How to blow Millennials’ minds with experiential marketing
The generation of Millennials is contributing to the changes of approach to many fields of everyday life. The same applies to the marketing industry. Given the fact that every generation has its own specifics, marketers around the world struggle to make their actions the most efficient while dealing with Millennials. From many marketing options, experiential marketing seems to upfront others. Read more and learn what is experiential marketing and how to apply it to your strategy to win Millennials’ hearts?
You could ask what makes Millennials so special that you hear the term almost everywhere you go. Why so many things are adjusted to their preferences? Why previously effective marketing methods need to be changed to reach their perception? Let me explain.
Who are the Millennials?
Accenture’s survey says that there are about 80 million Millennials in the United States alone, spending roughly $600 billion each year. Sounds a lot, right? The term made itself comfortable in the marketing jargon for good and applies to those born between 1980 and 2000, a generation of people raised with the access to the digital technologies of our times. There’s no mistake that Millennials are the biggest group of potential customers, nowadays. No surprise then, that companies strive to gain their interest and loyalty.
Millennials are a group exposed to the promotion transmission from their very beginnings. They don’t pay any attention to the regular commercials and experience so-called phenomenon of banner blindness. What is more, they don’t trust the message companies try to communicate.
Millennials value the authenticity of the content and the possibility to feel exceptional for the brand. Therefore marketers should present to them messages prepared with the help of user-generated content to improve the reliability and seek connection with the target along with other marketing activities. This is where experiential marketing starts to play the lead.
How to market Millennials
It’s a commonly known fact that every generation has its own specifics. Millennials are no different, they have their needs. The reason why marketers constantly look for ways to reach this target group is that the generation has its preferences high. A study says that only 29% of them usually buy the same brand, so the need to hit the right spot is high.
When you think that about 44% of Millennials are more likely to trust experts’ opinions than a regular advertisement, it’s clear that to market this target you should base your actions on authenticity. Still, you need to rack your brain a little bit. Remember about appreciated values, find a connection with your audience and offer something more than just a product. Below, I highlight 8 ideas to put your company on Millennials’ must-have brand list.
#1 To win Millennials’ hearts show that your brand has values
Millennial people are more and more focused on presenting their life values through the brands and products they support. Millennials look for the reflection of their ideology. According to surveys, 59% of Millennials buy the brands that somehow represent their lifestyle and personality.
Knowing all this, it’s clear that to effectively market to Millennials it’s important to present the company’s values. Stress out the ideology your brand represents. One that can reflect values that Millennials share. Those values vary in every generation, but analyzing the trends and behaviors you can spot the main issues that concern Millennials. This way you’ll create a positive image and provide a millennial customer with the base to engage in a relationship with your brand.
Best way to market Millennials would be to position a company as one which cares not only for the profits but also, cares about the impact a company has on the external environment. Millennials are sensitive when it comes to the social responsibility of companies. It’s important to show that the brand helps with local community development. Therefore, express your support for social initiatives to gain trust and respect of millennial customers.
Think about the famous brands these days, how they express what is their philosophy. Got the idea? If not, a great example would be RedBull where the product represents a whole lifestyle and has crowds of Millennials who identify themselves with their values on its side.
Just look how one photo illustrates the brand’s values (with logo always present!):
#2 Be genuine (on Social Media and any other place) in order get recognized by Millennials
Being the first generation to grow up with the full access to modern technologies took its toll. Millennials spend the majority of their time on smartphones, checking social media feeds and scrolling through tons of advertisement content. Differently from the previous generation, they’re fluent in technology and treat it as an additional communication layer with its own language (just think about emojis!). Therefore, to make sure that among millions of other company profiles yours will be the one to attract Millennials you need to offer them authenticity and adjust it to their needs.
One thing you can do on your social media profiles is to avoid straightforward advertising in your posts. Millennials, as I mentioned before, are blind to regular ads. Prepare content which tickles everyday aspects of their life, base the communication on language adjusted to your target group. Millennials like to feel appreciated and connected to the brand, so attacking them with sale offer is a no go.
#4 Put user-generated content to gain some authenticity points
Another option is to implement user-generated content to create the company’s websites. Roughly 84% of the respondents claim that such content has, at least, some influence on whether they buy a product or not. So, how to market to Millennials?
- Create the interest
- Build the relationship
- Create a feeling of belonging through social media activity
- Avoid heavy sales propositions – don’t force Millennials to buy your product, make them want it anyway!
#5 Another tip for better marketing to Millennials: Build your brand community
Millennials like to feel unique and able to express their opinion. They want to feel a connection with larger communities that share the same values. That’s a characteristic quite useful when it comes to marketing them. Creating and maintaining a strong relationship with Millennials’ customers can ensure their loyalty to the brand.
