Millennials this, digital thatâ€¦
By now, any marketer worth his or her salt knows that consolidating, strengthening and/or building a digital presence is all about targeting millennials.
That’s why, for instance, Warner Music Group has acquired youth-centric pop-culture digital media company Uproxx in a deal reportedly in the many tens of millions of dollars. Although financial terms haven’t been released, it’s clear that the world’s third-largest recorded music company wants to reach young digital audiences and boost its ability to create non-music content through the acquisition, which will give it access to some 40 million Uproxx users.
While Warner Music Group sees the deal as an opportunity to pursue young, digital audiencesOpens a new window , perhaps most interesting is that owning a standalone, consumer-facing platform like Uproxx goes against the traditional grain of a music conglomerate like Warner.
Such a shift in operational strategy reflects a gradual transition across various industries as many companies look to increasingly â€œgo digital,â€ inducing them to rewrite their playbooks.Similarly, in the last 12 months, podcasts have been launched by fashion brands like GucciOpens a new window , MargielaOpens a new window and GQOpens a new window in a bid to reach new digital audiences. It’s a telling example: Who would have thought barely a few years ago that fashion brands would ever produce such a digital marketing strategy?
With American millennials spending more than $65 billion and influencing some $1 trillion in total consumer spending every yearOpens a new window , cracking the millennial audience is every digital marketer’s golden goose.
Reaching that audience, however, is another matter altogether.
Traditional marketing doesn’t work on millennials
It seems that standard marketing strategies just don’t work on millennialsOpens a new window . In fact, a 2014 study found that 84% neither like nor trust traditional advertising.
With such an influential market segment seemingly immune to traditional advertising, brands and companies must now focus on strategies especially designed for that audience. Consider that eight out of 10 millennials regard their smartphone an essential life tool â€“ this generation is forcing most industries into a fully digital direction, with mobile-friendly content at the core.
In large part, millennials’ aversion to the marketing principles that worked on previous generations indeed reduces to their digital cultureOpens a new window . They are driven by instant gratification and by being able to voice their opinions, key aspects of the digital world.
With the average 18-34-year-olds spending 25 hours online per week, their world is digital â€“ as various studies have shown, they have no need for traditional advertisingOpens a new window . Moreover, millennials crave authenticity, and the classic forms of advertising from the days of yore â€“ think TV commercials and print ads â€“ tend to be seen as pushy and disingenuous.
Crucially, younger generations also expect more from the companies and brands they associate with and choose to buy from. Not only is this true in advertising strategies, but also of an organization’s corporate social responsibilityOpens a new window and the way it relates to its customers and wider communities.
In other words, marketing to the most tech-savvy and socially conscious generation ever requires more than just a â€œreally goodâ€ advertising campaign.
What works on millennials
A quick online search will yield myriad digital ideas and tactics for marketers seeking to â€œgo digitalâ€ and engage this elusive and demanding demographic. Some marketers will swear by videoOpens a new window , mobile or social media â€“ or a combination of those platforms.
The truth? All of them work. Depending on the sector, some of those strategies will of course work better than others.
Ultimately, though, what it comes down to is content.
The time is now for companies and brands to tailor a digital experience for consumers, and the tools to do so are readily available. For example, according to research from Nielsen Digital Content RatingsOpens a new window , digital platforms provide a way to relate to, and form valuable relationships with, consumers.
The key is to create dynamic digital content â€“ whether text, image or video â€“ that draws people to engage with the information. That’s why, for example, social media can be such an effective marketing tool with millennials.
With that in mind, no wonder that Warner Music Group has invested in a content-producing website, or that fashion retailers are making their own podcasts.
Admittedly, the growing dominance of digital media has made the marketing ecosystem far more complex. As such, finding the right balance between traditional and digital marketing is the holy grail for marketers angling to put a strategy in place marrying millenials’ wants and needs.
Those who have been most successful in answering this million-, billion- or even trillion-dollar question are leaving traditional marketing behind and investing in design, and on using social media and technology to speak directly and specifically to millennials.
So now is the time to create authentic, â€œpost-worthy,â€ socially aware and unique digital marketing content that appeals to younger generations’ need for instant gratification while simultaneously providing them with the digital experience they are looking for.