Many brands and businesses today are failing to engage and effectively communicate their marketing message to the millennial generation. Emanuel Freer from marketing agency Mpire Creative has a few key reasons why and how brands can overcome this challenge.
Pushy marketing doesn’t work on millennials
We live in an attention deficit society and millennials are the most afflicted. They are more immersed in social media and mobile technology than any other generation. Brands need to stop doing the tell-sell; jamming self interested advertising down their throats. Gen Y have so much going on that they just aren’t listening. There is too much noise. Especially now that Electronic Dance Music is rapidly becoming a part of their mainstream culture there is quite literally too much noise. Brands should focus on investing money to align with the interests and cultures of the market in a way that feels natural and unforced. “When a brand becomes a part of their world, their passion, their culture, you have their attention. Brands need to not just take a genuine interest in millennial culture, they must commit to enhancing it”
Not enough brands encourage social participation
For the longest time brands have had a one-way push ‘communication’ with their audience. That won't hold up with the social media addicted generation of millennials. Millennials make up almost 50% of the user age distribution on Facebook in Australia. Many brands have adopted social media but assumed it is another channel to push their message. Brands need to join the online conversation and encourage social participation from their Gen Y consumers. Encouraging social participation will make them feel like they are a part of the brand and a part of the story, giving them a positive experience to talk about. They will also talk passionately about negative perceptions and experiences with a brand online in a form of ‘social justice’. Because of the viral nature of social media, negative word of mouth can seriously damage a brand’s reputation among this generation fast.
Brands lack focus in their strategy
Stop with the catch-all marketing! Brands need to stage their own battle of Normandy. In an age of distraction with a generation that won't listen they should choose the path of least resistance. Go to the place where their product or service is most relevant and appeal to the people who really care. They should invest heavily in this targeted, strategic effort over the mass marketing approach. These people will turn into your own marketing machines if you engage them. These are the people Seth Godin calls the ‘sneezers’. Brands should find the sneezers, the passionate, early adopters in their market and devote significant time and resources on them. The benefit of gaining the approval of these people is that they will spread the positive brand approval far and wide. Millennials have the highest numbers of ‘friends/followers’ on social networks like Facebook. Moreover, they love talking about positive experiences on the platforms. This sort of interaction has a flow-on effect as millennials often won't make decisions before discussing with friends and receiving peer recommendation or approval. They believe peer approval is important in making decisions, especially purchasing decisions.
Brands should be adopting what Emanuel calls the ‘C & C’ principle: Content and Context. Create engaging content customised for the right context (the particular marketing channel, specific segments of the target market and tone). “Give them something to talk about and make your brand matter to them. That is how you win in the social landscape of millennials”
Millennials average numbers of Facebook friends sourced below
Facebook user age distribution sourced from Socialbakers.com
Mpire Creative is a new creative marketing agency focusing on the 18-34 demographic, Specifically the electronic dance music market and culture. Emanuel has over 5 years experience marketing and communicating to millennials working with brands and businesses.