The days when it was acceptable to interrupt potential customers with your marketing message are long gone, particularly when it comes to millennials. In order to successfully market to consumers they need to be invited to co-create your brand story, and don’t just take our word for it.
43% of those surveyed rank authenticity as more important than the content itself
According to the Elite Daily Millennial Consumer Trends Survey 2015, 58% of those surveyed expect brands to publish content online before they make purchases and rank authenticity (43%) as more important than the content itself when consuming news (32%). Millennials don’t trust traditional media and advertising and are looking for the opinions of their friends (37%), parents (36%) and online experts (17%) before making purchases.
Authentic content is key so in order for brands to successfully market to millennials they must place these consumers at the very heart of their marketing communications strategy and invite them to help co-create the brand story. Jacqualine Smith-Dubendorfer, VP of .com at Adidas Group, says:
“Our internal mantra is to be consumer obsessed and in order to be consumer obsessed we need to understand who they are, where they are and what they're saying...We recently announced we were committed to open source; so that's inviting the consumer in and enabling them to participate with the brand and have a dialogue with us, and asking them to be creators with us.”
In 2014 marketers cited content production as their biggest marketing challenge
According to Econsultancy, in 2014, marketers cited content production as their biggest marketing challenge. Therefore finding a way of utilising content produced by fans and advocates can free up valuable resource within a marketing team and ensure that the content that is being produced is exactly what millennial consumers want.
Of course, what feels like letting go of the reins doesn’t come naturally to many marketers, but the key to success is finding a balance between branded content and the content being produced by fans to tell a truly connected brand story. Critically, brands still need to moderate user-generated content (UGC) and protect themselves from potential brand damage that could be caused by negative comment.
Clearly the UGC that they are moderating is already out there on the social web, but they are making a decision to curate the best of the noise into a narrative, and in doing so, bestowing recognition and creating an inclusive and highly authentic brand conversation.
18-24 year olds said they would be more interested in a brand that served humorous, dramatic or heartwarming stories…
Moreover, according to an April 2015 survey on internet user behaviour by emarketer, whereas over-35s are more likely to engage with a brand if they offer discounts, 18- to 24-year-olds said they would be more interested in a brand that served them humorous, dramatic or heartwarming stories than they would in one that gave them discounts. Content that was fun, interesting or topical was also seen as compelling by millennials, cited by 41% of “young millennials” and 44% of older millennials ages 25 to 34.
How to give millennials what they want
So how can brands serve up the sort of content that will really appeal? - By simply utilising the content that’s already out there on social networks, created by the customers themselves. It is guaranteed to be authentic and exactly the type of content that millennials crave.