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You’ve heard about them – that terrifying age group known to all as the Millennials. Legend says they like to stare at their phones, use social media way too much, and take selfies. They are the group that marketers fear, crying, “Are we doing our ads correctly? What do we do?”
Are you one of those marketers that just knows the Millennial generation is the hardest possible generation to market to? Well, the Millennials aren’t really all that terrifying: they’re actually quite easy to advertise to, if you know how. I’ll tell you a secret: they live online.
Let’s take a look at today’s advertising world in the Millennial land, discuss this group, and show you who’s doing successful ad campaigns to this targeted younger audience – so you can, too.
Here’s what we’ll be covering:
Before we jump into learning about excellent brands that have appealed to millennial interests, let’s first look at who Millennials are.
In a study done by Accenture, it shows that Millennials were born between the years 1980 – 2000. This makes one portion of the generation the last without the improvements of the digital age, and the other portion is the first who fully experienced the true digital age.
There are currently around 80 million Millennials in the United States, and the Accenture study found that Millennials spend about $600 billion each year.
And while the Millennials do look at the world through their digital-tinted glasses (maybe even Google Glass), they actually have a few similarities with previous generations. This is vital when it comes to marketing.
Thankfully, many brands are noticing that, if they want to convince Millennials to buy their products, they have to reach out to them. And this means meeting them through their digital world while also still maintaining that parts of the generation that views things differently.
Marketing to the Millennials isn’t near as difficult as many seem to make it. They aren’t all focused on online shopping and hanging out on social media channels, as the Accenture study points out.
But, this doesn’t mean brands shouldn’t be moving into a new form of marketing to reach this generation.
Here are a few awesome brands that really capture the millennial marketing mindset, and are making incredible campaigns that more than just Millennials can enjoy.
Adblock Plus is an interesting brand and product that is really picking up usage amongst Millennials. It allows users to block any ads on the web, keeping them from being overly annoyed with businesses.
Yes, this comes as a shock and is stressful for any business – are those Facebook ads really worth it with ad blocking software. Well, there is still a decent amount of people who don’t use it, so those ads might still work.
However, with 41 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 using software like this, it is vital to give Millennials what they want – original content.
Original content isn’t too hard to create, and you’ll find that you can really reach out to those Millennials when you offer something genuine, as well as something they’ll enjoy.
Another great brand that is reaching out perfectly to Millennials is Netflix. While Netflix has a lot of different customers spanning different generations, Millennials are vital to this company.
One way that Netflix reaches out to this generation is by having great social media campaigns, and linking up Netflix accounts with Facebook.
While not everyone wants to share what movie or TV shows they’re watching right now, many Millennials do. Netflix is constantly on the watch when it comes to this generation because they want to make sure they keep reaching out perfectly. So far, it seems to be working as studies show that 75% of millennials with connected televisions are using them to watch Netflix.
If you want to see an epic millennial marketing campaign, just head to Missouri. 5 Pound Apparel is a successful small business in Springfield, MO, and they are a great source of Millennial marketing inspiration.
From their epic branding to kickstarter campaigns, this shop offers a wide range of great marketing to their clients.
Millennials love when sarcasm is blended into marketing, and a great example of this is the shop’s campaign to create shirts for Missouri is Awesome.
Their shirts are incredibly Millennial with awesome minimalistic design, snappy quotes, and general sarcasm.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “PBR is trendy? But, why?” Well, this beer became the official beer of hipsters, and now PBR is making sure to reach out to the hipster millennial groups.
It is their simple advertising campaign that is reaching out to this group and encouraging people to drink their beer. It should come as no surprise that the tactic is working. Millenials love PBR and, as their marketing strategy began to change in 2009, their sales went up by 20.3 percent. Today, Americans (most of whom are millennials) drink nearly 200% more PBR than they did back in 2004.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is making the most out of their iconic logo and art by encouraging people to make their own variations of it. They also have social media channels, making sure to reach out to the social media Millennials.
We arrive, yet again, in Springfield, MO, where Best Western International is releasing a new type of hotel for Millennials.
This hotel is reaching out to a new demographic of businessperson. While there are many Gen X and older business individuals, Millennials are beginning to take the business world over.
