Millennials hate advertising. There, I said it. But we still need the essentials. We still want to travel, we want to go out, we want a better phone plan. So where do we get that information? Sounds like a major conundrum, right?  The ability to connect with a target audience, especially one as large and lucrative as millennials, is key for brands today.

How do we connect with millennials? This is one of the most common questions and difficulties marketers face every day.

In part one of this series, I went through a day in the life of a millennial. Now that we know what the average millennial’s day consists of, we’ll move onto what creative resonates the most amongst the 80 million members of this generation (Small Business).

60% of millennials trust OOH, which is higher than any other generation. Millennials want something they can relate to, something never seen before, something interactive, something that provides value, something that amplifies their reality.

So what’s the trick to craft an effective creative campaign that reaches millennials? Let me fill you in.

The trick is simply understanding their likes, dislikes and interests. So, how do you that? Listen to them. What do they talk about on social media? What is currently trending? Where do they like to go? Once you have this information, you are on your way to a successful and effective campaign.

Get Involved

91% of millennials prefer a brand that is associated with a cause (Constant Contact). If your brand isn’t currently supporting a cause, start. If you are… start telling us about it, get us involved. Start your advertising with a story. Every day, we see hundreds of branded messages. An ad could be anywhere from a shampoo bottle to a bulletin on the highway. We are constantly being bombarded with brands’ logos and messages without even consciously realizing it. If your marketing strategy aligns with every other ad, you will never stand out. Don’t overwhelm us with brand names telling us to do something, start with a story about how you’re making a difference.

Create an Experience

Think about the “Share a Coke” campaign. Coca-Cola allowed each consumer to tell his or her own story, without interference. The more millennials enjoy an experience and interact with the brand, the more likely they are to post on social media. Every day, 4.75 billion pieces of content is shared; 1.8 billion photos are uploaded; 700 million snap chats are sent; and 500 million messages are tweeted (Forbes). All Coca-Cola did was create an experience consumers could interact and engage with; they let the people do the rest. This campaign created the ideal scenario of having a loyalty program with a tangible product combined with user-generated content to create an incredibly effective and successful campaign.

Diversity, Trust, Transformation

According to panels at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the three most common themes needed for successful creative are Diversity, Trust and Transformation. Marketers need to take risks; they can no longer remain safe in the way they advertised in the past if they want to compete with direct competitors. Accept risks and don’t be afraid to fail.

Millennials are the most diverse generation yet. We range from single mothers to middle class professionals to growing families. 85% of this generation own some sort of smart phone, so having sharp, crisp and interesting creative is absolutely necessary. It’s easy to tune out unwanted interruptions so incorporating your message in an engaging way is a must. As the most media savvy generation yet we know when we’re being marketed at, and we’ve built up a resistance to hearing what your brand has to say. We are the most media savvy generation yet, which makes it easy to know when we’re being pitched to and have built up a resistance to it. Marketers need to be authentic, which leads us to our next theme – trust.

Millennials rate advertising as the least trustworthy source of information and is disliked by 85% (Constant Contact). Brands need to be transparent and provide real-actionable tips. Speak to us as if you’re talking to a friend and not selling a product. Provide information we can learn from or be entertained by; the more we interact with this type of content, the more the marketer’s message can slowly sneak in without feeling bombarded.

Millennials want to feel important and want to be respected. Start following and engaging with us. By involving us in the process, it provides a sense of ownership. Incorporate social media into your campaign – give incentives, allow suggestions and provide real feedback in a timely manner. Stop talking at us but rather to us in a friendly and engaging way.

Lastly, transformation can be the most difficult. In order to transform your current creative approach, think about who influences and inspires us and cater your campaign to those ideas. According to Bazaarvoice, 84% of millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy, and 73% say it’s important to read others’ opinions before purchasing. By incorporating well-known bloggers, podcasters, Instagrammers and other major millennial influencers into a campaign, the more likely we will want to learn about the brand’s product or service.

Effective Creative Campaigns Are Not Budget Dependent

One of the biggest problems marketers are concerned with is the budget. Contrary to popular belief, big budgets are not needed for an effective campaign. Razorfish recently did a study on how high creative performance campaigns are not budget dependent. This study “compared an external dataset from AdAge, detailing the media expenditures of the world’s top 100 spenders, against the win rates of these same organizations.” Their findings showed that there was “no correlation between the highest media spenders and the likelihood of winning an award,” Cracking the Creative Code. In fact, they found entries with smaller budgets performed just as well as the larger budget campaigns. This study proves that effective creative is simply based on your story and message rather than the amount of money you put into them.

Reaching Millennials – It’s Simple

So what’s the trick to create an effective campaign that reaches millennials? It’s simple, but not always easy – to speak to us, first you have to understand us, and that means throwing away preconceived notions, and listening – learn about what we are interested in and care about.  Give us an experience – we don’t want things – we want memories (and great instas). Tell your story, be authentic, be transparent, and get to know this exciting-diverse generation.

Need an Out of Home media plan tailored to reaching millennials?  Give us a shout:

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