I honestly can’t recall the last time I bought something based on a TV or radio commercial.
I can’t remember the last time a print ad left an impression on me (it’s been years since I even bought a newspaper).
In 20 years of using the Internet, I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on a banner ad, Facebook ad, or “Buy this now” pop-up.
I’m a millennial consumer who hates being sold to, and I’m not the only one.
Research shows that millennials are immune to traditional ad placement, with only 1% indicating that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more (Millennial Branding).
So what advertising methods are effective with millennial consumers?
Social media, influencer promo, blog content – all formerly discounted digital strategies reserved for garage-band style start-ups with no working capital – have emerged as the go-to for millennial marketers.
But are these 21st-century strategies enough to cultivate millennial patronage?
Will spending thousands of dollars on spammy Facebook ads work on millennials?
Will having the undergrad interns man your organization’s Twitter and Google + feeds spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S for your company’s social strategy?
So what’s a 21st-century organization to do?
Let’s find out…
Engagement is Essential
In 2015, Forbes reported, “62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They expect brands to not only be on social networks, but to engage them.”
Did you catch that?
“…expect brand to not only be on social networks, but to engage them.”
Engage – not sell to.
Not talk down to.
Not freeze out with corporate mumbo-jumbo.
Millennial consumers craze engaging transparency from the brands they patronize.
They want to know they are dealing with real people – people that care, people with lives (outside the cubicle), people that won’t screw them like the faceless corrupt corporations of yesteryear.
Engagement = Transparency
Still bleeding from the effects of 9/11 meltdown, millennials don’t trust anyone (or any organization) that looks, sounds, or acts like anything 1990’s.
Millennials watched Corporate America lay off their parents, established financial institutions foreclose on their childhood home, trusted education system in debt them for degrees that don’t land jobs, and fought the longest war in American history for a government that’s proven over and over it doesn’t give a rat’s behind about them.
After losing trust in all things “established” – from corporations to government – millennials believe organizational transparency is the best way to prevent another WorldCom scandal or another mortgage bubble bust.
Millennial consumers want to know they can a trust an organization before they patronize it, donate to it, or work for it. They want to be certain it’s not going to screw them like so many others have before.
Today’s consumers will only patronize brand they can trust, and transparency builds trust.
Throwing money towards non-engaging, non-transparent advertising spend won’t result in high ROI with the millennial market, even if it is on social media.
Just like other advertising platforms, social media has quickly become saturated with commercialized content today’s digital natives simply tune out.
If your brand wants to connect with millennial consumers in a way that will increase millennial market share, prioritizing digital engagement (not just recycled posting) and organizational transparency (more than issuing an Annual Report) is a good place to start.
About the Author:
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.