Not only are they taking over the business world on the work front, but also when it comes to buying your product. Best Western is a great example of understanding this, and they plan to offer Millennials a lot of great products in this new hotel.
What does it offer?
The 90-room Vib Hotel (short for vibrant) offers smaller rooms, free access to WiFi, a “grab and go” station for coffee, and, of course, a well-stocked workout area. In addition to this, Millennials will have access to more social spots within the hotel.
This reaches out to what a lot of Millennials want – many prefer smaller rooms, homes, and cars, as well as having access to everything they need to get their work done.
The hotel also offers the ability to check into your room via an automated setup and with your smartphone.
From removing the hyphen in their name to shrinking their large stores, Walmart is making moves to get on the good side of the Millennial crowd and – surprise – it’s working.
The major chain knows that millennials appreciate a one-stop shop, so they’ve altered their marketing strategy to tap into this desire. The store now offers smaller stores in different areas including the Walmart markets where it is predominately grocery related things all the way to campus stores.
Marketers are definitely seeing this as a great move on Walmart’s part, as the store is usually one that is found in more rural areas. With this new approach, Walmart is giving itself the chance to move into more urban locales with a wider access to a millennial crowd. Their results are paying off and now Walmart ranks as one of the top shopping destinations for millennials age 24 and younger.
Along with more access to products and genuine marketing, Millennials also want to see companies working for the good of all. In one instance, equality is vital to the millennial generation.
To many, this marked the beginning of brands listening to customers, creating advertisements that reach out to everyone.
Additionally, Oreo has tapped into the tech industry by producing high-tech vending machines that reward “tweets with treats” and placing them at large millennial gatherings, like South by Southwest. This move and others like it have allowed the brand to re-create itself as something hip and exciting for a younger crowd.
These brands did a great job at stepping it up and beginning to make an excellent impact on the millennial generation. But now, you are probably wondering how you can apply this to your business.
Laura Brown from Social Media Today looks at some excellent ways you can market to a millennial crowd and I want to share some of these with you.
1. Always Make Sure You Are Mobile-Friendly. Way back in April, Google made the important move and decision to make it necessary for all sites to be mobile-friendly. Why? Because younger generations use their mobile devices to surf the web and use websites, and many refuse to use a site that is not mobile-friendly. Google is always trying to make things perfect for their users, and making a mobile-friendly site a requirement was a great step.
If you’re still trying to figure out how best to create your mobile-friendly site, there are a few awesome things you can do.
2. Authenticity is an Absolute Must for Millennials. Laura Brown also points out in her article that it is vital for ads to be authentic now. You want your ads and content to come across as genuine and not like a salesperson.
You can do this by writing in a more personal way, telling your story, and interacting with your clients as an actual person. What do I mean by that?
Create a “personal” business social profile, and talk directly with your clients. Use something like Disqus for your comments, and reply to them from your individual Disqus profile.
Just make a connection and focus on being real, and you’ll be well on your way to great, authentic content.
3. Don’t Rely on the Classic Social Media Sites. The older side of the millennial generation might be using Facebook, but when it comes to the younger ones, they use different channels like Snapchat.
Using the newer social media sites can really help you connect with younger crowds and get them to see your content quickly. Snapchat is the latest frontier in advertising to younger people, so take advantage of that and see just how it can help your business.
In addition to Snapchat, you can use things like Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest to make sure you keep your Millennial approach broad. In fact, Pinterest is currently the hot social site to use when it comes to creating excellent social media marketing content.
If you aren’t marketing to a millennial crowd yet, now is the time to change your approach. Begin by following the brands I listed above and putting some of the basic ideas into practice.It isn’t too hard to market to Millennials – I promise, they won’t bite!
And remember: you can always find new content ideas to reach new audiences by looking at your previous content. Check out our 4 tips for finding new content ideas by auditing your past work.
Julia McCoy’s life career happened when she left medical school to follow her passion in copywriting and SEO at 19 years old. A solely self-taught entrepreneur, she built an online copywriting agency a year later in 2011, Express Writers, which has grown to include more than 60 talented copywriters and editors with hundreds of clients around the world. Follow Julia’s blog for all things copywriting & SEO.
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