When you’re looking to capture the millennial market — those same kids who grew up in the mid-90s to mid-oughties — you would do well to remember that the demographic was raised on the internet.
A DEMOGRAPHIC RAISED ON THE INTERNET
Those born anywhere from 1980 to the year 2000 were at a malleable learning stage when the world wide web poked its head into the North American household. Kids were already coding in HTML on their MySpace pages, while computer tech instructors were “teaching” them how to navigate Yahoo.com.
Don’t be the luddite that young people are humouring, but realize you may not know as much as you think when it comes to youth marketing.
Here’s the reality — millennials are more tech savvy and know their way around the net better than you think. Think you’ve got a great web strategy that will target young millennials? They’re way ahead of you.
If you think you’re ahead of the generation that was raised on the internet, think again. While you’re going over how to speak in the ‘millennial voice’ and get on their level, you’re coming off like Regina George’s mom when she famously insists she’s “not like a regular mom,” she’s “a cool mom.”
WHO’S IN THE MILLENNIAL MARKETPLACE
Imagine what it would look like to be in the millennial’s marketplace.
Your strategic plan may dream up tens of thousands of Instagram followers or plan to jump on the ironic rainbow snapchat feature. In fact, there are tons of articles out there that give good advice on how to market to youth and millennials. As one post from Mashable notes, it’s best to be where your target is — online. Advice for online engagement is plenty: “Go mobile, create brand evangelists, use hip slang, create a memorable hashtag,” and so on.
Problem is, all these strategies and methods are about outward communications. They instruct you on how to speak outward as a brand, such as how to speak their language, at what times and what mediums appeal to youth.
Source: Taco Bell – Twitter
Taco Bell does a great job of speaking the language of their consumers, as well as being in the same place they are: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Their social media engagement reflects their use of teen slang does well among most youth. But, at My Loud Speaker, we say a big “Bye Felicia” to that line of thinking (okay, we just had to).
GO WHERE THEY ARE, BUT BE WHO YOU ARE
In the case of Taco Bell and other major corporations, outward communications that reflect the culture and community of their chosen target isn’t a bad idea. The faux-Mexican fast food chain understands where their chosen demographic goes to congregate, and injects itself into the conversation. But, just like Mrs. George, the inauthentic persona is paper-thin.
What campaigns like that lack is any real honesty—which means knowing your brand’s shortcomings and acknowledging them instead of slapping some 99-cent concealer on top. To truly capture the audience’s attention for longer than the lifespan of a trending hashtag, there needs to be a larger focus on inwards thinking.
For example, Virgin planes were told by their marketing agency to revamp their plane cabins as well as their marketing materials, because it all works together. What the Virgin brand now offers is a luxury experience, even for those flying economy.
Source: Virgin Atlantic via Youtube
Millennials are used to sharing their perspective on things (hello Facebook rants, Yelp reviews, and real-time tweets), so they’re going to be giving their two-cents and not just regurgitating what a company’s outward communication dictates. If they loved their flight experience, you don’t need to tell them you’re a great airline — they’ll do the talking for you.
You can’t control what they say, only what you do as a brand. If you’re doing things correctly, you won’t need to spend resources controlling what your audience shares with their friends, family and the rest of the internet, because they’ll be sharing the truth. No fancy hashtags or off-the-mark buzzwords needed.
Header Photo: Jordan McQueen via Unsplash.com
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