Archive for November, 2011
The following excerpt is from the article 6 Pro Tips for Marketing to Digital Natives and was written by Lauren Drell, Associate Editor of Supported Content for Mashable. View the full article for even more advice!
Are you trying to reach an audience of 17 to 34-year-olds? They’re “Millennials” — those who came of age in a post-Internet world — and they’re unlike the consumers that came before them. Millennials can sniff the hard sell, and they won’t buy it. The way to win over these digital natives is to add some value, provide utility, entertain, acknowledge their individuality and get friends involved.
Most importantly, be mobile — it’s less a tip than it is a must. Millennials grew up on the Internet, and they’re extremely connected. On average, they have 2.4 devices, between smartphones, tablets, laptops and Wi-Fi music players. They’re more likely to research a product on their mobile device than Gen X, and they’re pretty much always connected. Intent to purchase desktop computers is falling, and smartphone penetration is on the rise, expected to hit 38% by the end of 2011, making mobile even more of a priority for this demographic.
So, if you want to market to millennials, here are some tips for reaching and converting them.
Cater to Their Needs
According to Matt Britton, the founder and CEO of millennial marketing agency Mr Youth, the key to appealing to this demographic is driven by certain major needs including:
Recognition: Be appreciative of your fans’ interest and support of your brand (it doesn’t have to be monetary — even a “thank you” will go a long way). Branding isn’t just important for companies — millennials are all building their own personal brands, too. If they get a shout-out or their work is selected in a UGC campaign, that’s going to help them build their brand. Getting a nod from a well-respected brand — like when Honda mowed a fan’s name into the lawn at headquarters as part of its “We’re fans of you, too” campaign — goes a long way toward fan retention. Britton says recognition of this nature is “a longer path” that will lead to more brand loyalty over time as deeper relationships are formed between consumers and brands.
Rewards: Who doesn’t love swag? For millennials — who are either in school or haven’t amassed much savings yet since they’re relatively new to the workforce — swag is valued social currency. But rewarding is most effective as a retention tool, and not an acquisition tool, Britton says. Offering a prize to your 10,000th follower might get you a few more fans, but they’re only there for the free stuff and not because they love and live your brand. On the other hand, rewarding your existing fans is a great way to bolster their connection to your company. Whether you’re offering first-to-know content, an exclusive coupon or a prize, be sure to reward the existing fans who got you where you are today. These are your loyal fans who are most likely to stick with you, unlike a fair-weather swag junkie.
Information: The Internet has put a ridiculous amount of information at our fingertips, and one huge reason we use the web is to find more of it. Therefore, brands can play a huge role in content creation, using platforms like Tumblr to build a brand and publish content, as if it were a media company. Britton cites the French Connection YouTube channel‘s webisodes as a stellar content series. The webisodes features videos “as told by” French Connection apparel — the magic dress (above), the jumper, the blouse — to show off the season’s pieces. The videos are quirky and entertaining, but most of all, they position French Connection as a fashion-forward and digital-savvy brand.
Gamify With Friends
The newest era of games, like Words With Friends, let you play with your friends, serving to strengthen bonds, foster friendly competition and help people keep in touch.
Gaming has evolved from a solo activity to a fun and engaging group activity, and game mechanics are key to capturing — and keeping — the attention of digital natives. All it takes to gamify is to offer points or pit friends against one another with a leaderboard, like with the new location-based application SCVNGR and its spinoff, LevelUp.
Through LevelUp, brands can offer the “$10 for $20 worth of food” kind of rewards that, when redeemed, unlock the next “level” of even more savings, thereby enticing the consumer to become a repeat customer — it’s a “the more you play, the more you win” model that can quickly become addicting.
“LevelUp turns the daily deal space on its face, turning value to the consumer immediately, which is very much a millennial characteristic — now, now, now,” says Chris Mahl, chief brand alchemist at SCVNGR.
Give Them Ownership
Millennials tend to be brand-loyal, and they want to have a stake in the company as a sort of reward for their loyalty. They don’t want to just consume content, they want to participate and create content. Just look at Doritos’ user-generated Super Bowl ad and SCVNGR‘s create-your-own-challenge aspect, which Mahl says is a great way to engage millennials and lets them become authors of the game.
“Millennials are creators, not followers,” says Mahl. “They’re not about being told to do something — they’re about creating it themselves.”
New research shows that when consumers are contemplating buying a product, search is the most important factor. Make sure your SEO strategy is well executed, and make your website pop — it should embody the personality of the brand and house all relevant brand information, including links to social pages.
As with all marketing, it’s important to have a presence on major players, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but you should experiment based on where your segment of millennials are spending time and where you want to go as a brand. Fashion brands, for instance, are experiencing great success with Tumblr and Instagram. Just remember that no one platform holds the key to millennial success — “the channels are only as good as the ideas,” says Britton.