Commentary

No Young Man Left Behind: How To Market To Millennials

Young men remain a desirable audience but are an elusive demographic for marketers to reach. Nielsen estimates that millennials have $200 billion in direct buying power,  as their income is not yet bogged down by high fixed expenses, like mortgages or children.

Millennial men are the key to unlocking this spending power, as data shows they are 50% more likely than young women to hold influence over the product decisions of their peers.

While they have significant spending power, advertisers often complain that young men are hard to reach.  But how do you reach a demographic that won’t look away from a video game long enough for ad impressions to have an impact?

Below are three content tips for reaching millennial men and holding their attention long enough to drive sales.

Use humor.  While this tactic has been a tried and tested method of advertising for decades, it particularly resonates with young men. Whether you are a local neighborhood coffee shop writing zingers on your exterior sign or a major fast-food chain like Wendy’s, which roasts its social media followers with edgy comments, approaching content with humor is a winning strategy.

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This is doubly true if the product you are selling could be classified as boring, like car insurance. For example, Geico has been very successful in building brand identity and loyalty in an otherwise boring industry through the use of humorous ads. Funny brands are relatable and humor encourages sharing of your advertising content, a key attribute in a digital-first world.

Feature “normal guys” doing impressive/extreme stuff. Action-oriented men respond well to extreme situations that utilize your product, especially if the person featured in the ad is just your average Joe. Showing how your product can be a part of an achievable, yet impressive lifestyle is a key content strategy for marketing to young men. Nike has had success with its “Just Do It” positioning. When you buy a Nike shoe, you can be an athlete, no matter who you are or where you come from.

Don’t restrict yourself to traditional masculine pursuits. Millennial men are rejecting rigid stereotypes. While it’s common to use sports, action events, and traditional “manly” pursuits in marketing to this group, society’s definition of masculinity is changing. Today, themes involving education, beauty and tasks that have traditionally been viewed as “domestic” have appeal.

Brands willing to break or challenge gender stereotypes are often the most likely to drive social influences among the men and women of this generation. Axe deodorant has completely changed with the times, from crudely celebrating male stereotypes to criticizing them.

This self-empowerment message is similar to what brands have leveraged to engage with young women.

While ultimately not a fit for every brand, these tactics deserve further consideration if engaging this lucrative segment is high on your priority list.

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