Most marketers don’t understand how to attract Millennial and Generation Z consumers to become brand advocates to friends and family.
As this youngest generation has only recently started entering the workforce, marketers take for granted the fact that they have completely different skillsets, life experiences, and values. Most Millennials remember when Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter skyrocketed to massive growth, so they recognize how social media changed the dynamic of personal relationships and social interactions dramatically.
While marketers still consider social media the newest shiny thing compared to broadcast and print, Millennials and Gen Zers consider it a part of their identities. In fact, 42% admit that social media “has a direct impact on their self-image,” according to research from the Center for Generational Kinetics.
It’s time for marketers to sidestep the traditional methods and take a new approach if they want to win market share and mindshare with this elusive, yet highly lucrative audience.
1. Think Like a Millennial
Traditional marketing copy style doesn’t resonate with this generation; they can't relate. Their skills revolve around communicating ideas quickly, testing video and social content, receiving and absorbing feedback on social media, and working across multiple screens simultaneously.
They also have different values and expectations from their work. They grew up with transaction-based, on-demand opportunities as the norm. Things like Uber, Instacart, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit gave them plenty of ways to generate short-term cash for 10 to 30 minutes of work.
This has generated a skillset that’s unique to other generations before them. The ability to communicate a message, build a following, and monetize that following is becoming as common for today's young people as flipping burgers in high school was for their predecessors.
2. Understand the New Meaning of Meaningful Work
While their parents prioritized the most stable, fulfilling careers, the younger generation craves to be a part of something more. They want memorable experiences, support from their friends and followers, personal development, and real-world rewards.
For example, rather than meeting in the office, take your ambassadors out to the coolest new café in town. Instead of touring your company’s warehouse, tour the brewery down the street.
The experience needs to match the ambassador's message and target audience. If the content isn’t validated by friends and followers, ambassadors will stop sharing it. There’s nothing worse than posting something that doesn’t even get 11 likes, after all.
Aside from increased validation, this generation also view their social media presence as job experience. For better or worse, training, webinars, and access to other members are critical for their personal development. Their rewards should also match this shift, as they most often seek real-world rewards as a status symbol, such as offering a top performer a $150 gift card to take their significant other out to dinner at a high-end restaurant — that would be a huge win for everyone.
3. New Ways to Appeal to Ambassadors
With these differences in mind, it becomes clearer why so many companies struggle attracting brand ambassadors. If your brand needs to change its approach to attracting ambassadors, start with these steps:
A. Discuss your message.
Speak with them. Vet your messaging and marketing plans with this generation. Interview your friend’s kids or neighbor’s kids, if you have to. Having this discussion is the most important task — you shouldn't move forward without checking this box.
B. Collect feedback.
Continue the discussion by gathering feedback from your team, and get plenty of it. Use tools like Typeform to perform quick surveys on the fly, or make it a regular focus for each month or quarter. You’ll need consistent feedback to make adjustments where needed, to make sure that your messaging stays on point, and to keep your ambassadors continuously satisfied.
C. Stay flexible.
Finally, be willing to hear and accept that feedback. It’s okay to change rewards and incentives based on feedback. However, know your audience and who’s providing the feedback; you don’t want to make decisions based on the opinions of just one or two people.
It’s a different world, and the new generation is a different breed of employee. Like all generations, though, you just need to understand their values and learn how to meet their expectations to recruit them into the fold.