There’re a lot of examples on how to magnet Millennials to brand. Let’s take Starbucks. They sure know how to do it. They understood that best way to market to Millennials is to offer them the possibility to join the team of other similar ‘freaks’. The most popular coffee chain in the world provides the whole forum for the coffee enthusiasts. Called ‘My Starbucks Idea’ lets people share, discuss and vote best ideas of other users. Not only did Starbucks manage to become a determinant of a lifestyle for Millennials but also give them their own impact into the product. Believe me, they LOVE it!
Speaking of Millennials zest to have an impact on product…
#6 Increase Millennials’ engagement let them join the creative process of your product
A statement that Millennials like to have their say could already appear in this article, and it’s here now – not by a mistake. The digital generation loves things that could fit their needs perfectly. Things created just for them, convenient and serving their own specific purpose. Therefore, offering a customization option is a big yes from me!
Brands like Nike or Reebok offer their products’ customization for a long time. But it’s not only a clothing industry that gave personalization a go. More and more brands let Millennial customers compose the product from scratch to perfectly fit their preferences.
Take as an example Birchbox, which monthly offers their clients a box of cosmetics. Picked for each client personally to meet their needs, with a great “instagramable” design – exactly what Millennials would expect.
#7 Want to win Millennials’ hearts – give them something to look at
Mentioning a great design of the products was not accidental. One of the best ways to market to Millennials is surely making your products, profiles and brand materials as good looking as possible.
Remember that Millennials are a generation that has social media in its blood. They share their daily life, adjusting your visuals to this trend will be a great start to convince them to your brand. Also, consistent and good looking presence can become your symbol as it happened for example with Arizona Ice Tea.
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#8 Don’t forget about offering Millennials memorable experience
I mentioned that authenticity and unconventional promotion is the key when marketing to Millennials. Because of the need to create a unique campaign and get closer to the target group brands across the world noticed the potential of experiential marketing.
This branch of marketing creates a real-life experience for the audience, warming up the brand’s image in the Millennials’ perception. It’s a way to manifest the company’s innovative approach, effectively express the values it stands for and presents the whole brand’s culture. It’s not only a true top answer on the question of how to market to Millennials but also a way to improve activities such as Employer Branding of the company.
So, what exactly am I talking about?
What is experiential marketing?
Experiential marketing, often also called engagement marketing, is a marketing strategy that engages customers by creating branded experiences. To put it more precisely, it’s the brand happenings that provide a real-life interaction, which makes participants feel in a certain way. Following experiential marketing definition, we can name the most popular way to execute it. It can be events, its certain part or pop-up happenings not tied to any event.
It’s not a surprise when I say that emotions are often the key to a successful advertisement. Now, experiential marketing is all about emotions, true ones. While there are no strict rules to approach this type of marketing, it’s core is to immerse participants in memorable live experience. To hit the right spots in their perception and provoke desired reactions. Just like Coca-Cola did couple of years ago. The action is well remembered even now, and that’s what it’s all about!
Why experiential marketing is a must while dealing with Millennials
After defining Millennials’ specifics and explaining how to market Millennials it should be easy to notice why experiential marketing can be the most effective tool while dealing with them. This type of advertisement appeals to everyone, but when it comes to looking for true values and the brand’s authenticity Millennials – it can work wonders! Let me explain why.
Reason 1: Experiential marketing brings the brand closer to the people.
Event-based marketing campaigns are perceived as a social initiative, which provides the company’s value straight to the eyes of Millennials. They get a tangible presence of the ideology, things that the brand represents. This way, they already get involved in the products and the general impression is escalated by the experienced emotions.
Reason 2: Engagement marketing makes it easier to create a bond with the brand.
As I said, Millennials want to join the community of a certain product. They want to feel appreciated and know that the brand supports their points of view and lifestyle. Through real-life experience you can make them feel like a part of a bigger picture and address to their emotions to say “hey, there are more people like you in here!”, just like Lean Cuisine did with the “Weigh This” campaign:
Reason 3: Experiential marketing provides a possibility to be involved in something unconventional.
Millennial generation seeks for adventures, exciting things they could talk about. Give them space where they could experience something different from the ordinary life and they’ll naturally share it with others. Later, it contributes to your brand’s image going viral. An inspiration for an event which would attract every Millennial Instagram Lover would be Refinery29’s happening:
How to organize a perfect experiential event to win Millennials’ hearts?
Now, if you thought I’m going to leave you without a nice piece of instructions on how to organize an experiential happening for your Millennial target, you were wrong. However, there’s no perfect approach while dealing with such events. It all depends on what emotions you want to tickle and what are your defined target group specific. Nevertheless, here are tips that I’d call universal, feel free to inspire yourself!
Set clear goals for the event
The first thing you should do is to think why you want to organize this event in the first place. What are your goals? To define true aims so the research on your target preferences. Launching an experiential event, you will probably reach all Millennials’ hearts but you surely have your subtarget. Learn what they care for and provide an experience that will touch their feelings.
