MARKETING MATTERS - Make it Quick When Marketing to Millenials
By David Bohan
Saying that much has been written about marketing to millennials is a gross understatement. A Google search delivers 16.4 million results in less than a half-second.
Why all the bother? For starters, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 is the largest generation in America's history. It represents more than $200 billion in annual spending and is the largest segment of the American workforce.
I suggest that while millennials share many characteristics, you cannot think of them as all the same.
Is the 30-year-old millennial female working full time and already a parent different from the 20-year-old single female still attending college? Of course.
As with any generation, life stage is a vital characteristic. You need to consider how your product or service fits a prospect's life circumstance before developing a communication strategy for your brand.
Let's start, however, with similarities and consider the "Single View of Customer" report on millennials from Acxiom Marketing Services, an enterprise data and analytics company.
Here are some of Acxiom's observations about marketing to this important group.
• Mainstream media channels are losing reach – Broadcast and cable TV don't reach millennials the way they reach their boomer parents and grandparents. Subscription services, many of which are advertising free or allow ad-blocking, are a more common way for millennials to watch TV.
• Individual attention is not only valued but expected– The "demand" to be engaged one-on-one is a characteristic for this generation that some label "oh, so special." If you deliver irrelevant content, you risk being banished from their consideration set forever.
• Peer influence is a big deal– While millennials insist they are and must be treated as individuals, the power of peer-review and approval is greater for millennials than any previous generation.
Knowing this, how to you deal with the changing media ecosystem and such a diverse and important demographic segment? According Acxiom, there are five ways to make it in the millennial marketplace.
1. Mobile is mainstream – Mobile message delivery is vital to reach this market, not just an extra tactic added to a media plan. More than half of millennials check their smartphones within five minutes of waking up. Their first order of business is checking social channels that show them updates from their peers and news about the online personalities they follow.
2. Messages must be brief – A separate research study found that the average attention span online is seven seconds. Therefore, make sure that short videos, brief narratives and lists are tactics you use. Longer stories can be told, but they must be assembled in short, scrollable messages.
3. Entertain and empower – Creating an emotional reaction that forces an action is the purpose of content creation – and in most online content, funny works better than features and functions.
4. Empathize and empower – o other generation has put a higher value on making positive lifestyle choices. More than half of all millennials, regardless of life stage, make purchases that support causes they believe are important.
5. Inspire and empower – Providing inspiration in addition to personal tips is a key factor in inspiring brand loyalty and social sharing.
For me, there are two key takeaways from the research. First, mobile and digital must be integral parts of any media plan. Second, brands must empower millennial consumers and showcase how their products and services contribute to a better world.