It’s a big thing to achieve success in business. But for it to be ongoing, brands need to be able to acquire, retain, satisfy and engage their customers effectively.
The good news for brands is almost two-thirds of millennials interact with brands on social media. But there’s a difference between enticing consumers as they progress through the customer journey, and turning consumers away because of an unthoughtful approach.
If you’re targeting millennials and you want to understand what really makes these consumers tick, it’s best to ignore the stigma surrounding this generation.
Here we explain how to build the right type of content strategy around millennials.
Start with the facts:
- Millennials were born between 1983 and 1996.
- They’re not a uniform consumer segment.
- The majority aren’t fresh-faced, carefree youths.
The truth is, they’re a very diverse bunch, whose attitudes, motivations and interests are completely dependent on which stage of life they’re at.
Aged between 23 and 36, millennials are just as likely to be homeowners, students, or parents.
Time has progressed, and clearly, so have they:
While 36% of those in their twenties haven’t left their homes, 65% of those in their thirties are settling down and getting married.
Millennials are spending more money in-store and online than any other generation.
They are search and social media savvy, having been brought up in an evolving digital world.
If you want to get the most out of your advertising spend and target millennials with accuracy, here’s how.
Creating a data-driven content plan
Content takes many forms, but content marketing at its core is about nurturing and helping consumers to make buying decisions. But consumers won’t fall into your lap without the right strategy in place.
If you haven’t used insights to steer your content creation in the right direction, you’re not ready to map out the practicalities of a strong content strategy.
Creativity is key, but to create usable content that performs, here’s what to remember:
1. Insights are your brand’s currency.
Consumer insights – the real, revealing truths about who you’re targeting – are the foundation of any solid, data-driven content plan.
The key is to choose which insights will help your brand shape its narrative and tell its best possible story to build credibility, but also raise brand awareness. This means turning to robust research that goes far beyond demographics to translate consumer attitudes, interests and perceptions.
2. Profiling helps you organize and classify information.
There are four steps to consumer profiling: segmentation, messaging, engagement, and measurement.
It’s the antidote to helping you gather the insights you need to identify, segment and define your millennial target audience and the market that surrounds them.
Going far beyond basic demographics, consumer profiling focuses on attitudinal data, so brands can get as close to their consumers as possible with the right type of content.
Since profiling helps you make sense of the data available to you, failing to lay the groundwork can put your brand behind in terms of its competition:
Consumer profiling isn’t rocket science, but it is a science. Brands are halfway to creating compelling types of content if they know who they’re talking to.
3. Segmentation is the first step to take.
Segmentation, the first step of consumer profiling is about identifying clusters of like-minded individuals within an overall group.
Segmentation helps brands determine who is most likely to buy their products or services. In other words, it helps you pinpoint your best potential customers so you can direct great content towards them.
The millennial generation isn’t ‘one lump sum’ nor are millennials static – it’s about determining which subsets of millennials you want to reach to set the tone of your strategy.
Why go deep with consumer research
Serving up the right content to millennials in the right place, at the right time, is less about the size of your digital marketing budget, and more about your ability to analyze the right data. Your content team needs to know how to amplify each type of content effectively.
The Pareto Principle: 80% of the effects (sales, sign-ups, leads) come from 20% of the causes (consumers) perfectly encapsulates why brands should bake consumer insight into their strategy and business goals.
Messages not rooted in deep consumer insight can be harmful; Several leading brands have fallen victim to the many pitfalls of inauthentic marketing, most of whom lack the insight needed to make their efforts count.
For millennials to be receptive, each piece of content should prove you’ve gotten to know them.
Cross-examining millennials: a checklist
Profile the right audience segments.
Segment them into smaller, like-minded groups to get a clear picture of exactly who’s on the receiving end. While consumer profiling helps you understand your audiences’ motivations, attitudes and beliefs, it can also help you identify lookalike audiences that you can target to broaden your reach.
Investigate their attitudes toward device usage and advertising.
Find out the devices millennials own and which of them command most of their time. Question what motivates millennials to block ads.
Identify their entertainment and media consumption habits.
Is your millennial audience consuming media and entertainment wholly online or does traditional media still play a key role in their lives? What influences them and who do they follow online? What types of content interest them?
Learn how they use social media.
With an average of 9 social media accounts, Facebook is the only social media platform dominated by millennials. 36% of millennials say they’re on social media to find funny or entertaining content. Would your target audience agree? What are their favorite platforms? What do they use each for? How can your team of content marketers or content strategists connect with that audience?
Map their consumer journey.
37% millennials discover brands on social media. How do millennials like to research products? Uncovering the stages in a consumer’s journey is crucial. How can your brand shape its content marketing efforts to provide value at every touchpoint?
Stat roundup: what millennials value
- Culture: a quarter of millennials can be categorized as “cosmopolitan”, because they enjoy being surrounded by different ideas and lifestyle.
- Sustainable products: 6 in 10 would pay more for eco-friendly items.
- Ads that are relevant: 46% use ad-blocking software to avoid ads that are annoying and irrelevant.
- Experiences: 6 in 10 millennials would rather spend their money on a unique experience than a status brand.
- Online shopping: 8 in 10 millennials have purchased a product online on any device in the last month.
- Entertaining content: 4 in 10 use social media to find funny or entertaining content.
Case study: How Chipotle earned millennials’ love
Millennials are a coveted target market for many brands, and Chipotle Mexican Grill’s content strategy has landed it one of the most loyal millennial followings to boot.
Chipotle-lovers are true advocates for the brand, even paying real money to advertise their love for the brand on their clothing. The brand doesn’t ‘try too hard’ to get attention, but it certainly aims to please.
Chipotle’s ingredients are sourced from farms rather than factories and are free from artificial fillers and flavors, which is something many food-conscious millennials feel strongly about.
According to a recent study by Spotify, 68% of millennials think brands should be promoting values that are more progressive, prompting them to buy into Chipotle’s mission as well as its product.
Chipotle’s playful tone of voice and distinctive brand personality wouldn’t have come into fruition without consumer insight. The brand simply wants to match the voice of its audience and has made a name for itself by referencing the language trends of millennials in a natural and clever way.
Thanks to Chipotle’s simple but entirely relatable messaging, they’ve generated a keen following of millennials, who clearly benefit from the sense of community the brand has created.
Brands that fail to analyze robust consumer data can’t say for sure what their target audience is interested in, the challenges they may face, the way they perceive things and where they spend their time. This means that their content development efforts might be wasted.
At the end of the day, markets are reaching saturation and brands keep trying to outsmart one another for a slice of the pie. You can create content for content’s sake or, you can infuse your millennials content strategy with powerful insights and notice the effect of having powerful insights and notice the effect on your ROI.