Marketing and Millennials

Millennials get a bad wrap. They have been defined by other generations as lazy, entitled and immoral. The reality is that millennials are one of the most rapidly-growing target demographics in the content marketing landscape. The purchasing power of this digitally-inclined generation is expected to reach $1.4 trillion by the year 2020. There are certainly rules when it comes to marketing to millennials, and many brands that aren’t paying attention are going to fail miserably. Let’s review exactly what you need to know when it comes to getting your brand in front of millennials by using content marketing.

Don’t Try and Pull Off the Hard Sell The most important thing you need to know when marketing to millennials is that they do not have an inherent trust for your brand right right off the bat. That is something your brand will need to earn. If you’re generating content and you are trying to sell them throughout the content, you’re not going to win them over. In fact, you are going to make enemies of this ever-important generation. A recent study that surveyed adults, ages 18-34, shows that millennials are very put off when they feel deceived by any advertisers.

Make sure that the content you’re putting out there serves your audience more than it serves your brand. Look at some of the most shared content on Facebook by brands. Lay’s potato chips has come to see much success by engaging the millennial generation on Facebook and allowing them to submit and vote on new flavors. Instead of selling potato chips, Lay’s found a way to make user-generated content sell their product for them.

Understand Your Audience Up until recently, a big advertising mantra was to “KYA” or Know Your Audience. Now, there is a significant need to understand your audience, especially millennials. You need to understand their needs, preferences and passions. When it comes to content marketing, millennials live and breathe digital content. They are the “First to Know” generation, where breaking news is no longer relevant two hours after it’s been announced. It’s on to the next.

This short attention span and the need to consume “snackable” content makes it even more challenging for a brand to generate content that can stand out in a sea of content available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram BuzzFeed, HuffPo, Tumblr, Snapchat, Periscope, etc. A recent study conducted by Yahoo about content marketing in 2013 found that the three core elements to branded content are that content should be brief, entertaining and funny.

Comedy & Nostalgia Engages and Entertains
There are two full-proof components of content marketing to millennials that are sure to work if executed properly: comedy and nostalgia. Comedy is more of an art to the millennial generation, and it can help to win over lifelong fans. Brands that are self-deprecating, down to Earth and humorous can grow an audience faster than any other brand. The iHOP Twitter feed is chock-full of pop culture references, and it seems to have embraced the personification of an actual millennial with a top-notch sense of humor using brief sentences without the use of grammar or punctuation.

Nostalgia also tends to perform well, especially using #tbt (Throwback Thursday). By referencing pop culture, specifically from the ‘90s and ‘00s, can draw engagement and brand loyalty from millennials. J.Crew uses #tbt to generate aspirational nostalgia through their fashion-forward, trendy campaigns for collaborations with brands like LaCoste.

While generating a new content marketing campaign, don’t forget that millennials are the fastest growing market to target your efforts. Make sure to keep up with this market because they are always on to the next, and that means that your brand needs to be that way as well.