Millennial Marketing: must dos in 2017
Irritatingly long dial-up sounds to access the internet, hours of Mario Kart on your Nintendo64, a colored tongue from fireballs, empty Gameboy Color batteries, swapping Pokémon cards in the school yard, Mambo №5 on your discman and addicted to playing snake on your Nokia 3310. Sounds familiar? Then you must be a Millennial.
Currently the biggest generation alive; everyone aged between around 17 and 35 is a Millennial. According to Wikipedia, Millennials are generally sociable, socially engaged, creative and broad-minded. Brands are fighting over Millennials as their target group, but how can you truly reach them? How can you genuinely make an impact?
1. Be where they are
It will come as no surprise that Millennials are above-average ‘mobile’, they spend on average 33% more time on their mobile phones than Generation X (aged 34–47) and 113% more than the Babyboomers (aged 48–67) (Source: TNS Nipo).
Must do 1: Ensure that ALL your content is designed mobile first. And do it properly. Think accelerated mobile pages (AMP) in Google, vertical videos with legible subtitling and, well, just … mobile-friendly everything.
One example of a company that does this well is Walibi Holland. With the aim of attracting 14–25-year-old Millennials to a theme park, TamTam (part of Dept) helped to transform the family park into an amusement park for teenagers and young adults. To show that Walibi is the place to find excitement like no other, the term #HARDGAAN (go fast) was claimed. It started with the roll-out of a smart, mobile-first website focusing on perception and conversion, and a smart Snapchat campaign to bring #HARDGAAN to the right target group. With success: using mobile campaigns and optimizing the mobile channels increased mobile ticket sales by 305%.
The figures further demonstrate what we already know: the use of traditional media is in decline compared with previous generations. Compared with Babyboomers, Millennials watch less TV (-43%), listen to the radio less (-60%) and read fewer newspapers and magazines (-67%). Millennials’ interest lies increasingly with online TV and online videos. They use social media as much as 100% more than Babyboomers.
A strong presence on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram speaks for itself nowadays. But what about your YouTube channel? Did you even set up your page yet? According to TNS Nipo and Google, Millennials are “mad for YouTube” and “consume enormous volumes of video”. YouTube reaches 68% of Dutch 15–34-year-olds each week. Almost half (45%) of Dutch 15–34-year-olds use YouTube every day for around 20 minutes.
Must do 2: Build a YouTube community! Make someone responsible for your video strategy and make sure it’s followed up. Start with a video that properly reflects your services. Consider engaging with an agency, or a freelancer, who knows how it works.
2. Speak their language
Literally and figuratively. In the literal sense, you need to understand that the ‘corporate language’ that gave the Babyboomers a feeling of trust comes across as fake and dull to Millennials. Fluffy use of language and emojis, on the other hand, often feel unprofessional to the experienced communication and marketing employee. Nevertheless, we are witnessing a major shift from linear communication (text) to associative communication (imagery). In its research into Millennials, the Platform Innovatie in Marketing reports: “All millennials communicate with and understand this visual language, they grew up with it. Brands that want to be relevant experiment with new, smarter visual forms of communication.”
Must do 3: Send your first mailing with emojis in the message title 😄 👍
Given the high volume of visual and textual content that a Millennial encounters on a daily basis, susceptibility to traditional broadcast is in constant decline. Susceptibility to new marketing that is based on building relationships is growing. While we may doubt the actual social aspect of social media at times, the average Millennial is in digital contact with an awful lot of people every day. Millennials are addicted to interaction, so you need to be sure that they can also interact with your brand, and have the opportunity to build a relationship.
That’s something a brand like Chocomel has understood well. Together with a friend of mine (part of Dept), they decided at the beginning of this year to join the experiment and broadcast a daily Chocomel weather report. The ‘Nice Weather’ campaign was a mix of the smart use of social video, humor featuring Jan Weerman and full-on interaction with the Facebook fan base. Unique in social media terms. The success was measured daily; What is the perfect length? Square of 16:9? Subtitles or not? What was learnt was applied immediately the next day. It was a steep learning curve that ensured that the films scored well both in reach and in view through rate.
Must do 4: First ensure that you have a good basis, that your social channels are in fact social. All the received messages and mentions are responded to quickly and in a fun way.
3. Talk about the future
Millennials have an above-average interest in the future. It is a generation that adapts quickly to new technologies and innovation. So don’t think that now you’ve got your marketing and communication fully up and running, that you can carry on as you are for the next ten years. If you want to continue appealing to this target group, you need to move with the times.
For example BPD, together with TamTam (part of Dept), was the first developer in the world to make it possible to buy a new house online. Buyers can drag a house to the digital shopping basket and insert a digital signature on the purchase contract. With the help of virtual reality, potential buyers have the chance to stroll through their new living area, experience the atmosphere in their neighborhood and view inside their new home.
Must do 5: Make someone responsible for the implementation of new technologies. Think about the smart application of, for example, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and virtual assistants for your business.
By ‘future’, we don’t just mean the nerdy stuff, by the way. The future of the world is also important to Millennials. “Simply saying you’re ‘doing good’ for the world is by far not good enough. It needs to be more realistic. Millennials expect organizations to make a concrete and visible contribution. In a nutshell, they are aware, positive and realistic, and expect the same of brands.” (source: PIM Trendrapport 2016)
Must do 6: Make sure that you set out what your organization means for the world. Make this concrete, add details where necessary and communicate it internally and externally! But don’t pat yourself on the back too much.
4. Stand out from the crowd
Millennials have virtually grown up with the ‘endless scroll’ and so are really good at filtering content. In a fraction of a second, they subconsciously decide whether something is worth the effort of taking a closer look, or whether to continue scrolling.
Japie Stoppelenburg, creative director of Facebook marketing agency a friend of mine has written a book about Millennials: “You’re a legend, and everyone else sucks.” Stoppelenburg claims that you need to be something of a stand-up comedian to gain online attention. “You push a joke, a picture or a video to half a million people. Can you be sure that thirty thousand people will think it’s good enough to like, share or reply to it? Then you are doing well.”
Must-do 7: Set your inner stand-up comedian to work. Don’t have it in you? Find someone who does.
Examples of not doing well are easy to find, according to Japie: “Open your Facebook app right now. You’ll see a good half a dozen films or photos from brands or companies that are trying too much. With a strange text, a handful of likes and five negative comments. That’s how not to do it.”
So what does work? A snippet from the Facebook posts from a friend of mine:
Follow these must-dos for 2017 to take a step in the right direction in your approach to Millennials. Remember that we are living in a rapidly changing world and that the average Millennial changes with it like a chameleon. So keep a close eye on online and tech developments and think about where you want to go with it, or indeed sometimes don’t want to go with it.