If you’re not a millennial, you probably have a mental image of how we behave — we can’t put our phones down, we can’t pay attention to anything for more than a few seconds, we aren’t following the traditional 9–5 workday, and we can be kind of difficult.
It’s all true.
But we’re also an important demographic, and we’re changing the way marketers do their job.
Millennials were born between 1982 and the early 2000s, which gives us a pretty broad age span. Those at the top of the range are looking at their mid-thirties, babies, start-ups, and job promotions. The ones at the bottom are dealing with puberty and picking out new kicks for their sophomore year of high school. Our spending power? It’ll be around 1.4 trillion by 2020. We’re a huge group and we consume a ton of content — and we do it so much differently than the generations that came before us.
So how do marketers create content for us that not only grabs our attention, but makes us love it and share it?
This week I watched a webinar given by Marcus Stoll, head of marketing EMEA at NewsCred, and Joe Puglisi, director of creative strategy at BuzzFeed. They prescribed three things your content should do if you want to resonate with millennials. And if you ignore this advice, we’ll ignore your content.
You may not believe it, but we’re an emotional generation and we like getting behind causes we care about. Make us feel something. Show us through your social media, blog, and other outlets that your organization, and the people in it, care about the community and are actively involved. This will help us connect with and trust you. And if we like what you’re supporting and how you’re doing it, you’d better believe we will share it far and wide. It makes us feel good and helps promote your brand. So tap into our emotional side.
We love to learn and we love heading down the road less traveled. Find ways to challenge and teach us new things through your content. We’d much rather look up a YouTube video on how to fix a leaking toilet then read a manual or call a plumber. We aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty, so offer us ways to learn about how your product will improve our lives. Great websites that educate us — The Huffington Post, Inc., Thought Catalog and theSkimm — talk to us the way we want to be talked to. The headlines are distinctive and they home in on very specific demographics. We’re curious and ambitious! We start companies (Snapchat, Blue Apron, Facebook, Dropbox)! We want to learn how to make businesses grow.
Let’s be honest: We have short attention spans and have grown up with lots of technology (even though some of us do remember dial-up Internet and phones with cords). We want funny, snarky top-10 lists, short videos about stupid things animals do, interesting blogs that get us to think about life, and websites that tell us what’s happening in the world in ways we want to hear it. BuzzFeed, for example, gives us a little bit of all of that.
I’ll leave you with a final tip: Don’t be overly sales-y, pushy, or fake. Keep the content relevant to your brand. Millennials see right through fake brands — and fake people — and tune them out once and for all. Be authentic. Be true to your brand. And the more consistently you create content, the more opportunities you create for yourself to be shared, loved, and promoted.
Samantha Oscar is Manager of Marketing & Inbound at ab+c Creative Intelligence.