Thursday, July 17, 2008

Marketing to Millennials: What You Need to Know

The topic that seems to be getting a lot of press lately is the Millennial generation. These up and comers are a unique group that need to be marketed to using new rules and understanding. Based on a recent article that originally ran in the GreenTreeGazette, here are some marketing "must-do's" when it comes to reaching Millennials.

Step 1: Involve Millennials in your marketing campaign

Invite students to a brainstorming retreat with your staff. Millennials are the best ones to advise you on how to talk to their peers.

A common scenario at a less-savvy organization would be for a Baby Boomer ad agency owner to direct a Gen X art director to create a marketing message for Millennials. The perception is that if the message works for them, it will work for today’s youth.

But Millennials are more engaged than any other generation preceding them. They are politically active, massively optimistic, glued to their parents and often find themselves persuading others to take the high road. This is quite different than the reputations of Boomers or rebellious, disillusioned Xers.

Step 2: Get involved on their level
Participate in online communities without violating Millennials’ trust. Have your staff create a community through MySpace or Facebook. That way, your students—not your marketing director—will be touting the value of your company or product. And people who opt in to the community are great prospects for marketing messages!
Step 3: Be creative with what is already out there
This step will save you money, too! How about a YouTube video submission contest? Prospective customers can post a YouTube video of themselves touting all their great attributes and why your product works for them. It can be fun, and you can you make a contest out of it that teens will share with each other.
Step 4: Don’t forget about traditional media
There is much research to show that though teens do not trust advertising on the Internet, they still expect and trust advertising from TV, magazines and radio.

Studies show teens choose the Internet for learning, TV/radio for entertainment and being informed, and they read magazines for updates on trends. TV, radio and magazines have the highest ad receptivity and trust levels of all media.

Remember, though the Internet is their most heavily used medium, it’s also the one Millennials trust the least from a traditional advertising perspective.

Introduce yourself to Millennials through traditional media, and they’ll be much more willing to learn more about you online. Think of traditional media as your first step, your “Get to know ‘ya” approach. Online advertising is the more tactical, “Now you know me, let’s connect!” approach.

Let’s pretend that your budget is limited. Can’t do all the strategic work necessary to have an effective traditional advertising campaign, which would lead to a successful tactic campaign? What can you do? Take your entire small budget and pick an audience you can saturate. Choose a market segment and program that you really want to push, and push it.

Whatever you do, remember the one-two punch: traditional (trusted) media first, then use online for more viral, word-of-mouth techniques.

This article first ran in the Greentree Gazette, Reprinted with permission.


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