As a growth strategist and millennial I found the hype around millennials as much intriguing as I love it. So what’s with us that creates this much buzz, thrill, and fright to marketers?
So yes the millennial generation is great, sorry but that’s true, and represents the future, obviously you are old we are not, and is blooming. There is something that says that a company needs to stay young forever, and not grew old with its fans otherwise it’s doomed. Adopting a strategy to attract millennials is therefore not just a hype but a vital need for any company who is planning on keep going (shouldn’t this be the objective of any company?).
The big stake above is enough to justify marketers’ interest, but what about the buzz, the thrill, and the fright?
Marketing to millennials just doesn’t fit the code of the traditional marketers handbook. Understanding the millennials has been a genuine challenge for marketers, and for millennials themselves too actually. Although there would be a lot of things to say about that, this is my subject for another article, so you’ll have to wait for it (HIMYM fans know it will be legendary)…
I am more interested on the communication challenges rather than its origins right now, and obviously it has a lot to do with technology.
Millennials are almost always connected (even though the X-gen are quite addicted with their smartphones). We got spoiled with immediacy, choice, and control, all hail the glory of the internet and our smartphones. Whenever I want to, I can talk with my friends about how much you suck, buy a new pair of shades for my next beach session, or watch the latest episode of my favorite show (right now I’d probably be watching one of the Marvel’s series, you should check them out…). And I can do all that from wherever I am.
So what does this mean for your brand? Be mobile, and offer a great and relevant experience at any time.
Yes technically you can reach out to a millennial 24/7, but did you ever measure our attention span? Do you remember Dory from “Finding Nemo”? Yes, we are as bad as tha. Well technically it’s not our fault, we are getting flooded by content: our friends’ pictures or messages, video, ads, tweets, snaps, emails, notifications… So you have to be able to produce content that will catch our interests, but present it in such a way that we will be willing to give it maybe 5 seconds of our attention, it will actually be much less in many cases. And when I say that you have to “present it in such a way…” obviously it means everything but waggling your flashy ads in front of our innocent eyes.
You also have to find ways of reaching out that aren’t flooded (yet) with ads, so you can stand out. There is one thing I always love to mention when I talk about that, it’s Snapchat. Because messages last 10 seconds max and then are gone forever, many people underestimate its power. Actually because messages last only 10 seconds max and then disappear they receive much more attention, and they do not share screen time with 10 others messages.
To communicate with millennials, you must first understand the diversity of our generation. It’s a thing to be able to reach out on any platform at any time, it’s an all other thing to be able to reach out to the right person, with the right message, on the right platform, at the right time. Sorry, not sorry, but the one size fit all won’t work here.
What does it mean for your brand: multichannel and innovative communication, personalized to one another, let us come, do not push us to.
Millennials are all about the experience, they want to be part of it. So you need to include them in the conversation. Being able to have them involved in this conversation is actually key for you. If you can do so, you will engage with them much more, and eventually transform them into brand advocates. When you start having users actually “selling” your brand to their friends, that’s mean you are doing something right.
I think we couldn’t care less about celebrity endorsement, we much rather value our friends recommendations or even someone else, a complete stranger, but with whom we identify much more than with Kim K or Kayne (broke…) West.
This open the door to user generated content. Using the content generated by your users, you will be able to engage your users even more. Go Pro is doing terrific with that. They use videos of their users, normal people, doing crazy stuff and getting amazing video form it. I want to have the same videos for when I do the same kind of crazy, so I bought a Go Pro…
What does this mean for your brand: enable us to identify to your company.
Last but not least, and as surprising as this seems, you need to be able to translate the online communication with your users offline. This is again all about the experience. Online you can have a great feel of what it is but you can’t fully experience it (unless it’s a movie or some other stuff like that). Creating an offline experience you give them more opportunities to engage with you and talk to their friends about your brand. It also means you should be able to start the conversation online and pursuing it offline without going back from the start.
What does this mean for your brand: you still need a human touch.
So in all, yes communicating with millennials isn’t easy, but it’s also way more natural. With tools available now you can identify your audience groups and setup communications channels to interact with them, but it requires more work than the old school strategies ;).