How to Get a Slice of a $200 Billion Pie: Connect Your Content with Millennials

“The 80 million members of the millennial generation (born 1977 to 1995) represent 25% of the U.S. population and more than $200 billion in annual buying power.” – Source

If that’s not enticing enough for you to sit up and listen, allow me to share more data:

Internet activities of milliennials: social networking

lizzie1Source

55% of millennials visit their favored social media platform at least once per day. Only 38% and 37% of Gen X and Boomers visit their favored social media platforms respectively.

Wireless internet usage

lizzie2Source

What the chart above said, plain and simple: millennials are online and on-the-go far more than any other generation.

Young adults usage of mobile apps

The percentage of young adult cell phone owners and how they choose to use their smartphone:

lizzie3Source

This all sounds good in theory, the problem is meeting my high expectations (yes, I am a millennial) via content marketing. Here’s what my generation suffers from and how you as a content marketer can take a piece of the $200 billion pie.

Can I have that yesterday?

I need instant gratification. Now. All the time. I used to be OK with heading out to Blockbuster and grabbing a VHS, but if I can’t stream it right now then I’ll probably forget how much I want to watch it. Which leads me to my next point:

I might a part of the most spoiled, impatient, and self-obsessed generation yet. (By the way did you see what my fat cat did this weekend on Facebook, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram?)

So here is a solution to get around my need for everything I want right now. Make sure there are no barriers to entry of your content. I might not subscribe to your blog and I definitely won’t pay to read what you have to say. I’m pretty conniving and will find other, simpler ways to get the information I need. While you’re at it, keep news articles and content on your company site timely and relevant. Also, make promises in your title and keep them.

My attention span is short.

And yours probably is too. So I’m going to keep this article as succinct as possible. Vine, Twitter and SnapChat are prime examples of platforms catering to my short attention.

When it comes to content, give me value. Content doesn’t have to be short and sweet but you do need to let me know how much value I’ll be getting within the first few paragraphs. While you’re at it, make sure the content is scannable, and preferably broken into small chunked sub headings and paragraphs.

I have multiple personalities and all of them want to be validated.

Online, we post retro-looking photos of cheese burgers and shoes (things that look cooler than they should – thanks to Instagram). In person, we’re boring the snot out of non-millennials around us because we spend too much time on our phones. What I’ve just mentioned has nothing to do with content marketing (more just an observation of my generation).

Us millenials don’t want to make a purchase without research that back’s up our choices.  Conversely, we don’t want to be directly sold a product via content or hit with propaganda either. This is where content marketing really shines. Unlike traditional marketing, content marketing is not invasive. When a brand or thought leader provides us with good, informative content we are able to gather the knowledge we want to make informed decisions.

I am going to be famous one day. Briefly.

Thirteen years ago I saw my first reality TV show (Big Brother UK, Season 1) and poof it seemed like anyone could be a reality TV star. Today people are discovered on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and (fingers crossed) the CopyPressed blog.

This “free for all” for fame is a great opportunity for some user generated content (UGC). Events or competitions encouraging video submissions, specifically hashtagged tweets or pins to a board are just a few ways that we get our shot at fame and you get to market to us.

Prime example:  The Australian Tourist Board had AUD$1 million to play with and created a competition where the prize is to be a caretaker of an island near the Great Barrier Reef. All applicants needed to do was create a one-minute video explaining why they should be given the job. More than 34,000 video applications were uploaded onto the campaign’s website and on YouTube. The contest earned $368 million in worldwide media coverage. The Australian Tourist Board leveraged the power of content to tap into the public’s desire to escape the rat race.

I am an expert multi-tasker.

It’s true, while writing this article I’m watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Voxing my friend down the road who is also watching the game, and helping my wife research our next holiday. I often think that my efforts are probably best focused on one thing at a time, but I guess I can blame society/my generation for this right?

To back up my point, Century 21 Real Estate surveyed close to 3,000 people prior to this year’s Super Bowl. This survey  found that approximately 36 percent of viewers would be surfing the web on a second screen and checking their apps for extra behind the scenes commentary and additional sports news.

The takeaway from this data is that millennials crave information and are not content in just having one source. A conversation is being held and you (the brand) need to keep it going or it will go on without you.  Around any major cultural or memorable event (good or bad) we are all looking for the latest reaction, perspective, and response to our moments of significance. If you respond in real time through social channels that are relevant to your audience you have the opportunity to reach millions of consumers personally and emotionally.

  • Make content easily accessible
  • Make a promise with your content and keep it
  • Write content that is scannable
  • Help me make good decisions by providing information rich content
  • Give me a shot at fame with some UGC
  • Be there when I need you or I’ll find someone else to have the conversation with

Sources:

  1. http://millennialmarketing.com/research/
  2. http://www.themillennialimpact.com/research-2012
  3. http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/wicworks/Documents/Millennial%20Generation/WIConnects%20Presentations/Communicating%20with%20the%20Millennial%20Generation.pdf

About the author

Lizzie Seedhouse