The M word. In today’s marketing landscape, everyone is trying to crack the code to reach the coveted millennial audience, a group that comprises ¼ of our entire US population.
Millennials continue to mystify brand marketers and agencies alike as they defy conventional consumer behaviors of preceding generations. Their media consumption habits (aka cord cutting!) have turned traditional advertising models upside down. So how are brands successfully answering these challenges? By creating experiences. Here’s a look at why experiential marketing is a key factor in any millennial marketing media mix (say that ten times fast!).
They care about themselves, their bodies, their carbon footprint and their impact on the world. This emphasis on quality means that they must experience a brand personally in order to value and evangelize it.
Millennials require a personal connection to a brand. Pervasiveness is no longer enough to make a brand relevant. This generation was raised to be independent thinkers, to not follow consensus, to make their own decisions… and these ideologies are reflected in their brand loyalty and purchase habits. My generation (yes, I’m old) bought cereal because of the prize inside the box, this generation buys cereal based on which companies use non-GMO ingredients and donate a proceed of their profits to charity. This generation is too smart. They are bombarded with brand messaging and sponsors everywhere they turn, so it’s imperative they are discerning. They care about themselves, their bodies, their carbon footprint and their impact on the world. This emphasis on quality means that they must experience a brand personally in order to value and evangelize it.
Erin Mills' on the “Multicultural Marketing to Millennials” panel appearance at the Horowitz Research Multicultural Marketing Summit.
Rule #1 in the Millennial universe? If it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen. The best marketing programs leverage social media during every aspect of the campaign. Experiential programs provide an organic life-cycle during which to achieve this. They engage audiences online before an event during the pre-promotional period. During the actual event, live experiences create compelling content, which can be shared online instantly. Finally, the content created can also be repackaged (sizzle reel, infographic, influencers, earned media) and put back online to continue the conversation after the event.
We focused on these methodologies about millennials when we created the Broad City RV to help Comedy Central promote the second season of the hit show.
Millennials expect to have a conversation with the brands they adopt. And that conversation is not just between the brand and the consumer, it’s between EVERYONE! The third party aspect of the brand conversation is now the biggest. Millennials value what their social circles are saying about your brand far more than what you’re saying about it. Experiential provides the opportunity for that conversation to take place live, with product discovery, trial & feedback all occurring in real time. It’s a valuable chance to connect with an audience firsthand while also learning about how consumers react to your products. This positions you to be accountable to your audience – responding to their needs and wants.
Ultimately, millennials want to be marketed with, not at. They wish to be part of the process & dialogue. Consider them a collaborative audience and allow that to shape your next millennial marketing campaign!