Successful brands are no longer using the same tactics to sell their products, and are instead seeking strong customer relationships that will make them part of their consumers' lifestyles. One of the biggest sectors of consumers these days is millennials, who don't fall for the traditional advertising routine. The millennial generation is tech-savvy, environmental-friendly and hard-to-please. They aren't moved by old-school marketing campaigns that promote products, and the traditional way of marketing with a call-to-action at the end is a big turnoff.
However, I've found that millennials can be reached when you realize where their hearts and souls are. I've run an agency called Savvy Media since 2008, and our specialty is collaborating with influencers on event marketing and destination events. Whether it's distributing gift bags during high-profile events in luxury hotel rooms at SXSW, or distributing 200 products for celebrities to take pictures with at Coachella, we aim to tug at millennials' heart strings. Through this, I've learned a few important aspects that are reshaping marketing if you're trying to target the millennial generation.
Getting to Know Millennials
Older brands have a challenging time reaching millennials because the psychology of the younger generation is different. Although this age group has grown up with impersonal technology, they still want a personal touch. Companies and brands do better once they realize that this feeling of connection is what moves them. Although millennials seem dependent on technology, they are susceptible to word-of-mouth suggestions. Through my work I've found that this is a spontaneous generation that loves having authentic experiences where they get to learn new things. They do not want textbook knowledge; instead they want to be connected to what really matters to them. This could include anything from music and celebrities, to new technology trends and eco-conscious brands.
Some brands can get on millennials' radars when they hold events that feature a popular star, promote a tour, sponsor a concert or create a brand embassy. When marketers subtly promote their products by giving them away during a concert or to an influencer, the crowd may look upon them favorably and associate that brand with the music and personal influencers they admire. This can also work well with promoting sweepstakes and hosting celebrity-attended events. This type of connection to an experience can hold a lot of intrinsic value: the marketer becomes more than a brand, instead becoming associated with a particular lifestyle.
Another approach is to appeal to millennials' emotions with a story that ties your brand to a charity or cause, like many of the successful one-for-one models we've seen with brands like Warby Parker and TOMS Shoes. Using 100 percent sustainable material so your product doesn't leave a carbon footprint is another example. These virtuous goods hold real fiscal value for a brand, as the millennial market is driven by these stories. The more organic the connection is to the brand, the more genuine that connection is to the consumer.
Becoming a Part of Their Lives
Brands have their work cut out for them by trying to stay one step ahead of a generation shaped by technology and the recession. Sharing experiences through social media has become a measurable investment: after all, this is the generation that gives live updates on their lives while eating, sleeping and traveling. They welcome everyone to become a part of their lives, and when you start doing the same it helps build trust and loyalty. One way of entering millennial consumers' lives is through social channels where you can have an impact by promoting events or causes that they care about. You can do so by working with the icons that influence them.
However, millennials are known for their short attention span, as they are constantly sending out texts, emails and social messages on the go. Therefore, the content you share must be brief, but packed with engaging material. Most importantly, it has to come off as solicited by the consumer and to the consumer, not the brand, as the viral nature of social media relies on peer-to-peer sharing. Brands must invest in experiences or stories that are worthy of sharing.
By weaving your brand into the social fabric of millennials' lives, you can create awareness, trust and a shared branded identity.
Alexis Levine founded Savvy Media at age 23, and launched her project #savvycity at insider events at film and music festivals across the world. An expert to the festival scene, Alexis knows what it takes to market to festival-goers through unique and exciting activations. She understands how to make a brand stand out to receive nothing but amazing results.