in - even if it means paying a little bit more. Compare this statistic to one that suggests only 1% of the same demographic believe a compelling advert influences them to buy, and you can see why the personality you give your brand matters.
A 2014 study by SDL uncovered that one of the most important considerations for millennials was consistency across phone calls, online interactions and any in-person engagements. Ensure you have core values and set ideals across all your communications; whether it’s customer service or posters you put up.
There’s no set ‘millennial’, nor is there a set message the generation want to see; ranging from 19-36 years old, they’re an incredibly diverse and varied demographic at many different stages of life. However, growing up digitally means they’re a savvy audience with great expectations when it comes to what they want. Focus your core values and how you want to be perceived and the methods will follow.
So despite some negative reports, we don’t expect the online social phenomena to disappear any time soon. Getting your core values sorted, however, means you’ll be in a safe place even if it did.