Attention, Millennial Marketers: Be Interesting.

In experiential marketing there is one buzzword dominating creative briefs and client requests: It’s Millennials. Marketers, go get ’em.

Yes, it’s a challenge. I’m a Millennial myself, born in 1988. We span from ages 18 to 34. Our views of what experiences captivate us will naturally vary, so marketers must segment our wants, needs and desires. First rule: It’s important to know what kind of Millennial you are targeting. There are some constants that I can attest will help your brand effectively reach us authentically.

We Actually Do Like Longer, Interesting Stuff 

Millennials are a content hungry generation. So it makes sense to integrate branded content into your campaign. Don’t go for the obvious. Sure, we like the instant gratification of BuzzFeed and Elite Daily.  But Millennials only comprise 52% of BuzzFeed’s 74 million unique monthly visitors. Traditional media holds its weight just fine. Thirty-two percent of The New York Times’ 64 million unique web and mobile readers are Millennials. 



The majority of the generation might prefer to consume content that is snackable, but if that is not indicative of your target, go for long-form storytelling, too. We’ll stick with you, if you’re interesting! 

Who’s Doing it Right? 

Rap artist Action Bronson has significantly boosted his fan base through content marketing. Partnering with Vice, Bronson is documenting his encounters with famous chefs and restaurants as he tours the world. Appropriately named “Fuck, That’s Delicious,” this unique marriage of hip-hop and culinary art has drawn massive viewership. Most recently, culinary great Mario Batali requested a co-hosted episode at Eataly. 

Please Respect Our Privacy

We check our smartphone an average of 43 times a day. In my case, probably more. This is not to be misinterpreted as an open invitation to push mobile advertising at us. Seventy-nine percent of U.S. Millennials agreed that mobile targeted advertising is a complete breach of privacy .

Tread lightly when reaching Millennials through mobile. Pay attention to how your targeted segment reacts to various mediums. Perhaps they are okay receiving ads through push notifications. Others might respond positively to partnerships with their favorite apps. There’s constant room for growth and innovation here, test well.

Who’s Doing it Right?

Even when Candy Crush reigned supreme, “Clash of Clans” started its steep climb to fame.  An up-and-comer two years ago, the title is now a top mobile game. They didn’t blast social media with ads, instead, they built strategic partnerships with existing mobile games. One of my favorites, “Puzzle & Dragons,” launched an in-game collaboration event with “Clash of Clans.” For 14 days, “Puzzle & Dragons” players like myself spent their game time taking on characters from the “Clash of Clans” brand.

Be Transparent, We’ll Trust You More 

You can’t hide facts from us. Don’t even try. No matter the Millennial segment, we despise dishonesty. Be authentic and disclose your product facts in your marketing communications. Ninety-three percent of Millennials research products before purchasing and make no mistake they are data hunting vultures. Hundreds of content creators on social media outlets and popular message boards like Reddit or 4chan have likely dissected your product to confirm every claim.

To build brand trust and loyalty, take the time to understand what product attributes are important to your Millennial segment. Craft your product and marketing message around what’s valued to them with full disclosure. Not every brand is going to be perfect so don’t try to conceal your shortcomings.

Who’s Doing it Right?

No brand is exceptional in this field but Chipotle is pretty close. While they present themselves as a gourmet quick serve food franchise hell-bent on serving only local ingredients, that’s not entirely the truth. Some of their foods contain preservatives and GMOs. The silver lining is their diligence to label clearly each of these products on their website. They also share how the company is trying to replace these ingredients with cleaner alternatives.

I’ll end my advice here because the tirades of a disgruntled Millennial know no end. All I ask is for marketers to start spending the time to understand us. It’s not about the technologies and platforms we use but rather the way in which we use them. Know us better and I promise your brand message won’t fall upon deaf ears. Just please keep selfies out of the equation.

2 comments about "Attention, Millennial Marketers: Be Interesting. ".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, May 5, 2015 at 3:23 p.m.

    "Go get them?" Get what is my response. Most millennials don't have money, no job, many still still live with mom and dad who are likely paying for their cell phones.

    The ones who do have a college degree and a job should be put in another class of millennials.

    For the past 50 years there have always been two classes of millennials. The ones who strive and succeed and the others who take pot smoking more seriously than getting a good education.

    This is not a negative comment but set in realities.

  2. Bill Kaplan from FreshAddress, Inc., May 5, 2015 at 4:04 p.m.

    Interesting point from Craig, positing that not all Millenials have the financial wherewithal to be worth a marketer's time.  That being said, those in college and with recent college degrees do represent a $100+ billion dollar market so one must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    So then the big question remains: Where do I find these college students and recent grads so I can take Zach's advice on how best to connect with them.  

    Trying to reach this market has been very difficult in the past as publications like Seventeen and Cosmo seem to only connect with age groups above and below the Millennial segment. Fortunately for marketers, new online publications and communities like Her Campus Media's and its Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email newsletter and other channels have arisen to fill this void. Spend 15 minutes roaming the Her Campus site and social media channels and you'll see that Zach's observations are directly on point.  

    Reaching Millennials is no different than reaching any other market segment. You've got to roam where they roam, speak how they speak, and give them what they want without a lot of fluff on the side.

    Reaching this market is now easier than ever so as Zach writes "Marketers, go get 'em!"

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