The millennial generation — Gen Y — is ascendant. Millennials now make up the American workforce’s largest generational cohort, according to Pew Research.
They’re flexing their muscle as consumers too. Ad Age predicts that millennials will spend $200 billion per year and $10 trillion total over the course of their lifetimes.
Awed by their growing power, you’re no doubt marketing to millennials already. The real question is, are you effectively tailoring your marketing messages to today’s most influential demographic group?
Or are you making common content marketing mistakes that could derail your best efforts to reach young, affluent audiences?
Reach More Millennials With These Simple Tweaks
Cast aside all those worn cliches about self-centered, idealistic, air-headed millennials. The reality is much different, and much more interesting. America’s millennial generation is its most diverse ever. There’s no one-size-fits all solution, no master lock to crack.
But there are a few simple content marketing tweaks you can make to improve your millennial outreach efforts and establish lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with young audiences.
1. Deliver Relevant, Immediately Actionable Information
This is a good practice in any content marketing campaign, but millennials are especially receptive to quick, actionable intelligence. Though millennials are skilled researchers, they’re also digital natives. That means they’re more apt to “graze” multiple sources for relevant information, rather than “burrow” down into single sources. If you don’t rapidly and clearly deliver the answers they seek, or at least start them down the right path, they’re apt to move on faster and more decisively than you’d like.
2. Leverage Influencers and Audience Networks
Millennials aren’t necessarily distrustful of authority, but they are significantly more likely to countenance suggestions from people they know and respect.
As a marketer, you can exploit this preference by recruiting millennial-friendly influencers to deliver your message through discrete channels. If your business is healthy food, tap recognized health or foodie bloggers to evangelize about your products and their benefits on your blog or sponsored content missives. Reinforce your message with video testimonials from influential, millennial-friendly restaurateurs or chefs.
To achieve similar results at lower cost, leverage your prospects’ social networks. Incentivize early adopters to recruit their friends and relatives to your cause via referral bonuses, contests and other buzz-building activities.
3. Embrace Visual Media
Millennials aren’t illiterate, but they’re also not in a hurry to read gobs of marketing copy. Use their perennially divided attention to your advantage by embracing the power of visual media — specifically, social channels like Instagram, Like4Like, Snapchat and YouTube.
Time-pressed millennials are far more likely to embrace and absorb visual marketing messages: whiteboard animations, live action videos, infographics, charts, photographic memes. Perhaps more importantly, visual content delivered via social media channels is ripe for sharing. If you’re keen on giving your marketing messages second and third chances at life, plan accordingly.
4. Wear Your Values on Your Sleeve
Despite clear-eyed skepticism of traditional marketing and sales tactics, millennials are deeply idealistic. They respond well to brands that wear their values on their sleeves, that unapologetically stand up for what they believe in.
That said, not all millennials think alike. Before clearly staking claims to shared values, you need to know how your audience will react. Use online surveys, focus groups, sales data, and other sources of information to segment your customer base into buyer personas. Determine which personas are likely to respond best to virtue signaling, and which might be alienated or ambivalent. If you’re idealistic yourself, you might well prefer to market only to like-minded consumers; that’s your prerogative.
How are you tweaking your content marketing to reach more millennials?
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.