Millenials for Dummies: 4 Tips to Engage Millenials with your Contents
Instagram-scrolling, avocado toast-munching and craft beer-drinking millenials have been the primary marketing target for companies over the past few years. Now well into their 20s and early 30s, this particular demographic is now at that age where a part of their income is divested into discretionary spending, something that companies would very much like to tap into. The problem is, this is also a generation that has been proven to be practically impervious to ads.
Think back to the much simpler times of 15 years ago when you were still watching shows like The O.C. or One Tree Hill on television and when your news were still digested in print. Ads and commercials were still commonplace back then but then the internet came along and pretty much changed the way we consume everything. The concept of SEO services and social media emerged soon after and became the new normal for marketing.
The millenial’s guide to marketing
2008 was an election year in the United States and in case you’ve forgotten, that was also the year the young, hip and progressive Senator Barack Obama won his presidency. The Obama campaign was notable in being one of the first to utilize the reach of the internet but what I found to be interesting is that Obama also campaigned in video games. Yes, you read that right, advertisements for Obama began popping up in the Xbox 360 version of Burnout Paradise in the United States during the campaign period.
Change was the running theme of Obama’s campaign and while it was supposed to be about his approach to governing and the fact that he was going to be the first African-American President if elected, Obama’s campaign also highlighted a notable shift in the marketing landscape. Appealing to the youth population was a centerpiece of Obama’s strategy and what better way to do that than in the realms of video game?
Millenials are a different beast compared to the previous generations; they made the idea of broadcast television seem antiquated with their streaming habits and they’ve made the idea of music ownership dead by giving up their entire music library to the likes of Spotify. It’s no surprise then that when it comes to marketing; an entirely different approach is needed to appeal to this well-educated and technologically-savvy generation.
Don’t be glaringly obvious with your sales pitch
There’s this joke people have about ‘try-hards’. I’m not sure I can describe the meaning of the word as well as I should but the way I see it is that it is a derogatory term aimed at the kind of people who tries so hard to be something that it becomes annoying to watch. A good example would be the character of Tracy Flick, played by Reese Witherspoon in the 1999 film Election or that coworker you have that does everything in their power to be the center of the office’s attention. Oh, don’t give me that look; you know perfectly well who I’m talking about.
A colleague of mine used to say that literally saying I love you is the least creative way to say I love you and ‘try-hards’ are just another example of the expression. There are instances in which being direct can be a boon but good marketing requires subtlety, which is why you should always try to avoid overt sales pitch in your contents. There are multiple ways of achieving this, by using storytelling in your contents or by using some actionable insights, values and/or knowledge within the content itself.
Include pop-culture references
If there’s anything we love more than avocado toasts and IPAs, it’s talking about Rick and Morty and Red Dead Redemption 2. One feature that marks out millenials compared to previous generations is our media consumption. Irreverent TV shows, the latest dance craze and the video games everybody’s playing; there are plenty of things you could use as a fodder in order to grab our attention. Pop-culture references are an easy way to establish come common ground between you and your audience.
Don’t be afraid to be personal
When everything is said and done, content creators are no different to writers, musicians, etc in that they goal here is to essentially connect with your audience. Taylor Swift made a career on writing songs about her ex-boyfriends and Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next’ is her way of coming to terms with her recent difficulties, the far-too-soon death of ex Mac Miller and the end of her engagement to Pete Davidson. You probably shouldn’t include that much information but it’s always a good idea to establish that this particular content could only come from you.
You could also try, every now and again, to include your social and political views in your content but take care to not let them overwhelm the content itself. There’s a difference between being politically and socially ‘woke’ and using your content platform as a political agenda. Just as how overt sales pitch isn’t kindly looked upon, being politically preachy is also something you should always avoid.
If you’re doing blog posts, intersperse the piece with some images and/or GIFs
Forget Wikipedia, if 500 hundred years from now (assuming our collective lack of action on climate change or Alexa and her A.I. buddies hasn’t completely wiped out the human race, whichever comes first) future historians would like to find out how people lived in the glorious year of our Lord 2018 lived, Giphy is the one place they should be looking into. Think of GIFs as the Emojis of blog posts, serving to humorously enhance the point you’re trying to make.