Everything you need to know about Millennial Marketing. Sort of.

Everything you need to know about Millennial Marketing. Sort of.

Our agency has had some success of late inspiring action amongst the millennial market. Why, we even helped 70,000 of these elusive, highly coveted youngsters in Illinois do something previously thought impossible: sign up for healthcare coverage. So what’s the secret? What are the ingredients for the perfect media mix? Twitter or Instagram? And do I have to understand Snapchat? Here’s the unwelcome but obvious truth: there is no magic bullet, and there never will be. Anyone who tells you differently probably uses a lot of business jargon while speaking at airport hotel conference rooms. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind that will certainly increase your chances of success. Because while no one can tell you what fickle, message-bombarded millennials will take to, we can all safely say it won’t be vanilla creative that treats social and digital as empty, uninspired add-ons.

Forget the brief.

Unless it’s brilliant, of course. And by brilliant I mean a brief that forgoes all marketing BS and speaks directly to what in the world about your product, service or category (yes, category) could possibly catch millennials’ attention. And it won’t be the fact that your toothpaste can make teeth 6% whiter. Take GEICO for example. At some stage, someone looked at that assignment and said “It’sinsurance; no one cares or ever wants to think about it. Let’s just freaking entertain people.” Now, that’s not saying they forgot about the product entirely – they just wrapped product attributes (“So easy even a caveman can do it,” “15 minutes can save you 15%”) within pure entertainment. For years now, they’ve made insurance part of pop culture.

Do what you wouldn’t do.

Create entertainment, sure. But that’s a broad word. What kind of entertainment? Heart-stopping drama? Comedy? User-generated content? Again, there’s no right answer. But the wrong answer is: “this is nice.” You don’t need nice; you need concrete reactions, positive or negative. The world doesn’t need more white noise – especially the digital mindsplosion that is a millennial’s daily life.

Here’s a good litmus test: If you’re scared to sign off on it, scared (but excited) to have your agency name attached to it, you’re on to something. If it’s not arresting to a 42 year old creative director, how is it suppose to engage a 26 year old gamer? Be honest — it won’t. Remember, this is not about taking risks; creating content that has the best chance of connecting with your target market is your job. And clients need to understand that, too.

Do it right.

Whatever you do, do not confuse irreverence with shitty production. When Dollar Shave Club debuted with a hilarious online video (now with 18.4 million views and counting), every brand believed “going viral” was suddenly a marketing plan. But what they overlooked was how perfectly done that video was: great script and camera work, flawless execution and the perfect snarky pitchman who just happened to be the honest-to-goodness president of the company. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but don’t underestimate the creative sensibilities of the millennial market; their apps have better special effects than the movies I grew up with. So if you’re creating new content, you’d better find a way to make it more special and attention-worthy than the content they create and share daily.

So that’s it, follow the above three simple rules and you’ll be guaranteed success with your next millennial-aimed marketing plan. If you need more from me, stop by the nearest airport hotel conference room where I’ll be “shifting paradigms.”