Imagine, your company is aiming at youngsters concerned about eco-friendly lifestyle. You want to make them recognize your brand as one that cares about the environment, so you go for an experience connected with the issue. Just decide on the theme and experience that will support your branding actions.
Pick the right venue for the event
Millennials will surely appreciate the element of surprise, so go for the unconventional pop up events. How to do it? Look for the popular venues such as metro stations, shopping centers, main streets, university campuses. That’s where you’ll find your digital generation and will be able to surprise them. Also, this way you’ll reach a wider audience.
Can you recall at least one experiential happening that you saw (and yes, also in the Internet)? Most of those events take place in the city space to support spreading the message and start the experience from being intrigued. That’s exactly what Contrex did, providing excitement to all passers-by in Paris. Guess what, they went viral on the Internet which positioned them as a fun brand which supports healthy approach.
When you have your own element of surprise, the next thing is to prepare the chosen venue to the participants’ preferences. Decorations, spacial installations, interiors that calls to be put on the Instagram, and so on – this all alone can increase the level of emotion and create a memorable experience.
Be innovative – use technology novelties
Answering to Millennials’ fondness for technologies, another element of the experiential event for Millennials would be making it as interactive as possible.
Nowadays, we have an access to more and more advanced technology. Companies noticed how incorporating them can improve their brand image. They offer out of the ordinary activities with help of innovative solutions such as VR technology or implementing technology to elements of everyday use.
A true “how to do it like a pro” is a Budweiser’s brewing experience which not only used VR to teleport participants to the virtual brewery but also engaged their other senses to intensify the feeling.
Also, Volkswagen elevated Millennials experiences making them take the stairs! See the classic below.
Using new technologies can reflect on the brand’s image by making it look more innovative and at the same time provides even more real and memorable experiences. Don’t forget about it!
Prepare freebies as a reminder of an experience
Who doesn’t like gifts? Definitely not Millennials. Make sure that they will experience your event even after its end.
While experiential events stay in participants memories for a while, you can easily make sure that the memory won’t fade away. Offering branded freebies will remind participants about the experience and strengthen the positive connotations with the brand.
Millennials like a good gadget, so with a dose of creative thinking you can offer them additional experience even long after the actual direct contact with the brand. This way they’ll feel like a brand is there for them and will more willingly reach its product.
Record everything to…
While organizing an experiential event the first thing you need to focus on is to provide a valuable message and engage the participants. But it’s there and then concern. Think long-range and make sure that the effort put into happening’s organization will pay off in the future.
…give Millennials content to share
Make sure that the experience of the event is documented in the most thorough way possible. Snap the vital moments, look for truly emotional moments, focus on the experience. This all will give you tons of materials to carry on with Social Media strategy – an authentic one – which will interact with Millennials on the other side of the screen. Not only will they enjoy the user-generated content and stories behind it but also the emotions will be refreshed. As a result, you constantly create positive connotations.
…save memories for your social media accounts
Also, documenting your event based marketing campaigns creates the possibility of going viral with the message. Dealing with Millennials, you need to remember that they appreciate the true content and pay more attention to things shared by individual personas rather than company profiles. Therefore, viral content republished by millions of users is a great promotion among youngsters and, again, creates a positive recognition which helps the brand.
When the experience is important to your target group they’ll strive to publish it to express their views. Then, there ’s no way to not have a content prepared for them. RedBull knows it well, and always record their extreme events, which get millions of views each!
Don’t forget to have everything buttoned up for your Millennials
While dealing with this very generation you need to remember about the importance of efficiency during the events. There’s no place for errors. Millennials value well-organized services with 81 % of them pointing out that the quick and effective service is more important for them than a friendly one.
The same rule should be applied to experiential (and regular as well) events. Make sure that you offer Millennials a tool that makes the experience easier for them. Believe me, they’ll appreciate it’s compatibility with smartphones. You can do it by using applications, such as Eventory, that not only will guide them through the event but will also keep them informed and for example let get an uber from the venue. With Millennials on the other side of the process, a technology that facilitates the event is a must-have!
Summing the article up, Millennials are one of the largest target group on today’s market. Therefore, it’s vital to know how to market to Millennials in order to reach their attention and get your company new customers. The digital generation has its own specifics among which stands the crucial one – high resistance to the traditional advertisement. As a result, marketers had to find new ways to get in touch with Millennials.
Event-based marketing campaigns became the way to introduce the brand to the Millennial generation and engage them to create a bond. Experiential marketing stands out as an effective tool because of its characteristics that hit the soft spots of the target group.
It provides emotions, represent values and often serves a bigger purpose than just increasing the sales. This all makes it a perfect pick when it comes to dealing with Millennials.
To boost your accuracy when marketing to the digital generation, throw a party that:
- Creates an extraordinary and memorable experience
- Follows the latest technology trends
- Stands for their values
- Is a pleasure to watch
Now, go and think about creating your own brand’s experience and let me know how it goes!