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How to Reach Millennials

How to Reach Millennials

February 22, 2016

We’re almost 3 months into 2016. It’s time. We’re going to do things better, faster, and more high-quality than ever. We will even do things like reach more millennials.


Plus we’ll run that marathon, travel the world, and finally (finally!) learn how to cook (and not just heat up that Campbell’s soup that was marketed to us a few years ago). We like to keep things hawwwt (with our hands up in the air because we’re so ahhhhmazing).

Hope this party never stops

Hope this party never stops, yo. 

(Ummm. Not so much).

Millennials are a unique (and sarcastic) breed of creative, idealistic, and connected individuals who like to rally together to create more meaning in the world. According to Epsilon, we seek brands that can offer it all: experience, authenticity, and social responsibility. Even better if it’s a good value.

And we’re willing to spend money on brands who achieve all the things (we do want all the things and believe we can have it). According to Adage.com, Millennials or Gen Y will spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017, and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. So, what does this mean for publishers who want to market to Millennials?

It means something super important: You’ll need to take a cue from Taylor Swift and stop calling us on our Elf phones to connect (ahem: reference).

We may or may not pick up our phones when you call. The truth is that you’ll have a better chance of connecting with us if you use the Time Travel Machine (TTM) approach to communicate with us (no Elf phones necessary). When you invest in a time travel machine (sold separately from this article), you can more easily travel into the future (where we exist!) to learn how we communicate today, and in the future.

Just kidding.

No fancy technology is necessary, just a fancier approach: You’ll need to put into practice three words:

  1. Time
  2. Trust
  3. Memorability (how is that acronym for being memorable?)

According to Crowdtap, when you deliver all three of these aspects in your marketing, you’ll become more influential with Millenials product choices and purchase decisions than traditional media.

Trends come and go. But when you incorporate a few of these tips, your marketing will be timeless. Here are a few fun ways to target millennials:

  1. Create Undeniable Glorious Connections

One of the best ways to get the trifecta for your time machine is to create Undeniable Glorious Connections, or User Generated Content. According to Crowdtap and Ipsos MediaCT Research, Millennials are spending over five hours a day consuming user generated content and this content influences what they buy. That’s because this same study revealed that user-generated content is regarded as 40% more trustworthy than information from traditional media sources. This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider how much social media and personal recommendations form opinions today. When you make User Generated Content the center of your content marketing strategy, you create content that acts as memorable experiences for your brand.

  1. Mobile is the main screen

This isn”t “breaking news.” But it’s something that you’ll want to keep in mind while you’re building your time machine. According to Nielson, Millennials are the largest segment of smartphone owners. But what does this mean (other than we’re super smart)? Millennials don’t just want brands to be on top of their mobile game, they expect it. Mobile is their primary screen, and they want brands to understand (and respect) how they consume their information.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason to show the addiction to screens, millennial news and entertainment site Elite Daily found that 87 percent of millennials use two to three devices at least once a day. So, what does this mean for your brand if you’re not only trying to reach this transient generation but trying to reach them on various screens?

According to thinkwithgoogle.com, you’ll want to think multi-screen, but build for mobile. When you create content across various channels, you will have a higher likelihood that your brand will be seen as engaging. For example, if you post a video to YouTube, you can follow up with creating a conversation about it on Twitter using a particular hashtag. Or, you can post behind the scenes shot on Instagram that captures the essence of the video to pique interest and to allow Millennials to engage in a two-way conversation. It’s all about cross-promotion to get in the Millennial game.

  1. Align with a cause

Cause marketing is evolving in exciting and fun ways, and the brands who are getting on board with this trend are the ones who understand the importance of social impact. According to a study done by Cone Communications, 89% of Americans are willing to switch brands in order to support a cause. This means that if you’re a publishing company today, you’ll want to prove your commitment to your cause.

Millennials seek out brands that align with their values. Aligning with a cause has the added benefit of also helping your company with employee recruiting and retention. When your organization truly cares, it’ll garner more respect and admiration. Millennials want to know that your company is “doing good” when they purchase your product. Companies who demonstrate this through their values will win loyal fans.

  1. Don’t be boring

This trend could have been called “embrace trends” but saying to embrace trends in an article about trends may or may not be a bit too meta for Millennials. So, why don’t we discuss the millions of other ways that something as strategic as branded content works better than using a word like “trend.” Like, all of the thousands of ways your branded content needs to stand out and be unique in the seaweeds of the web’s waters. Oh, here’s just a few of the million things that your branded content needs to do to stand out:

No pressure or anything.

But let’s get super serious with some perspectives from an impressive sounding brand.

According to bcgperspectives.com, Millennials are leading indicators of large-scale changes in future consumer behavior. They are influencing and accelerating shifts in consumer attitudes, spending habits, and brand perceptions and preferences among Gen-Xers and even baby boomers. As a result, this generational transition is ushering in the end of consumer marketing as we have long known it.

While Millennials may be ushering in new trends, you’ll want to stay away from using any Usher references (he was so 2004). Stick with the times (and yes, trends) to make sure that you’re Taylor Swift-ing it to the right generation.

  1. Collaborate with creative agencies

Collaborating with a creative agency can be one of the most efficient ways of investing in your company, especially when it comes to building credibility and influence. In a world where advertising isn’t as effective as it used to be, it’s crucial to be a connector through creative content.

And good news! According to this time machine (or rather, an article that predicts the future): Agencies will become connectors. Brands want to connect with people through artist relationships and artists want brand dollars. Agencies will be the force that brings them together in partnerships that are about more than just pay to play.

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