By Josh Perlstein, CEO, Response Media
Millennial consumers are known for being unresponsive to most forms of traditional advertising. They've grown up being hounded by ads targeted at them, making them largely resistant to traditional advertising efforts. In fact, the average click-through rate for online ads is just .17 percent.
And it's not just millennials who are feeling overwhelmed by the barrage of advertisements. A 2016 HubSpot survey showed91 percent of respondents feel today's ads are more intrusive than they were just two years ago, and 79 percent feel that retargeted ads are tracking them too closely.
How to reach millennial consumers
So how can marketers break through the clutter of ads and deliver value to millennial consumers? It may seem tricky, but it's possible. Millennials still connect and engage with brands — they just do so differently than previous generations.
Instead of resorting to over-the-top marketing efforts, marketers should try to actively engage with millennials in meaningful ways. Consumers prefer brands with an authentic image, but authenticity isn't enough. It's better to add value to consumers' lives by providing relevant tools, tips, community platforms, and content.
And as millennials become parents, the opportunity for brands to add value has become clearer. Formula company Enfamil, for example, created a list of tips to help moms care for their babies with dairy allergies, which may strike a chord with mothers later as they stroll down the formula aisle. And Pampers'"Baby Poop 101"guide is likely to stick out in first-time moms'minds as they decide which diaper brand to use on their little ones. Rather than serve as advertisements, these items are simple tools to help make millennial moms'lives easier. In this case, help equals value.
How to add value to millennials'lives
If young parents find value in a brand's messaging, that brand is likely to see a boost in search rankings and website traffic as those consumers return for valuable content. And repeat traffic suggests viewers will share content with other young parents who would find value in it, ultimately leading to greater loyalty and more purchases.
Marketers should be asking, "What value can I bring to my consumers to build our relationship? How do I create and maintain that value?" The three following tips can help you establish a consumer relationship with millennial parents based on the value your brand offers them:
1. Understand who millennial consumers are and where they're going
You probably already have most of the data needed to see what's driving younger customers' motivations and brand choices from registrations or purchases. To fill gaps, marketers should survey millennial consumers, pull them together in focus groups, or analyze data from third parties.
Surveys and clickstream analysis can also reveal who millennials aspire to be. Armed with the right information, your brand can attune its messaging and efforts to these personas. Whiteboard your ideal customers' journey. Talk to your consumers. What steps did they take to discover your products or services? What needs are they looking to fill?
Ask millennial parents what their processes and pains are. How do they find information to satisfy those pain points? Talk to them about what causes them to trust brands enough to make a buying decision.
2. Determine when and where to add value
After examining the customer journey and consulting with your millennial audience, determine what would add value to their lives. Maybe it's as simple as a baby brand providing new moms with stickers that mark milestones to use in their social posts. While these stickers may not push a brand message, they enhance moms' lives in a specific way.
How can you address unmet needs in the marketplace? How can those efforts translate to how young parents are interacting with your digital content? What forms or formats should you provide? This is what we call "value discovery." Run various tests to see what works. Identify key metrics or KPIs, and make sure the appropriate tracking is set up to enable evaluation.
3. Determine where your target audience can be reached
Retarget them, acquire permission to email them, or enroll them in your CRM program. Determine a budget, and stick to it. How much will it cost? How big can you scale it? Based on customer feedback, data collection, and analytics, you should understand where these consumers came from, how they discovered your brand, and their path to purchase.
Using this data, media experts or advertising agencies help brands identify the best options for reaching young parents. Focus on gaining better placement and more frequent exposure to scale what works.
In a world packed full of content, millennial consumers are attracted to brands that add value to their lives. Connect with them by offering value.