Marketing to Millennials Part One

A piece of copy written for the financial services advertising agency RedtagDM.

Click here for original hosting 


They’re considered the first digital natives and rule the roost across the internet and social media. But when creating content and communications for Generation Y/Millenials, what do they want? And how does it vary across what is a broad age group? To help us get inside the head of a 20-something, we got inside the head of a 20-something. Step forward young Henry, content intern for April…

1. Content Keep it short.

Keep it simple. Keep it mobile. The average 20-something consumes media in bite size chunks. Most spend roughly 30 seconds looking at a web page. So in an age where everyone is mobile, make your copy provocative, memorable and snappy. Tapping into cultural zeitgeist (content that welds the current cultural conversation with the message you want to say) is seen as creative and impactful – best illustrated recently by The Samaritans hijacking the dress hashtag and turning it into a powerful, provocative ad highlighting domestic violence. A word of caution though; think before jumping on a bandwagon. This US pizza company shows when they tried to advertise themselves using the domestic violence hashtag, Why I Stayed. Be memorable for the right reasons!

2. Beware the power of sharing

Being the generator of conversations on social media is key to success. Amongst our peers, Millennials want to recommend things to others in order to reaffirm who they think they are and build relationships with other people. However, it is a double edged sword. As much as Millennials are going to share and praise brands, they will equally rip them to shreds with a sassy comment. To avoid the mite of a Millennials keyboard, follow this simple code of conduct:

i) Whatever you do, if you are not a millennial, don’t pretend that you are. Authenticity is appreciated so avoid falling into the trap of trying to talk on terms not familiar with your brand. Young people will call you out for belittling them.

ii) Treat us like the intelligent adults we are. Recent research shows that Millennials are the most academically educated generation, having the largest number of bachelor degrees. Pandering and self-promotion will go against you as it will heighten the distrust many of us already have of people over the age of 35.

iii) Do what you said you were going to do. Millennials feel as if they’re politically isolated and are distrustful of brands. If you promise to do one thing but do another, you’ll lose your audience. Remember, if you break this code of conduct, social media will soon hear about it!

3) Consumption habits are changing

There was a time when you’d work 9-5, get home, have dinner, change into your PJ’s before sitting in front of the TV to enjoy the latest episode of Corrie. This isn’t often the case for Millennials anymore. Many now watch TV shows through online resources such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix. We now consume in bulk and talk about things afterwards. We watch things with an iPad on our lap, we watch things we’ve recorded and thanks to catch up, we watch things whenever we want. If your content is flexible and adheres to their code of conduct, Millennials will probably listen to what you have to say.

4) Become a trusted source

Many Millennials get their news from social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. However, they then go and double check that news from other, more established sources such as the Guardian or the BBC. If you want your brand and your content to be valued and accepted by the young end of Generation Y, you should be open, honest and transparent. Build trust, reach them on their terms and you will become a go-to source. In the eyes of Millennials, Trust+Authority = Loyalty.

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