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Millennials don’t care about ads: So how do we build community around them?

By Daniel Newman – Founder & CEO of BroadSuite, Co-CEO of V3B and Contributing Writer.

Today, every brand focuses on the age group of 18-to-34-year-olds – “millennials.” What makes millennials such a coveted cohort? According to a Forbes article by Dan Schawbel, we have 80 million millennials in the U.S. They comprise nearly one-fourth of the total population. With an annual buying power of $200 billion, they are currently the most lucrative market.

It’s not easy to capture the millennial mindshare —definitely not with old, worn-out marketing tactics. A 2014 survey,Engaging Millennials: Trust and Attention Survey, reveals that a majority (84 percent) of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. Here lies the real reason as to why marketing to millennials is exceedingly difficult for brands to nail.

Why use the same methods when your target has changed?
The rules of the game have changed. Marketers need to pull up their socks and play by the new rules to survive. I’d say it’s getting difficult, if not impossible, for brands to continue doing business without delivering high levels of customer satisfaction. It only takes one bad experience for a millennial buyer to turn into a vocal critic, shredding your brand’s image on social channels. Don’t forget, instead of not-so-subliminal marketing messages, it’s the voices of real people—peers, friends, or relatives—that they trust.

“Building a community comprised of bonafide voices that millennials can trust is one of the best ways to gain their confidence.”  DANIEL NEWMAN

Only knowing a digital, media-saturated world, millennials have an innate predisposition towards everything tech. For them, smartphones, tablets, and laptops are not merely devices; they are an intrinsic part of their lifestyle. With unlimited access to social media and the Internet, Generation Y, or “GenY,” consumes and responds to information differently than previous generations. Naturally, when it comes to getting millennials’ attention, old ways of marketing and advertising just won’t cut it. Brands need to rethink ads from the millennial’s perspective.

How can brands become millennial magnets?
It’s no longer a secret that millennials view traditional media as inauthentic.This comes as a part of their aversion towards old-school ideas and norms. Brands need to break out of their casts and do things that this new generation views as genuine. Building a community comprised of bonafide voices that millennials can trust is one of the best ways to gain their confidence. Facebook is one of the greatest examples of how community building can drive a brand’s success. How do you do that?

Engage your audience
Today’s consumer doesn’t just stop at buying products from you. They expect more intimacy. Brands that fail to give them the level of engagement they seek lose buyers to brands that genuinely care about building relationships with their millennial consumers. The fact is, millennials are pretty smart at catching if you’re simply trying to sell or have real intentions of adding value to their lives. This is why hollow promotions will fail.

Be the ‘good’ brand
Millennials are pretty unambiguous when it comes to voicing their opinions. However, they really appreciate honesty. As such, brands with honest and transparent campaigns win. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign is a glowing example of this kind of brand messaging.

Another factor that attracts millennials is social goodness. If they feel a brand is doing good for the world, giving back, is keen on building and nurturing relationships, and has an authentic voice, they’ll become loyal. If you don’t give millennials enough “good” reasons to talk about your brand, they never will.

Take the mobile-first route
Millennials take mobility seriously. They communicate, respond and gain information – all through their smartphones. Brands need to take advantage of this habit and start taking mobile seriously.

When you present the right marketing message on the right platform for the millennial audience, they will notice your brand. If you don’t break the mold and come out of the boring, traditional marketing practices, you’ll risk alienating your brand from today’s most influential demographic.

This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.

This post was originally published on 10/28/15 on the V3B blog

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