millennialsAs we all know, a campaign is nothing without the successful targeting of audiences.  I mean, how would Gerber baby food gain any awareness if their marketing didn’t target parents? Or Nike with exercise junkies? Subway with dieters? You get the idea. There are broad audiences to hit when considering any marketing program, but there is one group that seems to reign supreme when considering most — millennials.

Millennials, also known as Echo Boomers, are defined as those born between the years of 1980 and 2000 — making them 13  to 33 years old today. Millennials currently outnumber Baby Boomers and respond to marketing tactics much differently than any other audience. In fact, this demographic is resistant to the traditional marketing techniques of the 20th century and need much more engagement.

In order to reach this audience, Cook + Schmid suggests keeping three factors in mind:

1. Trust—Eric Schmidt once said “In a networked world, trust is the most important currency.” This holds true when marketing to millenials. Research shows that this demographic is skeptical about corporate entities and the government, so building trust is absolutely essential to capturing this group. Millennials often resort to online resources to research a product or company prior to purchase. 7× reports that 53 percent of millennials like to check out brands on social media websites and 33 percent actually like brands more if they have a social media presence. They want to believe in the company, and if that company’s beliefs coincide with theirs, securing a sale is more likely.

2. Technology—Millennials are in tune with technology and account for the highest concentration of social media users. It was revealed in a recent report from Nielsen on social media usage that 53 percent of active social networkers follow a brand and 70 percent of them shop online. These are significant figures that can easily be tapped into by implementing social media pages into a campaign and opening two-way communication with your audience. Let users comment, rate or like your product on social media websites. In addition to allowing open dialogue, this also functions as an evaluative service because you will see what millennials like or don’t like about your product allowing you to rectify whatever issues arise head on.

kony campaign3. Advocacy—Millennials like to feel like they are part of a bigger picture. A Pew Research survey revealed that 34 percent of them purchased a product because of a company’s social or political values. The recent success of the Invisible Children’s viral KONY 2012 video epitomizes this concept of advocacy and has even made cause marketing a trending method in reaching millennials. What made this campaign particularly engaging was its clear call for action. The KONY documentary asks viewers to sign a petition, purchase bracelets and posters, and contact celebrities and governmental leaders to garner support. Surely not every business can come up with a viral video, but they can provide a call for action. Other companies that have successfully engaged millennials through cause marketing include TOMS shoes, Nike and Starbucks.

SocialMediaToday blogger Ripley Daniels says it best:
To these buyers, you don’t have to be the cheapest, or even the most popular, but you best deliver on the spirit of your promise — or face the fury of Facebook, the punishment of Pinterest or a crushing cascade of negative tweets.

Final Takeaways

  • Build trust with your audience
  • Use interactive and creative technology to your benefit
  • Provide a clear call for action
  • Engage, engage, engage!
Images by CEU Stock and Jane Rahman via Wikimedia Commons