3 Ways to Engage With Those Elusive Millennials

20-somethings

This is part 1 of a “Marketing to Millennials” series – stay tuned for more.

New survey data from Pew Research Center argues that millennials have emerged into adulthood with lower levels of social trust compared to Gen X and the Baby Boomers before them. Millennials present a huge marketing opportunity: in the USA alone, there are over 79 million millennials but, as the Pew report explains, they’re not easily swayed by targeted advertising. The reason? Low levels of social trust (which you can read about in-depth here). What interests me is what companies can do in order to attract this marketing-averse generation.

As a digital marketer by trade and a millennial by birth, I’ve experienced both sides of this dynamic. I’ve been on the receiving end of some advertising gone awry (retirement homes?!) and have been moved to tears (literally) by others; I’ve also been at those brainstorming sessions and have executed targeted marketing campaigns, some more successfully than others.

So what have I learned?

The most important factor to remember when marketing to millennials  is create opportunities for user-generated content (UGC)!

To explain, let me give you three short examples of how three very different companies are approaching this:

  1. Everyone’s favorite hazelnut spread is turning 50 this year and to celebrate, Nutella is encouraging their fans to submit their personal Nutella story using #NutellaStories on social media and also by submitting their videos, images and any other content on their official website. By doing so, Nutella has created thousands of digital advertisements that are 100% organic and tell a story every person can relate to.
  2. There is a huge opportunity for unique and authentic visual content when an engaging program is in place, and, at a recent HootUp I discovered that the Vancouver Whitecaps and their marketing team had, during this past season, reaped the benefits of such a program. On select game days, they had invited a series of guest Instagrammers to take over the official Whitecaps Instagram feed. This allowed them to transform their account from an official mouthpiece of the organization to an authentic digital portal that would allow fans everywhere to get the same game-day experience as the individuals posting the photos.
  3. My boyfriend is a huge fan of Saddleback Leather Co. – they make high-quality, tough and functional leather products. With over 35,000 fans on Facebook, this homegrown business has cultivated a massive following online by sharing and encouraging fans to take photos of their Saddleback Leather products around the world. If you visit their Facebook page you’ll instantly feel like you’re part of a larger community that loves quality leather, adventure and most importantly, dogs.

So what’s the takeaway? Content is king when marketing to millennials and one of the greatest ways to create that content is by letting your fans do it for you.

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