Marketing to a millennial audience is something that seems to be not only misunderstood but also overly analyzed. With the rapid pace of information available, public opinions can change within seconds of an article being published, a re-tweet, a profile status, or a video being shared. So how do you plan your marketing to a millennial audience?

Here are some pointers for marketing to a millennial audience:

Try to make viral content

Trying to make viral content while marketing to a millennial audience is a numbers game. Your goal is to have your content gain enough momentum within your target audience that it starts to get what the music and radio industry calls “cross-play”. Back when radio stations on FM were a primary advertising source, cross-play was simply described as content (or music) that is received and welcomed by an audience outside its primary market of a millennial audience. That is exactly what happens when content on the internet goes viral.

Here is a common millennial audience “how it went viral” scenario:

Marketing to a Millennial Audience – Bill Meme Example

  1. Someone shares an experience or story on Reddit – their fellow Redditors comment, share their own experiences and so forth.
  2. Someone decides to sum the experience up in a few words, add a funny picture that creates an emotional response, generally based on satire and/or relatable life event or emotion.
  3. The people who wrote the original story share the image since it was made for them (if they find it funny, of course).
  4. The person who made it shares it to show off their creation
  5. Anyone else that stumbles onto the Reddit thread shares the image or video if they deem it fit enough, not the original story.

The story that originated the sequence of events that lead to the viral content is lost to anyone who has seen the meme on social media unless they decide to have a go at finding it on Reddit.

This is not exclusive to Reddit. Utilize all of the tools you have available to you.

Viral content marketing to a millennial audience is organic, as it should be.

Millennials see right through branded and focused memes, don’t bother. Make some posts and advertise them. Turn something common or average into the meme. Allow your brand to be seen as the jokester behind the meme with a small watermark. It’s a numbers game if you decide to take this approach. Keep it classy.

Make sure the person making the meme is really really really funny. A great example is the Unilad channel for gamers – those memes make a gamer laugh often, therefore, it’s viewed as something worthy of being in the Facebook feed without being ignored, or worse, blocked/unfollowed.

The strategy Unilad is using here is simple – they aim to relate only to their focused audience and nobody else. If you aren’t a serious gamer, you won’t understand 90% of the memes created from that channel. Not even the casual gamer will pick up on all of it. This makes the qualified viewer feel exclusive and gives them a personal connection to the brand, the content, and whatever the meme leads to – assuming it is relevant. Sharing and reaction rates are best on this type of structure for a millennial audience.

The core of this strategy relies on one thing: Data.

Analytics can help, but gaining access to a solid lead list is what will set you apart and give you the right audience to send off your content to.  If you need a data package, let me know.

Email Blasts

While it is tempting to send out an email blast, the only brand recognition you gain from it is how annoying your company is to do business with. When marketing to a millennial audience, do not ever do an email blast that isn’t requested.

If you insist on an email blast

Make sure you have a target email list that is valid. If there is proof somewhere down the line that the person you are sending your email to actually bought something from an email blast before, your chances of conversion improve a little bit. For this approach, you need accurate data.

Advertising Outright

Advertising outright to a millennial audience is expensive, but effective. Save it for the TV, Hulu, or YouTube. Your budget will need to be very open. I’d suggest a minimum of $100k budget or higher to advertise on a streaming video subscription network, and at least $1,500 for YouTube. Here’s a breakdown of Everything to Consider for Creating an Effective Video Advertisement for your Brand.

Text Messages

This method does not go well marketing to a millennial audience unless they directly ask you for it. Do not have this enabled in your marketing plan by default. Most networks have some form of spam protection built into their platform as well. If your number ends up on it, your messages and phone number show up with a nice big red or yellow “Suspected Spam” header, provided by the cellular network.

Pop-ups

More specifically, pop-ups that do not pertain to the exact page the viewer is observing.

Here is an example:

The viewer goes to a website after clicking on a recipe shared by a friend. The website loads flawlessly and is optimized for their device perfectly. The website’s creator and the brand have made a great first impression.

The viewer is scrolling down after completing the first article, the webpage seems to have a loading issue. They stop scrolling because a new block of text with a picture of a truck is on their screen. The viewer misclicks on the ad while trying to press the small x. Here are the results:

They are agitated by 3 things

  • Your website for having the ad
  • The company that the ad was for
  • The misdirection from the original content.

The viewer hits the override back button on their mobile device, which brings them back to the social media platform within milliseconds. The next article’s clever title gently placed in the sweet spot of the mobile screen suggesting what to click next. The viewer is now far away from your article that you spent time working on.

If you really feel you need it, or a client requests it, make sure the option to close the pop-up is clear, precise, and easy to click.

When a user maintains control of their experience on your website, they feel more welcomed.

As a company marketing to a millennial audience, this is a simple way to let your customers know you do not want them stuck. You want to guide them through the experience your company wants them to consider looking at for the best introduction possible. If presented properly, this can be an extremely effective engagement tactic. If done incorrectly, this can be a loss for both.