Marketing to Millennials

One very interesting aspect about our generation is our reactions to certain marketing channels. We are a unique generation with a very unique mindset. Brands and advertising agencies are constantly trying to read into the Millennial mindset and gather insights into how we can be pinned down but they tend to read up on us and forget to fully infiltrate their insights into their strategies.

So, I thought in order to understand the most effective ways Millennials need to be targeted, I needed to understand who we are in terms of marketing. Millennials are a suspicious and distrusting generation. We like to see the proof behind the lofty words and stock images. We’ve learn’t to not trust everything someone says and rather wait for them to put actions to their words. We’ve been taught to communicate through social media and use platforms as a type of meeting room and the ‘only’ way to connect.

What we truly like, factually proven, is brands testing the boundaries, challenging the norm and being different. We want brands to stop fighting for that one differentiator  but instead be the voice we wish we had. Empower us and give us the tools to bring change, adventure and zeal for life into our daily routines. We need brands to show how valuable we are to them, we want to connect with them on a personal level and have relatable touch points that form relationships. In our eyes, your brand is my partner and what you do is an extension of who I am or who I want to be.

Below are a few points that marketers need to learn and incorporate into their marketing:

1.We trust in people that we aspire to be – This could be a celebrity, sportswomen/sportman, an influencer, a leader in our industry, a family member etc.

“86% Of Millennials believe that user generated content is a good indication of your brand’s quality level, so this type of content can actually have a huge influence over how your products are perceived. Millennials are placing more and more trust into social media influencers. In fact, 60% of Millennials have said that they would try a product suggested by a YouTuber and ⅓ consider blogs to be a top media source when researching a purchase.”

It’s a fact that we turn to our mobile devices to gain information before any other device, therefore, we tend to form ‘relationships’ with the blogs, pages and stories that we follow. In South Africa, 19 Million people are active on a social media platform, with 18 Million of people accessing via their mobile devices. A whopping 40% of them access a social media platform daily. Therefore, influencers are key to helping us position and compartmentalise who brands are. It’s easier to position a person in our minds than a lofty brand (By linking with the influencer).

2.We tend to follow people who offer us social proof, whether it be on social media, messenger or our daily lives. We were brought up with proof is in the pudding, actions speak louder than words and lastly, if there isn’t a photo of it then it never happened. So there, where’s your proof it happened?

3. Social media platforms are a channel for Millennials to escape, communicate and share their daily lives. It makes Millennials feel appreciated and plays on our desire to be liked and accepted by society at large or our ‘community’. I mean, social media actually releases dopamine every time we receive a like, positive comment, share or message.

Therefore, platforms such as Instagram have taken off due to it’s visually driven content that gives our generation the social proof and interaction needed to gain trust in influencers as well as form ‘relationships’ with people we admire.

“When product pages feature photos from social media, Millennial customers are 6 times more likely to make a purchase.”

YouTube is also an incredibly popular platform for Millennials. In fact, Millennials are now watching more video content on YouTube and other streaming platforms than they are on TV. YouTube is a popular platform amongst our generation, with high user generated content used for entertainment and those warm fuzzy feelings. YouTube is the most popular social media platform with video as their focus. Video is said to be the most engaging channel of communication to Millennials and yes, we like to watch it once and not be forced to keep on watching it when you re-market it for the 5th time.

“This huge cultural shift means that YouTube should definitely be a priority for you if you’re hoping to make user generated content a part of your marketing strategy.”

4. It’s known that we, as Millennials, want to ‘make a difference’ in the world, ‘make an impact,’ whether it be at work, at home or by being socially responsible. Look at reactions of well-known brands and their CSI advertisements. The advertisements that you watch and get a revelation from it’s message. Bell’s / Persil UK

i.e. Personally, my mission is to ensure generational patterns, such as divorce, stop with me and no longer continue through my children. But on the other hand, I also want to sponsor kids through schooling, as personal example. Brands need to connect with not only posts that are unique, different and boundary pushing but also focus on what pulls our heart strings and helps us see a bigger picture. For example, look at Cotton On, they are actually selling their water!

5. Mobile is Life. What many agencies and companies don’t understand, is that we’re by our phone 24/7, whether they’re next to our bed when we sleep or in our pocket at work, we are constantly carrying them on us. Who can blame us? We’re getting dopamine every time that notification lights up. Mobile devices keeps us updated when we’re on-the-go and unfortunately can’t be everywhere at once. Mobile needs to be at the forefront of every single marketing strategy.

“Millennials really are the mobile generation, especially since an overwhelming 87% have their phones by their side every second of the day.”

6. Micro-moments – watch the link attached. Agencies need to be there for us just like in a relationship. We want to know how, where, what and when about companies. Micro Moments

So, if agencies, brands and companies want to connect with us, they need to get to our level and stop fluffing up what they want us to do. We need to trust the brand, see who the brand truly is before we invest in who they are.


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