Marketing to Millennials

The DOYO Live Marketing Show on location at Branch Street Coffee in Boardman, Ohio. This episode is sponsored by Valley Digital Services. This week we featured Audrianna Phillips, a recent communications graduate at Youngstown State University and Matt Campbell, a soon to be a future graduate.

In this episode, we talk about marketing to millennials. This is the time of year when many businesses are in planning mode for the new year. As 2017 is already upon us. I see the crystal ball predictions, heck we made our own, Magic 8-Ball Marketing Predictions for 2017.

There have been a few blogs that basically stated that if you’ve not planned for 2017 already that it will be a complete failure. I disagree, if you are still in marketing, sales, business planning mode for the upcoming year it’s not too late.

However, one thing you should consider into that equation is how you will be marketing to millennials. Which by the represent our largest age range population, that’s right step aside Baby Boomers and Generation X.

There’s a new sheriff in town. Socially conscious, tech savvy, wanting to do good things and change the world. Work on their terms, where and how they want to contribute, start at the top and rewarded for participation. They cannot help it, born into their DNA and provided with access.

What I find even more interesting is their buying power. And don’t put your head in the proverbial turtle shell if you are in a B2B environment. The high end of the millennial spectrum are at that 34-year-old range. Old enough in a number of businesses to be making purchasing decisions.

I teach part-time at Youngstown State University and for the past two years, I’ve got a living case study. Unprecedented access. To see how this segment of our population, acts, thinks and lives. What type of content on what platforms they interact with the content.

So whether you are in a B2B or B2C, our two millennials, Audrianna and Matt highlight some very important traits. They are consuming TV, both of them in a streaming environment. Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO On Demand, Apple TV, etc.

Binge watching is a common thing. In addition, they want to actively participate. Whether it’s live Tweeting during the event, typically a smartphone and laptop are on. In certain situations it’s an in-app discussion like a What’s App or again Tweeting the event, likely exchanging Snaps. Wow…So the money you spend on making commercials is totally lost because a millennial is never leaving the digital ecosystem, between mobile and desktop, streaming TV and social media.

Again, there are more millennials on the planet today than any other generation. Only a matter of time before they are major decision makers in a business you are trying to sell your next million dollar deal.

Oh, email marketing. So I love email marketing, probably 80% of our registrations for webinars, workshops, and our annual event come from our opt-in email list. I can tell you first hand, this is a struggle. For me, I connect via Twitter and SnapChat and send messages about class assignments, reminders to attend class or topics we covered in follow-up.

I get great bi-directional engagement with students over these mechanisms. However when I send an email it falls on deaf ears or blind eyes. Maybe I’m part of the problem, instead of demanding they meet me on my terms, I’m comfortable communicating on their terms. However isn’t that the omni-channel that we’ve all become accustomed to?

If we want to text, phone, email, social media, etc. as a way to interact with a brand, we have an expectation they will interact with us back in the same manner. This is somewhat new to us. But what if this is the environment you grew up in?

Audrianna Phillips, is super talented, understands social very well and will be an asset to any organization that wants to hire her today as a social media community manager. She would crush it. In the meanwhile what’s fascinating for me was the number of apps that are downloaded on her phone. The majority are fashion-related brands, retail stores, and the magazines. She receives all of her updates via apps. While her go to is Instagram and she does follow brands, she’s VERY limited on Facebook. Uses Twitter while binge watching and avoiding your TV commercials. She cannot remember the last time she picked up a newspaper and doesn’t have a need for print magazines, because all this data she consumes is via a smartphone.

Holy cow…You mean I cannot just put together a post on Facebook, with a picture and a link, which will engage Audriana into by business?

Exactly! Marketing to Audrianna at scale, meaning Audiranna x’s the total number of Audrianna’s that fit the buyer persona. What we just described above would be her buyer persona. What type of content do we need to craft and where do we need to basically push it out to get her attention (awareness) so we can start to engage her. By the way…Come on too strong and she will just figure out how to x-out of your little pop-up or unfollow, unfriend and deny you access.

First up I would look deeper into Netflix shows that she’s binge watching. Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, etc. And more importantly, I would turn to Twitter. Look at the trending hashtags for those shows. If I’m a regional business I would do an advanced search lookup on Twitter. Start to build out lists of people that are watching the show, with the trending hashtag. It’ll start to give you some insight to their Tweets and how they are interacting.

However I wouldn’t get to involved just yet, it’s fine to just observe. Watch the conversation. Eventually, pick your spot to where to engage. You may want to jump in the conversation vs. your business. It’s got to be authentic. I mean this isn’t some undercover cop assignment trying to infiltrate the mob, but you really need to be there for the right reasons.

I’d also look to connect on Instagram. Both on Twitter and Instagram at a certain point: Follow, Like, Share, and Comment. All important and/or more important than what you are posting. When you do post it’s about bringing value, whether it’s with valuable information or entertainment value. If you are able to educate or delight and audience you will likely win them over. Posting your 10% or 50% off immediately is not going to get your foot into the door.

Building an audience by giving something of value away actually can win people over. But like Audrianna commented, it’s got to be simple. Either Like, Share or Comment a post. Tag a friend, but beyond that it becomes complicated. The more complicated it is the more likely people will turn away.

And hey you in the B2B, think nurses at the local health system. They are human. They influence and make purchasing decisions. They watch TV and likely are binge watching with some downtime and interacting via social media. So if you are in a B2B environment, totally turning off the Instagram or Twitter channels is a huge mistake. Many just turn to LinkedIn, I get it. However, you are missing an opportunity to connect and build a relationship.

In Matt’s case, he’s a sports nut. He also is big into movies. There’s always a game on, likely a movie and phone and laptop are near by…Again, same concept, engage into the sports broadcast, observe the social media conversation and slowly begin to build trust. What’s fascinating again, if Matt’s in a B2B, you just simply cannot avoid the online conversation. How many engineers, doctors, C-Level executives, decision makers in B2B’s are Cleveland Browns’ fans. OK, how many would admit to being Browns’ fans. You get the point. The point is that many of these individuals are posting Instagram pictures of them at the game, watching the game or discussing the game on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.

It’s about building a relationship…Social is the gateway to doing that for many organizations, at the top of the funnel activities. Once you engage and you can build that relationship you are able to move them down through your funnel activity.

If you are a B2C, you are building trust…In any case be sure to check out the video interview, truly interesting stuff.

What are some tactics you implementing in 2016 to gain the attention of the millennial audience?


About DOYO Live – Digital Marketing and Interactive Design Conference

DOYO Live founder, Dennis Schiraldi, is a local entrepreneur that grew up in Youngstown and held positions as a marketing executive in Cleveland, New York City and Columbus, Ohio. He moved back to Youngstown three years ago to help with the revitalization of the Mahoning Valley.

Dennis Schiraldi - Founder, DOYO Live

In the process of speaking and attending a number of national conferences, Dennis got an inspired idea to create a world-class digital marketing and interactive design conference right here in Youngstown.

DOYO Live is dedicated to the ongoing professional development of marketing, business, sales and design professionals. We accomplish this through our online ecosystem, in-person workshops, and our annual conference.

We strive to help stimulate the economy of Youngstown and give back with money and time to area charitable organizations.

DOYO Live 2017 will take place on August 3, 2017, in Youngstown, Ohio!